Despite living less than 40 minutes from Tuscaloosa, Bessemer (Ala.) Bessemer City High School three-star linebacker Jamal Brooks had never been to Alabama as a prospect before Saturday’s scrimmage, which he attended with his father.
“The experience was great. It was just different from many of the places that I’ve been,” he said. “They had people waiting on me when I got there, they have me an itinerary on what I was going to be doing today. Everything was just proffesional.
“The best part had to be when I went through the weight room and then talking to coach (Scott) Cochran. He was real cool, he was mainly saying how they have everything centered on you and what all makes you better.”
One of the top defensive prospects in the Yellowhammer State’s junior class, Nick Saban relayed to the Brooks camp that he’s on the program’s early radar. It was echoed by the rest of the staff.
“Coach (Mario) Cristobal said he really likes me and thought I had a real shot at playing here. He said at Alabama, they don’t just recruit to recruit, they recruit the people they feel has the best chance to play for them,” he said. “Coach Cristobal said that they like me because I was a hybrid linebacker, I can come in the box and play the run or I can come outside and cover the passing game, too.
“I talked to coach (Kirby) Smart a couple minutes after the scrimmage and he said he loved my film and he was going to keep in touch. He said he was looking forward to seeing me again soon.”
During the mock game itself, the linebacker wasn’t just honing in on Reggie Ragland and company.
“The team looked just like you would expect an Alabama team to look, like a smooth, well-ran machine,” Brooks said. “I watched a couple of players from my position but I really found myself watching Daron Payne and Marlon Humphrey the most, I guess because they’re from right here in Birmingham.”
Already with offers from Louisville, South Alabama, Troy and others, the state’s top 2017 outside linebacker plans on returning to Tuscaloosa in the fall. Home games against Ole Miss (September 19), Tennessee (October 24) and LSU (November 7) are the most likely return dates.
Bessemer City opens up its 2015 campaign August 21 at Hueytown (Ala.).