Miami Northwestern LB Samuel Brooks signed with Miami today, becoming UM's 12th and final signee among their commitments.
The 6-2, 195-pounder is currently a consensus 3-star in the national rankings. According to the 247Composite, Brooks is the #724 player nationally, #45 OLB in the country, and the #97 player in The Sunshine State.
Brooks committed to Miami all the way back in March over South Carolina, but he decommitted last week when Manny Diaz left the program. It was a surprise when Brooks decommitted from Miami and Brooks admitted he made a rash decision. His official visit last weekend to Miami was all he needed to put him at ease that UM was the best place for him and now he’ll again sign with Canes.
Brooks suffered a devastating ACL and meniscus tear in October of his junior season and Miami stuck with him through all that. Brooks led Miami-Dade in sacks as a sophomore and was on his way to doing it again as a junior before his injury. Brooks came back strong off his injury as a senior, showing little ill-effects and helping Northwestern to a state title. With another year removed from his injury, Brooks should definitely be 100% by the time he hits the field at Miami for his freshman season.
Brooks comes from a powerhouse local program 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 joins STA 4-star Avery Huff as the two linebackers signing with Miami in the early period. Miami loses backup middle linebacker Mike Smith (who played a ton this year) to graduation after the season, while juniors Shaq Quarterman and Michael Pinckney have NFL decisions to make. If Quarterman and Pinckney return, Miami will return all their starters at the linebacker position in 2019, which include SAM/striker co-starters Zach McCloud and Romeo Finley.
If that’s the case, then there won’t be much playing time available for the freshman linebackers, but there’s certainly potential for them to crack the two-deep. Brooks and his classmates will fight with 2017 signees at LB (Waynmon Steed, BJ Jennings) for backup reps as true freshmen. The starting lineup completely clears out when Quarterman, Pinckney, McCloud, and Finley graduate after 2019 though, and there will be a battle royale in 2020 at all three positions. Brooks has as good a chance as anyone to win that competition and start as a sophomore.
Redshirt Probability: 4/10
It’s hard to say until we know who for sure is coming back, but Brooks will have to continue to put on size and strength to really have a shot at being effective next year. I’m leaning towards him getting just enough reps to justify burning his shirt, but I think Miami has to get back to redshirting these types of guys so that they can build real depth in the program.