The Stage Is Set For Jordyn Brooks

Jordyn Brooks has been ready to break out the last couple years, and it looks like it’s finally his time to shine.

Brooks has been waiting for this moment. Over the past three seasons, Brooks has quietly put together some solid seasons and was perhaps the best Red Raider that nobody talked about outside of Lubbock. Now, he has the perfect opportunity to gather that attention.

This year, Brooks is finally THE guy. In 2016 he led the teams in tackles, but had seniors like Luke Stice and Malik Jenkins get the attention. The last two years, Dakota Allen took the spotlight thanks to his performance on the field and in Last Chance U. This year, Brooks is the guy everybody will be keeping an eye on.

Brooks’ Steady Red Raider Career

Out of high school, Brooks was always an interesting prospect to me. He just had the mold of not only a college linebacker, but also an NFL one as he was 6-foot and weighted 230 pounds. When you turned on his Stratford highlight tape, it was big hit after big hit. It reminded me of one of my favorite linebackers, Dont’a Hightower.

Brooks was supposed to sit to start his first season, but Dakota Allen was forced to leave the team prior to the 2016 season. The freshman found his opportunity and ran with it. He led the Red Raiders in tackles with 85, including five tackles for loss, and forced a fumble. That helped him earn True Freshmen All-American honors from 247sports.

Over the next few seasons, he put up very similar stats to that of his freshmen year. He had 89 and 84 tackles respectively over the next couple years, including 2.5 sacks and a few turnovers. He became one of the faces of the Red Raider defense and a recognizable name to the fans.

However, he’s been stuck as an All Big-12 honorable mention selection his first three seasons, and hasn’t quite made the next jump to a Big 12 elite linebacker. Hopefully, with Brooks becoming the top linebacker, along with a brand new scheme, he will make that jump this year.

(Music NSFW)

Keith Patterson’s Defense Will Aid Brooks

This year, Patterson is expected to install a 3-3-5 defense, where the two outside linebackers aren’t stacked, but lined up with the tackles. This type of system is going to be a huge benefit for Brooks. And with Brooks being the face of the linebacker core, this could be his year.

Look at what the linebackers did in Patterson’s scheme last year. David Woodward was the “Mike” (or middle) linebacker for the Aggies last year. Brooks will likely play a similar role this year. So what did Woodward do last year? No much. Just 134 tackles, 12.5 for loss, five sacks and four turnovers.

I’m not saying that Brooks is going to replicate the PFF All American’s honors this season, especially since there’s a big difference between the Mountain West and Big 12, but the linebackers benefit tremendously from his system. The other starting linebacker did well also with 99 tackles and five tackles for loss.

What I do expect though is an increase in opportunities for Brooks. Tackling is very important for a linebacker in a 3-3-5 defense, perhaps more than some other positions. Luckily Brooks is very good at that. And with the defensive line focusing on gap control in this system, it should lead more opportunities for turnovers and sacks.

It should also be noted that prior to becoming a defensive coordinator, Patterson was a linebackers coach. Typically the strength of a coordinator or head coach’s team is the position they coached prior to their new title. The defensive will give Brooks plenty of chances to make plays.

Could Brooks Be All-Big 12 First Team Linebacker?

When I was first thinking about writing this piece, I was looking at the All-Big 12 first team, seeing who was picked for each position. When I came across linebacker, I realized that the Big 12 lost a lot of depth at linebacker. Four of the six linebackers selected to the first or second team were no longer there.

With Brooks entering his senior year, having a new system he could thrive in, and being the top linebacker on campus, he has a very real shot to be a first team linebacker. It’s going to be hard to top Kenneth Murray and Clay Johnston, both of whom record 100+ tackles and were on the second team last year, but that last spot is wide open.

First off, Brooks is one of four Big 12 players to be named to the Butkus Award watch list, given to the top linebacker in the nation. Second, he is the third among returning linebackers in tackles last season with 84.

The most notable names he’ll have to beat out is the pair from Iowa State; Marcel Spears Jr and Mike Rose. Also coming for a spot on the list is Calvin Bundage, the fourth linebacker on the Butkus list outside of Brooks, Johnston and Murray.

But Spears and Rose had touchdowns last year that elevated their numbers that are unlikely to happen this year. And Bundage had less tackles and sacks then Brooks, while only having a half tackle for loss more. There’s a very real possibility Brooks could join the first team this season.

The NFL Is The Future For Brooks

I feel confident saying that Brooks will be in the NFL next year. I’m not 100% sure he’ll be drafted, as Dakota Allen was picked with one of the last picks in the draft, but I’m confident he’ll land somewhere, especially with a good season.

He’s an ideal size for an NFL middle linebacker at 6-foot-1, 245 pounds, and has fundamentals down when it comes to tackling. The problem will be speed, which is very crucial in today’s NFL (thanks Mahomes). However, if he works on his speed, reactions, and makes plays this season, we’ll be seeing him on Sundays in 2020.



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