Introducing the 2007 Class: James Brooks

Many things can drive an athlete, and the proverbial ‘chip on the shoulder' is probably one the more popular motivators out there. James Brooks has had more than his fair share of doubters and critics, and admits that their words may have been true to some extent. Yet, at the end of the day those words will also encourage the defensive end to strive for greatness when playing for the Sun Devils.

"Keeping up my intensity on every down is something I definitely need to work on," said the 6-6 265 James Brooks. "I admit that's an issue I need to work on. It never really bothered me when people would say that about me during high school. But if people now keep on saying that, it's just gonna be more fuel on the fire to motivate me. I get motivated when people say I can't do this or do that."

On the same token, many thought it would be impossible for the defensive end to qualify academically for a Division I school and that he would be forced to go the JC route in 2007. Yet, just last week he achieved a qualifying SAT score and looks in great shape to get the NCAA's clearing house stamp of approval and qualify to play for Arizona State. "I tried not to think about the test when I was waiting for the score," he said. "I did feel that I did well after the test. I just kept on working out with a trainer here in Flagstaff and sticking to the workout program ASU sent me…I was relieved once I heard that I got a qualifying score." Brooks added that his workouts include more lifting than conditioning, and that he now weighs 265 pounds which is heavier than he was during his senior season.

As one of the more talented in-state recruits in the 2007 class, the Sun Devils started recruiting Brooks in his junior year. ASU Defensive Line Coach Grady Stretz, who held that position under the old coaching staff and the new one, developed a strong relationship with Brooks during the recruiting process. "He's probably one of the biggest reasons I ended up at Arizona State," Brooks commented. "I've know him since last spring and I'm very excited to play defensive end for him."

Colorado State was the first school to offer the defensive end a scholarship. San Diego State, UNLV, Utah, and Oregon State were other schools that extended offers. The desire to play in the Pac-10 is what Brooks said swayed him more than anything else to don the maroon and gold. "Being close to home was not a big factor. I was willing to go wherever I felt comfortable," he stated. "Having family in Phoenix helps a lot and it's a plus, but that wasn't the main reason that I signed with ASU."

The defensive end excelled also on the other side of the ball as a tight end. Brooks was named Flagstaff High's Offensive Player of the Year and earned first-team All-Region and first-team All-City honors. As a senior, he caught 24 passes for 663 yards (27.6 ypc.) and five touchdowns, and on defense he tallied 59 tackles, 15 quarterback sacks and 12 pass deflections. He noted that he prefers to play defensive end, but certainly wouldn't be opposed to playing tight end if needed. Furthermore, he's very aware of what a certain ex-Sun Devil and Lombardi Trophy winner accomplished when rushing opposing quarterbacks. "I wasn't really thinking about Terrell Suggs before I committed, but after I signed I thought that it would be neat to maybe walk in his footsteps," said Brooks. "That would definitely give me the motivation to be that type of player. I want to work hard to get to that level." Brooks, who played basketball extensively throughout high school, stated he doubts he will try to pursue that sport once he comes to Tempe.

Brooks will arrive on campus next week, with the rest of the 2007 recruiting class, to participate in the school's bridge program, which is aimed at easing the transition from high school to college. "Just because I'm a local guy doesn't mean that I'm definitely gonna have an easy transition," he admitted. "To be honest, I don't know what to expect playing at the next level, going to college and stuff like that. But I'm also looking forward to that next stage and see what it's all about."

It should probably come as no surprise that the highly motivated Brooks isn't prepared to sit on the sidelines in his freshman season. "Coaches said if I compete hard in practice I'll have a chance to play," he said. "I don't plan on redshirting because I'm gonna work hard and learn the defense. But if I need to redshirt that's fine and I'll just get ready to play the next year. I don't want to redshirt but I know that overall it isn't a bad thing."

"My mindset is to go out there and do the best I can. I'm not gonna be easily satisfied, because I have high goals for myself. And it's also about proving people wrong and showing them that I can be the player they said I couldn't be."

Recruit Profile

Name James Brooks

High School Flagstaff (Ariz.)

Position Defensive End

Height 6-6

Weight 265

Date of Birth 11/30/88

Birthplace Phoenix, Ariz.

Nickname "Didn't have one."

Favorite TV Show "SportsCenter"

Favorite Movie "Bait"

Favorite Singer "Lil Wayne"

Favorite Food "Mexican"

Favorite Drink "Gatorade"

Favorite Athlete "Shaquille O'Neal"

Favorite Pro Team "Dallas Cowboys"

Person you most admire "My father. He taught me right from wrong and how to be respectful."

First Football Memory "Scoring a touchdown my freshman year. That was my first game ever. We were down with seconds to go and I caught the winning touchdown."

One Thing most people don't know about me "People don't know how fast I am. I surprise people when they how fast I run for as big of a guy as I am."

Why did you choose ASU? "Playing in the Pac-10."

Where do you want to be in ten years? "My ultimate goal is to be in the NFL. If that doesn't work out, I'd like to own a business."

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