A Different Path

Jonesboro grid standout Zac Brooks (6-2, 180), one of the top players on hand for this weekend's Southwest Elite 7-on-7 tournament in Springdale, talks about his recent decision to commit to Clemson over Arkansas and others.

SPRINGDALE - During the last month, Jonesboro standout tailback/wide receiver Zac Brooks surprised many by abruptly committing to Clemson.

The 6-2, 180-pound Florida native said Friday during a break in the Southwest Elite 7-on-7 tournament at Shiloh Christian - that it wasn't so much running away from Arkansas and it was running to Death Valley.

"When I went to Clemson, everything just fit like a puzzle piece," said Brooks, who just returned from Clemson after a post-commit visit with his family. "It just seemed like it was where I was supposed to be at. The coaches were real grateful, I was real grateful and it was just perfect for me.

"….They said they are going to try and use me like a C.J. Spiller," Brooks said of the former Clemson tailback who caught a lot of passes out of the backfield. "They are going to move me out to the slot to try and throw defenses off. They think it will be a good move for a running back with great receiving skills like I do."

Arkansas viewed him as a wide receiver, had recruited him hard and had him on campus several times, including this spring.

Having over 10 offers, Brooks is regarded as a four-star prospect and dubbed the 40th-best wideout in the country by Scout.com.

"I think Arkansas is going to stay after me," Brooks said. "I don't have anything against Arkansas. Arkansas is a great place to be. I would try to talk people into going to Arkansas. They have great facilities and a great program. It just didn't fit me personally. It wasn't anything that they weren't doing. It just didn't fit me personally like Clemson did.

"Arkansas has a great program going and I wish them the best," Brooks said.

Brooks moved to Arkansas in the eighth grade from Florida, where loyalties were split in his house.

"My momma was a Miami fan, my daddy was a (Florida State) Seminoles fan so I said I was going to go neutral and be a (Florida) Gator fan," Brooks said. "As recruiting started I was kind of thinking of those three Florida schools, but that didn't really ever happen for me.

"Miami started recruiting me late, but they wanted me to play safety and I want to play offense," Brooks said. "I want to play as a freshman. I don't want to redshirt. If I came in and started playing a position I had never played before, they would redshirt me and I wouldn't get to play right away."

Brooks, who suffered a hamstring injury during Friday's action, played wideout as a sophomore and tailback as a junior.

This year he will play a combo role for the Hurricane after rushing for 1,358 yards and 14 touchdowns and catching 33 passes for 276 yards and two more scores last season.

"It's going to be more wide receiver this season," Brooks said. "I would say it is going to be about 60-40 wide receiver as we just try to get some match-ups and get the ball in my hands."


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