When Ellis Brooks visits a college he knows exactly what he's looking for in a future home. He wants his time to be used well. If he is going to travel somewhere he wants to feel like he is worth the time of the coaching staff he is talking to.
That is the main reason you will not see Ellis at many Junior Days. You might not see him at any camps. He does not want to think of himself as a number. He will let his highlight reel speak for itself. He may find one or two places to work out at but he wants the individual attention that will give him access to what he needs to know. Sitting down with a coach in a film room is the kind of setting that he thinks will help make the process easier to understand.
That is just the kind of experience Brooks (6-1, 225) had at NC State. He made an exception in going to that Junior Day.
“My recruiter Coach Barlow stopped by my school and that’s how the relationship started. Because of that I had wanted to go down and check out the school. That was the first time I had been there. He’s a really cool guy. He’s relatable to the players and I think he’s a good coach also.”
Barlow is not the only reason Brooks had a good time at NC State. On the contrary it is another coach that was more involved in the visit. Away from campus Barlow might be the main person that Brooks goes to from NC State. Brooks said he thinks Barlow is recruiting others at Benedictine School but he could not say for sure. All he knows is Barlow wants him.
“The part of the day I liked the best was probably sitting down in the linebacker meeting with Coach Huxtable and listening to him talk about all the different drills he runs and how he actually practices with his linebackers. He was giving feedback and insight on things you can work on. I really like him as a position coach.”
Huxtable and Barlow have both watched Brooks’ film from his sophomore year of high school. It was good enough to get him an offer. Virginia Tech and Duke’s coaches agree because they have offered too.
For Brooks the interaction with the coaches was the most important part of the trip to NC State or any other school for that matter. He did notice some other things that caught his eye.
“Their facilities are really nice. The campus is really cool. The whole thing was a fun experience. I like it there a lot. I don’t think I’m going to go to camp though. I don’t think I’ll do any camps. Maybe not Junior Days either. I want my parents to be able to come in and get a more personalized visit. I want to see it with my parents and sit down with the academic advisers to get another look at it.”
Brooks has visited Duke and Virginia Tech and both of those schools have offered.
“All of them stood out in their own way. I really liked NC State’s facilities. Duke’s a good college. A really good college. Virginia Tech is like my home. It’s a college everybody here looks at. My sister goes there also. I really like all three of them so far so it would be hard to choose.”
He does not have to choose any time soon. When he does have to choose he will have more than those three schools to choose between. For now though he will just take it one offer and one visit at a time.
Brooks plays middle linebacker for Benedictine School and that is the position he will play in college. There are a couple of schools that have said he could play outside linebacker at either the WILL or SAM but the MIKE is where he is most comfortable and that is where he is playing in his sophomore film.
Brooks has a bright future ahead and that is even before college football comes. He was All-Metro honorable mention on defense and first team all-state in Division I in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association. The independent schools in Virginia have a lot of high quality players. In that division one would find Benedictine, Bishop O’Connell, Fork Union, Episcopal, St. Christopher’s, Woodberry Forest and Fork Union. To earn first team honors in a group of schools like that is an accomplishment much less for any sophomore.