2019 Miami (FL) Northwestern 3-star LB Samuel Brooks committed to the Canes on Saturday night.
The 6-1, 195-pounder is currently a consensus 3-star in the national rankings. According to the 247Composite, Brooks is the #795 player nationally, #55 LB in the country, and the #108 player in The Sunshine State. His commitment further solidifies Miami’s early #1 2019 class on 247Sports and their #2 class on Rivals.
As previously noted, Brooks is a 3-star player, with a caveat though: Brooks suffered a devastating ACL and meniscus tear in October of his junior season this past year. Miami stuck with him though, and he led Miami-Dade in sacks as a sophomore and was on his way to doing it again as a junior before his injury. If Brooks comes back in 2019 and proves he is healthy, there’s a good chance he’ll make a jump in the rankings. He’ll likely play outside linebacker for Manny Diaz, with the potential to move down to DE in pass rushing situations.
Brooks comes from a powerhouse local program in Miami Northwestern that has a long-standing tradition of sending kids to Miami. On the field, Brooks takes sharp, direct angles to the ball-carrier, and he throws his body around against bigger opponents with little fear. Brooks is comfortable with his hand on the ground at the line or standing up and blitzing from a linebacker spot. He has the timing, quick feet and tight hips to make the turn and get into the backfield coming off the edge, acting like a heat-seeking missile. Brooks will need to put on some weight at only 195 right now to hold up at the college level, but that’s common for high schoolers at this stage.
Brooks is the 12th commit overall and, depending how you view Southridge 3-star LB/DB Diamante Howard, is the 2nd or 3rd LB in Miami’s 2019 class, also joining Mount Dora 3-star Jesiah Pierre, an inside LB-type. After narrowing down his options to a top 2 of Miami and South Carolina, Brooks gave his commitment to the staff on an unofficial visit to campus over the weekend following the Miami-Virginia Tech basketball game. Defensive coordinator/LB coach Manny Diaz built a strong connection with Brooks and did a great job reeling him in.
The Canes were light on LB in the 2018 class, taking only Patrick Joyner. Miami will lose 3 seniors to graduation next off-season and the 2019 crop of talent at the position is also extremely deep. As such, we’re expecting the Canes to go hard after at least 3 LB’s and they will likely end up taking 4. There’s a very good chance Howard does not end up in this class, as contact with the Miami staff has been few and far between lately, so UM is likely looking at filling 2 more spots. It feels like the staff’s top remaining target at LB is 4-star St. Thomas Aquinas standout Anthony Solomon, with other high-priority options including Solomon’s STA teammates 4-star Avery Huff and 3-star Jahmar Brown, along with Deerfield Beach’s 4-star Ge’mon Eaford.
Miami returns all three starters at the LB position going into the 2018 season, with the Bermuda Triangle 2.0 of Shaquille Quarterman, Michael Pinckney, and Zach McCloud all juniors, which also sets UM up to be in a pretty good spot in 2019 as well if all stay for their senior seasons. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz loves to rotate at every position, so having plenty of capable bodies at LB is preferred.
Next year, Miami loses Mike Smith, Charles Perry, and Terry McCray to graduation, while the possibility exists that Quarterman or Pinckney could leave early for the NFL. For now though, we’re operating under the assumption they will be back in 2019, and Brooks (assuming he is healthy) and his classmates will fight with Joyner and the 2017 signees at LB for backup reps as true freshmen. The starting lineup completely clears out when the Bermuda Triangle 2.0 is gone after 2019 though, and there will be a battle royale in 2020 for all three positions. Brooks has as good a chance as anyone to win that competition and start as a sophomore.