Brooks, a four-star wide receiver, according to Scout.com, was targeted last spring by Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris to become the power running back the Tigers were looking to add to the hurry-up, no-huddle offense.
"He's the top player in the state of Arkansas," said Dabo Swinney,
who's now permitted to speak about Brooks, because of his early enrollment
"He is a guy I'm really excited about. He catches the ball incredibly
well. I think we can use him in a lot of different ways."
Morris had Brooks pegged as a good fit for the offense because of his
combination of size, speed and pass catching ability. So did former Auburn
offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, the creator of the hurry-up,
no-huddle offense. He also offered Brooks last spring.
When Brooks committed to Clemson in June, he was to be the one running
back the Tigers were going planning to add in the 2012 class. At the time,
the Tigers were looking at a running back stable for the 2012 season that
RS Sr. Andre Ellington
RS Jr. Roderick McDowell
RS So. Demont Buice
RS So. D.J. Howard
So. Mike Bellamy
Fr. Zac Brooks
That full stable started to look like less of a sure thing later that
Buice left the team, opting to transfer.
Ellington was in the midst of putting together the most productive season
of his career, making an early departure for the NFL a distinct
To make matters a little bit worse, Bellamy's future with the program
became a little too foggy for comfort.
Clemson was suddenly back on the market for another running back in 2012.
Gurley and Keith Marshall emerged as the top candidates. Unfortunately for
Clemson, Georgia added both. Between their commitments to Georgia, Clemson
offered Mike Davis, the younger brother of former Clemson running back
Now, weeks before his announcement, there's a sentiment among most circles
that Davis won't follow in his brother's footsteps and go to Clemson. But
the younger Davis still has an official visit to Clemson scheduled for the
final weekend before signing day.
At this point in the game, it's may be too late for Clemson to move on a
running back that's worth a scholarship offer, especially when the Tigers
are planted firmly in the lead groups for several highly-recruited 2013
Though Ellington's return helps ease the pain of missing out on Gurley,
there's still question as to whether or not Bellamy will be on the roster
by the time September rolls around.
All the more reason for Swinney and Morris to pat themselves on the back
for landing Brooks and getting him into school this month.
"A great young man, incredibly dynamic," Swinney said. "He's fast, he's
got a great body. He's right at 6-2. He's going to be, I think, a 215,
220-pound guy as he develops and matures."
Brooks' value at Clemson skyrocketing
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