Coach Don Fureman Jr. had a lot of good things to say about Joe. "Joe is a great kid. He has a great personality and he is a hard worker. He has had a very positive influence on our team. Not just as a football player but in school as well. Academically, he has excellent grades. He has been a real pleasure to coach. He has a large group of friends and he is just a fun guy to be around as a person and as a player."
Joe also makes an impact on the football field. His junior year, he rushed for over 1000 yards and 9 touchdowns and added 51 pancake blocks as a lead blocker and was also credited with 65 tackles and 3 sacks. "Joe is your prototypical linebacker. He is an aggressive player. He is a quiet player, what I mean by that is that he isn't very vocal. He lets his actions on the field speak louder than his words. When things aren't going well, he will speak up and he will let people know that they need to pick up the pace. He has great acceleration, reads well and he plays hard every play. He is a real smart player and he has great recognition. He loves contact and loves to hit. We actually set our defense up around him this year and that kind of hurt us when he got hurt."
Coach Fureman has seen Joe play a lot of football so I asked him where he thought Joe was best suited to play. "I think he is being recruited as a Will or weak-side linebacker. He is going to have plenty of opportunities to cover the backs and tight ends doing that. I think he is up to the task. He definitely has the speed to do that and I think he is physical enough to be able to play on the head of a tight end. He is very adept at zone coverage. He is a very good stunting linebacker and with his skills, I think he can play any of the linebacker positions. He is probably better suited to play the Will or the outside linebacker position than the Sam or Mike linebacker position right now. With the fullbacks being so big at the college level, at this stage of his career, I think he is a little better at the pass aspect at the college level than he would be at the run aspect. Once he puts on more weight, he will fit right in to any linebacker position. "
Brockington was looking forward to a strong senior year for Palmyra. He hurt his shoulder very early during the football season and had to sit out the entire year. Losing an entire season of football has to be hard on any player but Joe handled it well. "After Joe got injured, he worked very hard to try and come back. He was out of action for 4 weeks where he couldn't do anything. He had his arm in a sling and he had to rest it and let it heal. Once he was able to, he got back in the weight room and lifted anything he could upper body and lower body he worked very hard on. He was at every practice, every team function, the banquet, things we needed him to speak at. Other than not being able to play, he was still very much a part of this team. He was involved with pre-game and he helped our coaches with the linebackers and coached his replacement to get used to the position so he was a great help even though he was not playing."
Brockington has always been a talent on the football field and this was recognized early. "Originally, we knew he was coming up and we knew he was going to be a good player. He was a stand-out all the way through the midget program and even the middle school. We got the idea that he was a special player early in his freshman year. We had a lot of older guys on the team but we saw it and we gave him some opportunities to carry the ball and he also went in at linebacker for us as well. When he was in, you could just tell he was going to be a good one. His sophomore year, he really solidified that. He led our team in tackles and he got some more carries. As a sophomore, he made a major contribution to our team and made a bigger contribution as a junior."
Brockington has carried the ball a lot for Palmyra and some schools were recruiting him as a fullback prospect. I asked Coach Fureman how he felt about Joe playing a fullback or the one back position at Notre Dame. "I think with Joe's personality, he would play any position he was asked to. When you look at Joe, he looks like a linebacker. He acts like a linebacker and he plays like a linebacker. I'm sure he could help some teams as a one back but I think that would be a waste of his talent. He is talented no matter where he plays but linebacker is really his spot."
One thing I definitely gleaned from my conversation with Coach Fureman is that he is very proud of Joe Brockington. Joe's mother works a lot of hours to feed their family and Joe could be out on the streets causing trouble but Coach Fureman is really proud of the person and athlete Brockington has become. "Any time one of your players gets to move on and advance to the next level you are always proud to see that. You have a feeling you have had a little bit or part in that. Maybe not in their physical attributes and what God has given them but being there and trying to mold them somewhat. It's a real honor for me to coach Joe and I am going to feel proud to see him out on the field playing for Notre Dame."