Brooks passes eyeball test

Moving the chains and putting points on the scoreboard in the future got that much simpler for Tennessee with news Thursday.

Devante Brooks didn't have his name at the top of the 2016 tight end board for Tennessee for no reason.

Between the mutual interest, the high character and considerable upside, the recruitment of Brooks was a simple decision for second-year coach Butch Jones and tight ends coach Mark Elder, who spear-headed the movement to get the junior in orange.

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Brooks selected Tennessee over several schools, including top contenders Iowa, Nebraska, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech.

Brooks is not yet 100-percent from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered while running a 10-yard out route at an Ohio State camp back in June.

"I first saw Devante Brooks in person early during his sophomore season," Scout national analyst Brian Dohn said, "and his frame and the way he carried himself stood out immediately. He passed the eyeball test, so that was a good start. Then, I watched him play, and I figured he was well on his way to a ton of offers because of his athleticism, and the way he moved. The interesting thing is he first caught my eye as a defensive end. That he is coming off a serious knee injury is not a big deal to me."

That ability is part of what makes the D.C. native attractive, but it certainly appears as though Brooks will play on offense on The Hill.

MARK ELDER
(Danny Parker/InsideTennessee.com)

"Brooks has versatility, which is something of a must these days in college football," Dohn said. "It helps expand the roster. He is quick and agile, so he makes sense as a tight end. He runs well and he can catch, and he likes the physical play. He's not a line-up-and-block-the-guy-10-yards-off-the-ball type of player, but he can block and he understands leverage and leg drive. As a pass catcher, he releases quickly off the line of scrimmage and he locates the ball well, but he does need to do a better job of getting into and out of breaks. With Brooks' size and speed, though, he can be a matchup issue for defenses because he can play in the slot.

"However, do not rule out defensive end for Brooks. He is long and has a good burst, which makes him ideal coming off the edge. Brooks can chase plays down and his change of direction is good."

The Scout three-star prospect competes at St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., but does not yet have a positional ranking.

More coming from Brooks on his decision soon.


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