Orange Bowl MVP Alex Hornibrook opens up

Garrett Hallinan

Alex Hornibrook ’15 was a standout quarterback at Malvern.  Now, he is the leader of the University of Wisconsin’s football program.

After being heavily criticized for his performance in a Big 10 Championship loss to Ohio State, Wisconsin quarterback and Malvern alumnus Alex Hornibrook was ready to bounce back as he was calm, cool, collected, and ready to lead his squad into their final game of the season.

Hornibrook finished 23-34 with 258 passing yards and four touchdowns against Miami in a 34-24 victory for Wisconsin. He was recognized as MVP of the Orange Bowl for his incredible performance.

Hornibrook lives for these moments. In his first three years at Wisconsin, he has learned to cope with the big stage of representing the Badgers.

“I tune everything else out and just play the game,” Hornibrook said. “If you go out there, not think about what you are going to do, and play, then you find your zone.”

Part of “tuning everything else out” is dealing with comments from the fans who try to speak their mind.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Academically, Malvern prepared me so much for all the schoolwork and demands at Wisconsin,” Hornibrook said. “I had some tough teachers and they definitely prepared me for the demands of college.”

-Alex Hornibrook ’15[/perfectpullquote]

“As I started off, I was all over Twitter and Instagram, so you’d get fans messaging you saying all of these things,” Hornibrook said. “It got to the point where it’s kind of ridiculous that some fan, regardless of who it is, can tell you what they think of you in a matter of seconds.”

This took Hornibrook by surprise, as this whole experience was new to him.

“[The coaches at Wisconsin] train you how to play QB and how to read a defense, but no one really tells you how to deal with the people that you are going to face as you go along the way,” Hornibrook said.

Hornibrook learned a lot from when he redshirted during his first year at Wisconsin. He picked up tips and knowledge from the two incumbent quarterbacks at Wisconsin, Joel Stave and Bart Houston.

“Those two guys were around the program for a long time,” Hornibrook said. “I tried to learn as much as I could from them and all the experiences they had. Both Joel and Bart had to face a lot of critics during their careers too, so they were a good resource to learn from, not only from that but football in general.”

While Hornibrook receives standout attention on the field, a huge part of his life occurs behind the scenes with school and practice at Wisconsin. The schedule he follows leading up to and during the season is rigorous.

“I wake up at 6-6:30 and practice until 11 during the fall,” Hornibrook said. “Then from 11 to 4 I have class. After that, there are meetings from 5 to 6:30 and at night I have a little free time.”

As he looks back, Hornibrook attributes a lot of his preparation for college back to Malvern. Here, he experienced a course curriculum that prepared him for Wisconsin and college in general.

“Academically, Malvern prepared me so much for all the schoolwork and demands at Wisconsin,” Hornibrook said. “I had some tough teachers and they definitely prepared me for the demands of college.”

Hornibrook also feels that his football coaches at Malvern were some of the best in the business.

“All coaches are going to do everything they can to put you in a position to be successful, and there are things I learned from coaches at all levels,” Hornibrook said. “That being said, I had some really great coaches at Malvern, so my experience might be different from other people.”

Hornibrook had some words of wisdom for the Malvern football players who are hoping to play football at the collegiate level.

“If you believe that you can truly do it, then there’s no way you shouldn’t be able to play college football,” Hornibrook said. “There are so many people that are out there working. A lot of people I know who truly believed that they could play did everything they could to get there, and got there.”