“I was too proud to step away,” said Brown receiver Alexander Tounkara of the first time he arrived at football practice in high school.
Tounkara, originally from West Africa, thought he was heading to football (soccer) practice after high school in New York City.
“I showed up, the ball wasn't round and it was the wrong game,” he said. That’s where his pride stepped in, and he decided to give it a try.
Born in Guinea, Tounkara was forced to flee the country after his grandfather was incarcerated and taken from political office when a dictator took over. That led him to live in Belgium—where his mother’s trade is in the diamond business—and eventually moving to the United States.
"Time and effort. I spent every summer I had on campus just lifting and running one on one and trying to get better. It's hard work that's all I can say."
That is the work ethic Tounkara has had both on and off the field at Brown, where he double-majored in economics and international relations with hopes of working on Wall Street if the NFL didn't come to fruition.
Don’t let the degrees dissuade you from how badly the All-Ivy League receiver wants a shot at the NFL, though.
“Now that I’m playing it (football), I can’t see myself doing anything at the moment," he said.
“I think it was kind of like fate how I ended up in it.” Thinking he was headed to soccer practice only to end up playing football at Brown University, one would have to consider fate a very strong option.
Standing at 6’5” and 211 pounds, Tounkara ran a 4.50 40-yard dash at the BSN Collegiate Showcase, proving that he is a legit NFL prospect and, with some development and patience, he may stick around at the next level.
Tounkara was very honest when explaining that is was a little stressful doing the combine drills live, and not having do over after do over as when training for the drills, saying he can definitely run under 4.50 flat.
“I love this game,” says Tounkara. Time will only tell if love and hard work will pay off for this unique and pleasant young man, or if he will just end up working in lower Manhattan on Wall Street.
Not a bad consolation prize.
Follow me on Twitter: @BoMarchionte of College2Pro.com