If you give redshirt freshman Jourdan Brooks an inch, he'll give you five yards a carry.
A promising showing against North Carolina, Brooks earned the starting running back position after starting the year third on the depth chart, and he's making the most of it. In his first career start against Navy, he became the seventh Rutgers' freshman to rush for 100 yards in a game. The 134 yard game was the second best performance by a Scarlet Knight in their first career start.
To show it wasn't a fluke, Brooks followed that stellar performance up with 65 yards and three touchdowns against Morgan State in a 38-0 route. He's crossed the goal line five times in two games, which makes him tied for fourth in the Big East.
"I think Jourdan is getting more and more comfortable," head coach Greg Schiano said. "He's certainly showing that he has a nose for the end zone, which is good."
On Saturday, Rutgers' offense was a machine driving down the field, and Brooks was the finisher. With his overpowering 6-foot-1, 245 pound frame, Brooks punched it all three of his end zone scores inside the five.
"It was the most I ever had," Brooks said about his career high three touchdowns. "I felt real good running out there, especially in short-yardage and goal line situations."
Besides needing the win, this game also had other special implications for Brooks. Against the Midshipmen, the Germantown, Md. native was playing near his hometown and had plenty of family present at the game. With Morgan State, he was taking on his parents' alma mater.
"It's been real cool," he said. "It's been two real big weeks for me."
After the win, Brooks won't let his family forget who won the game.
"Yeah," he said with a laugh when asked if he will brag. "I'm going to go out there and talk to them."
"Things are still fast for me being at the college level," "I'm just catching up to speed and trying to do my best."
What Schiano loves the most about the once three-star prospect from Seneca Valley High School is he still hasn't scratched the surface of his full potential. The former First Team All-County and All-League selection in high school said he's still catching up to the speed of the college game, but is starting to get the hang of things.
"I felt pretty good out there in my second start," Brooks said. "I'm
kind of in the rhythm of the running game. [But,] I always feel like there's
room for improvement."
Brooks is getting plenty of help from the other backs-junior Kordell Young, and sophomores Mason Robinson and Joe Martinek. Throughout preseason camp, all of the backs said they were helping each out during the highly competitive running back battle.
"All of the running backs on this team work extremely hard and do our best," Brooks said. "We all support and rely on each other every game. We're like a family."
The Knights got a much needed win right before they open up Big East play on the road against West Virginia (2-2). Brooks knows the importance of facing off against last year's conference champions, and said the team needs a solid week of practice to come out with a victory.
"That would be a great win for us," he said. "We all need to
make improvements so we can make sure we get everything flowing right against