It's no secret that linebacker is Penn State's thinnest position. Jason Cabinda and Brandon Smith are off the NFL, and Manny Bowen was removed from the team after struggling to stay out of trouble. This leaves a wide-open competition for players like Ellis Brooks.
A Duke commit very early in his recruitment, Brooks went through a whirlwind stretch ahead of National Signing Day. He picked up a Penn State offer, committed to the Nittany Lions and signed his LOI all within an eight-day time span.
The Brooks File
- Class: RS Freshman
- Size: 6'1/234
- Pos: LB
- School: Benedictine College Prep (Va.)
- Composite Rating: ★★★★
- Composite Rank: No. 13 ILB
With Cabinda and Smith ahead of him on the depth chart, Brooks was able to spend a year on the scout team and adjust to the college game.
Brooks moves like an outside linebacker. He can blitz off the edge, has solid cover skills and is able to make plays all over the field. A high school running back, he's a tremendous athlete and could provide the type of play fans love to see at inside linebacker.
With a young, inexperienced linebacker room, Brooks probably has the best shot out of all the defensive redshirt freshmen to make an impact. With Micah Parsons' bouncing to outside linebacker, he'll have to beat out senior Jake Cooper, true freshman Jesse Luketa and a few walk-ons for reps in the middle. The new redshirt rule will give Luketa a chance to push Brooks, but I'd expect Brooks to get the majority of reps, at least early in the year.