Today we move on to the linebackers with a true freshman.
Jalen Brooks, Freshman, Linebacker
Collegiate Stats: N/A
High School Stats: 93 tackles (67 solo), 15 tackles for loss, five sacks, three interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), one pass defended, 16 quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one blocked kick
Recruiting Ratings: Three stars by Rivals, 24/7 (#133 in Ga., #137 OLB), Scout (#111 OLB) and ESPN (#97 in Ga., #87 OLB)
High School: North Gwinnett
Hometown: Suwanee, Ga.
High School Highlights:
How'd He Get to College Park?
Brooks began his high school career as a safety, but moved to linebacker as a senior at North Gwinnett (unsurprisingly, he made the move after accepting an offer to Maryland). This past year, the Bulldogs went 11-2 and reached the third round of the playoffs.
Brooks was one of a series of early commits for Maryland, making his collegiate intentions clear in July of last year. At the time, he was very much an unknown commodity - none of the four recruiting sites had given him a rating. His other FBS offers come from Air Force, Ball State, Elon and Navy (with interest from Mississippi State), but Maryland's biggest competition actually came from the FCS in the form of three Ivy League schools - Yale, Harvard and Princeton. He listed the business school at Maryland and the move to the Big Ten as factors in his decision, and unsurprisingly comes off as incredibly intelligent in an interview with Matt Bracken:
"It's not so isolated on the education part, and it's not just focused on football," he said. "It's the best of both worlds...I just know that Maryland has a great reputation of being a top college, especially its business school. The ACC is already a top conference, and moving to the Big Ten is an even higher level. All the money is going to come in and feed the academic programs and research. That was pretty big."
Brooks intends to major in marketing and wants to produce movies, citing a vast knowledge of cinema. Those who follow my Twitter account know that automatically makes him my favorite player on the team.
Committing to Maryland.
Having a good year on the practice squad? The kid's redshirting.
Like we said, Jalen Brooks is almost definitely redshirting this year. Which is fine - Maryland has pretty good outside linebacking depth, Brooks could use a year to put on some size and get used to the game - it works out pretty well for all parties.
That being said, this profile would be pretty boring if we ended it there, so let's look at his future with the program. It is possible that Brooks moves back to safety, depending on how he takes to the added size that will come with a Big Ten linebacking job, but let's pretend for now that he'll staying at linebacker. Brooks will be on the outside, and it's likely that he's more fit for the Matt Robinson/Alex Twine/Avery Thompson role than the Marcus Whitfield/Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil/Clarence Murphy one (it appears Maryland has one linebacking position for safety-types and one for defensive end-types. Brooks is certainly the former).
Robinson and Twine both graduate next year (it is very strange to me that they are in the same class), with Thompson heading out the year after that. Probably two more of the multitude of true freshman linebackers coming in this season will go to that position as well, leaving a probable four-way competition at the position over the next two years. It's unlikely that all four will be in contention or even with the program anymore at that time, so the competition starts now.
Our next player almost shares his first name with a member of a comedy duo who was also the villain in a sci-fi blockbuster last year.
thirstyturtlelives is on the board.
ClickClack62 - 6
curterp - 3
Maryland1206 - 3
Redturtle - 2
802Terp - 2
proudterp - 1
terpsfinish - 1
KHemer - 1
apgibson24 - 1
UATerp - 1
thirstyturtlelives - 1