Drew Brees arrived at Purdue as a little-known quarterback. He left as one of the most-decorated players in school history.
- He established two NCAA records, 13 Big Ten Conference records and 19 Purdue records.
- He was a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist, two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and two-time first team all-conference selection.
- He won the 2000 Maxwell Award as the nation's outstanding player and the Chicago Tribune Silver Football as the Big Ten Most Valuable Player.
- He was the 2000 Academic All-American of the Year.
A member of head coach Joe Tiller's first Purdue recruiting class, Brees served as Billy Dicken's understudy in 1997. He became the starter a year later and carried the Boilermakers to heights not reached in more than three decades.
Statistically, the 1998 season was Brees' best. He set school and conference marks for passing attempts (569 - since tied by Purdue's Curtis Painter in 2007) and completions (361), yards (3,983 - since broken by Painter with 3,985 in 2006) and touchdowns (39) and total offense (4,176). But over the next two years, Brees became a complete player, cutting down his interceptions, improving his game management and becoming a threat to run the ball. In 2000, Brees broke his own total offense record with 4,189 yards (since broken by Michigan's Denard Robinson with 4,272 in 2010). Brees completed 309 of 512 passes for 3,668 yards with 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, and rushed for 521 yards on 95 carries (5.5 average) with five touchdowns en route to leading the nation in total offense (358.1 yards per game). He was voted team MVP by his teammates.
On the Big Ten career lists, Brees ranks first in passing attempts (1,678) and completions (1,026), yards (11,792) and total offense (12,692) through the 2014 season.
But there was more to Brees than gaudy statistics. He was the ultimate student-athlete, majoring in industrial management, and was extremely generous with his time in the community. Among his honors, certainly the most fitting was the inaugural Socrates Award, presented in January of 2000, recognizing the nation's finest athlete in terms of academics, athletics and community service.
Brees' Purdue Statistics