In this installment of The Recruit Notebook, we meet a local player with plenty of talent who followed a bumpy road on the path to Miami: LB Samuel Brooks.
Samuel Brooks is like a lot of linebackers from South Florida: tall, thin, and quick as hell. The 6’1” 195lb Brooks first made a name for himself as a sophomore at Miami (FL) Northwestern, and looked to be headed for a legendary HS career.
Things, unfortunately, got derailed in 2017, Brooks’ junior season, when the standout defender had a major knee injury. Brooks tore his MCL and ACL in his left knee, ending his season in October. Miami, however, stuck by the talented defender, who still led Miami-Dade county in sacks with 16.5 despite missing the last part of the regular season and entirety of the playoffs as Miami Northwestern won a 6A State Championship.
Miami stuck by Brooks through his injury, and that relationship and loyalty paid off when Brooks committed to The U in March 2018. After rehabbing his knee, Brooks returned to the field for Northwestern in 2018, and had another strong season, helping the Bulls to repeat as 6A State Champions.
Things took a bit of a turn, however, when Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers coach Manny Diaz departed the Canes to take the Head Coaching job at Temple University. In the aftermath of that move, Brooks decommitted from Miami a day before his scheduled Official Visit to Coral Gables, saying he needed to reassess things and be sure of his next recruiting move.
After some speculation that Miami might move on from Brooks, the parties met and Brooks’ concerns were voiced to the staff, and the trip was reaffirmed. Brooks went to campus for his Official Visit, and recommitted to Miami while there, ending a quick, but troubling, chapter of his recruitment.
Through thick and thin, Miami stuck with Samuel Brooks. Now, let’s hope that loyalty pays off, and the talented LB plays with the same kind of excellence he showcased in High School.
On the 247sports composite, Brooks is a 3-star prospect, the #46 LB nationally in this class, #97 in the State of Florida, and #726 recruit overall.
Brooks picked Miami (twice) from a list of offers including Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, and Oregon.
As a Player
At 6’1” 195lb, Brooks has decent height and length, but will need to fill out his body a bit to be an ACC linebacker. He could easily be 215-220lb without losing quickness, his best attribute. He’ll need to be more physical in taking on and shedding blocks, something he seldom had to do because of the way he was used in HS.
Brooks was a prolific sack artist in HS because he was quicker than the opposing linemen. His first step took him around the corner before teams could react, and they would have to scheme for ways to stop him on a weekly basis. That pass rushing ability is something that could translate into good blitzing interaction in college, but the days of Brooks being a one-trick, rush-the-passer pony are behind him.
Obviously, having had a major knee injury already in his career, Brooks’s ability to stay healthy and on the field is something to be watched, as well.
- Pass Rushing/Blitzing
- Physical development
- Physicality of play
- Transition from rush LB to every-down LB
Brooks is a player that should be able to develop over time. He’s a bit small to play in the rotation right now, but he might be able to work his way onto special teams. He’s a prime candidate for a play-4-games redshirt, as opposed to the sit-on-the-bench-the-whole-season redshirt.
Chances for a redshirt: 6/10
Brooks is a throwback Miami Linebacker, whose quickness and tackling can impact games all over the field. But, with several guys in front of him, and the trio of starting LBs (hopefully) returning (a quartet if you count STRIKER Romeo Finley in that group), Brooks should take 2019 to learn, get a bit of experience, and grow, and be ready to hit the field with a vengeance in 2020.
That’s it for this installment of The Recruit Notebook.