Daniel Brooks Plays Cards Close to Chest

Daniel Brooks dazzles spectators, teammates and foes alike as one of the nation's top linebacker prospects, but he isn't easily dazzled himself.

That was evident last night when he took a few minutes to talk about his official visit to Tennessee over the weekend. There's little question the soft-spoken Brooks likes Tennessee, but not enough to commit to the Vols or to even list UT as his leader.

"It's still Alabama and Tennessee," said Brooks of his two favorites. "Everything is still right there even though they don't have a coach yet at Alabama."

At this time, Brooks plans to take official visits to North Carolina (Jan. 10) and Ole Miss (Jan. 17), while awaiting the hiring of a new head coach at Alabama. He has developed a good relationship with Bama defensive coordinator Carl Torbush and wants to know his status before making a decision. (Torbush has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Dennis Franchione.) Brooks, who is originally from Mississippi, is also looking forward to visiting the Ole Miss campus in Oxford.

As for his Tennessee visit, Brooks said his highlight was meeting with the players and seeing the interaction between players and the coaching staff.

"I went out with the players and it turned out to be a real good visit," he said. "Keyon Whiteside was my host and I liked him a lot.

"Getting to spend time with the players was the highlight of the visit. I thought the players and coaches have a good relationship with each other. That's something I'm looking for in a team."

When asked if he had a time frame for making his decision, Brooks provided a cryptic answer that may have offered some insight as to assorted stresses that can accompany the recruiting process.

"As long as I can hold out," he said. "I'm not really feeling any pressure about it now."

At 6-3, 230 pounds with a 4.56 time in the 40 and a 350-pound bench press, Brooks is much more accustomed to applying pressure than he is to enduring it.

And as long as he's the big name among in-state prospects yet unclaimed by the Volunteers, he's sure to ratchet up the tension level for Tennessee coaches and fans.

For now: Brooks waits and a Big Orange Nation wonders.

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