Maine South offensive lineman Brendan Brosnan skipped his team’s entire summer camp but his teammates didn’t hold it against him.
That’s because Brosnan had an excellent excuse. He was one of only 100 students chosen to participate in STEM, a program at the Illinois Institute of Technology that exposes promising scholars to training in science, technology, engineering and math.
The four-week program, which entailed attending classes at the South Side campus from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, was a prestigious honor, considering nearly 500 students applied.
“It was a really good opportunity,” Brosnan said. “I learned a lot. I wasn’t happy I missed summer camp, but I think I came back pretty well and I think I earned my spot.”
No one will argue with that. The 6-foot-6 Brosnan added 20 pounds of muscle during offseason weightlifting and now weighs 236 pounds. He didn’t slack off while attending STEM, working out on his own each night for hours.
“After my summer program, I’d come home, I’d work out, I’d run, I didn’t want to fall behind at all,” Brosnan said. “I tried to stay in shape. It’s hard missing all that work, but I tried to make it up and I was really pushing myself during those four weeks trying to get better.”
In his first season on varsity, Brosnan became the starting right tackle and thus a key cog in protecting star quarterback Matt Alviti. The Hawks, who beat Lane 42-7 on Oct. 27, take a 10-0 record into Saturday’s 1 p.m. second round Class 8A playoff game against Conant in Park Ridge.
“He’s been playing great,” Alviti said. “He’s protected me great all year. He’s a smart kid and he commits himself real well. He’s just getting better and better every day.”
Brosnan has 4.05 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) and his smarts extend to the football field, where he joins seniors Dan Poulos (33 on his ACT) and Mike Rubino (a potential engineering major, considering attending Dayton or Case Western Reserve) on one of the most intelligent offensive lines around.
“He’s very bright, picks things up easily,” Maine South coach David Inserra said. “You don’t have to tell him twice and his work habits in the offseason transfer right to his work habits during the season. He’s easy to coach, a great teammate, and if he makes a mistake he’s going to correct it on the next play.”
That attribute endears Brosnan to his teammates, who didn’t mind his absence at summer camp.
“He picked up on (the offense) right away,” Alviti said. “It wasn’t that tough for him. Everyone helped him, so it was awesome.”
“I already knew most of the plays,” Brosnan said. “The guys understood what I was doing and thought it was awesome, too, so they were really supportive when I came back.”
Having seen Brosnan’s work ethic during the offseason, Inserra wasn’t surprised that he cracked the starting lineup.
“I don’t want to jinx him, but he’s done a really nice job at right tackle,” Inserra said. “We told him, ‘With your height, people are going to look at you; recruiters are going to love your body.’
“He’s got long arms and he’s a tough kid. He’s the nicest kid off the field but he plays a little nasty.”
Brosnan comes from a family of five brothers. The eldest, Sean, played defensive lineman for Maine South before graduating last spring. Ryan, 14, is a freshman, while Justin, 9, and Martin, 8, aspire to be Hawks some day.
Off the field, Brosnan is focused on keeping his grades high as there is talk of him being Ivy League material. Inserra says his future is bright.
“Ivy League (football) is nothing to shake a finger at but I think he’s moving beyond that in terms of his abilities,” said Inserra said. ~.