Defensive Scheme Helps Land Brooks

An easy transition leads to an easy decision for Ga. linebacker.

North Gwinnett High School outside linebacker Jalen Brooks went on a long road trip two weeks ago, and came home a Maryland Terrapin. "We went around to a bunch of places, and Maryland was gorgeous," commented Brooks. "It's weird, it feels like home on that campus. There's a whole town within a town on that campus." The feel of the campus definitely produced a spark of interest, but the senior standout was sold on position and population similarities among his high school and Maryland.

Brooks explained that ACC football was a good fit, considering that he played 6A football in the greater Atlanta area. "Big stadium, big community that the school draws, I'm at home," explained the excited new commit, who also was considering big name programs such as Mississippi State, Navy, and Air Force. "The real selling point, for me, was the way that Maryland wants to use me. I am a rover in high school, where I can come up to the line, pass rush, and also drop into coverage as a safety." Maryland plans to use him in a "Sam linebacker" position, a spot where he will often line up across from an opposing tight end. "I like that position because I can blitz, cover man, and shed blocks up on the line."

The 6'3, 220 pound linebacker is most effective when able to use his athleticism across the field. "My strengths are in my size and speed in the open field. My closing speed makes me a good fit as a Sam linbacker, but my coaching staff here in Georgia have taught me all this," told Brooks. At this point in the summer, teams are getting ready for the season through football camps and team practices, and North Gwinnett High is no exception. "My main goal is to help us become 4-time regional champs and go undefeated. Last year we lost one game after going undefeated my freshman and sophomore years," said the defensive captain, who also looks to improve on a statline that includes 49 tackles, eight tackles for loss, and six passes defended.

The bar has been set very high, and high self expectations will lead to big things on the next level for Brooks, who commented on already seeing some nice new changes about Maryland's program. "I was up there last year on a visit, and they were rebuilding a new field, which is nice. I like [the new jerseys]. Love how they're like Oregon. We have the state of the art everything and we get to test out all the new gear," stated an amused Brooks. He plans to visit soon in the fall for a weekend when the Terps have a home football game.

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