Profiles in Terpage is back for 2017. Last week, we focused on the defensive line; this week, we’re taking a look at the linebackers.
Jalen Brooks, LB, No. 43
Weight: 232 lbs.
Year: Redshirt senior
Hometown: Suwanee, Georgia
High school: North Gwinnett
How he got to College Park
Brooks was a three-star prospect in high school, and he chose the Terps over Yale. He redshirted in 2013 but has been a factor in each of the last three years. Brooks started 11 games as a sophomore in 2015 after injuries to Jefferson Ashiru and Abner Logan, and made four starts in 2014 and 2016.
Maryland’s switch to a 4-2-5 defense probably impacted Brooks the most, as he became the third linebacker on a team that only started two. Shane Cockerille, who switched from fullback and quarterback to linebacker in spring practice, ultimately earned a starting job, leaving Brooks as a more situational player. Brooks recorded 20 tackles and two pass breakups in 2016, a dropoff from his 64-tackle, two-interception sophomore season.
Against Bowling Green in 2015, Brooks notched nine tackles and and hauled in the first interception of his career.
After being a rotational player in 2016, Brooks has a chance to fill Maryland’s second linebacker spot alongside Jermaine Carter. With Cockerille still sidelined for academic reasons, there are several contenders to take his place. Isaiah Davis started the Terps’ bowl game there, but Brooks’ chances are as good as anyone’s. At the very least, he’ll remain a solid option for three-linebacker formations, as he was last year.
Brooks wins the spot and doesn’t give it away, becoming one of Maryland’s most important defenders. His numbers far surpass those from 2015, and he gives himself a strong chance to join Carter and others in the NFL in 2018.
This player’s career has been Shawn Petty’s in reverse.
Denton5 and Scaletta have started the scoring this week.