It's easy to follow the Power 5's, the Alabama's, Clemson's, and Ohio State's of the world. You'll hear about Heisman candidates, they'll all come from those schools, they're the poster boys for college football. But college football is more than the syndicate that is the Power 5. It's also full of great, talented players with great stories. At the Roundup we want to introduce you to under the radar Texas players that if you don't know, you should. We'd like you to meet Nate Brooks, North Texas corner.
6-0 176 Junior
Whitehouse High School
Awards and Stats
- 2016 Honorable Mention All Conference USA
- Led team with four interceptions, 2nd in Conference USA
- Conference USA Player of the Week vs. Southern Miss.
- Fourth on team with 57 tackles
- 2nd on team with eight passes defensed
Fun fact about Whitehouse High School, their drill team is called the First Ladies. Feel free to use that at parties to impress your friends. Brooks started at safety his junior season at Whitehouse, all 150 pounds of him. He was good enough to merit an Honorable Mention All-State selection and All-District First Team honors.
Whitehouse sits in the middle of East Texas and Brooks' senior season the Wildcats were in the meat grinder that was 16-5A with schools like Tyler John Tyler, Lufkin, Ennis, Jacksonville, and Nacogdoches. Brooks' senior year, he made the transition from safety to cornerback. Unlike most of us, Brooks struggled to keep weight on. His senior year he was eating six meals a day to try and push himself beyond a buck fifty.
Even as a featherweight, Brooks brought a physical nature to his play. He teamed with A&M commit Justin Dunning in the Wildcat secondary but late in his senior season he showed his versatility when he was asked to play quarterback as well. All he did was throw for over 700 yards and add another 289 on the ground. He was named All-District and All East Texas by ETSN.com.
All that versatility and ability got Brooks all of two college offers, North Texas and Louisiana Tech. Brooks chose the former.
Why you should know him
Brooks, along with other under the radar players Kishawn McClain and Eric Jenkins, makes up one of the most talented position groups in Conference USA, the Mean Green secondary. Well, McClain may not be under the radar so much, he was an All-CUSA freshman he's been a playmaker for North Texas for two plus years now, but you should get to know all of them. Back to Mr. Brooks.
Brooks arrived on campus a skinny kid who was expected to play on special teams and in nickel situations, but he ended up starting his final seven games as a true freshman. He made eleven stops as a true freshman against UTSA at Apogee and generally survived his trial by fire.
Enter Seth Littrell and with him Co-Coordinators Troy Reffett and Mike Ekeler, they transformed North Texas' defense into an attacking multiple/flexible unit and oversaw a near ten point improvement in points allowed per game. Reffett and Ekeler's defense skyrocketed and improved from 108th in pass defense in 2015 to 26th in 2016. That jump was aided by a bulked up Brooks who added ten to fifteen pounds for his sophomore season. He used those extra pounds to finish fourth on the team in tackles with 57 tackles, including 36 solo stops.
Brooks started all thirteen games for the Mean Green in 2016 and didn't shy away from the big stage. In the Mean Green's trip to the Swamp to take on Florida in September, Brooks led the team in tackles and registered his first career interception. Brooks would make a second pick a few weeks later at West Point.
Against Southern Miss in November Brooks would have his best night to date and dismantle USM's offense with two picks, a forced fumble, six tackles, and a pass break up. That win would be the fifth for the Mean Green and, thanks to their APR, would qualify them for a Bowl Game in Littrell's first year.
On the field Brooks really grew up. He's always been a good athlete but his anticipation and route recognition really progressed last season. Throughout his career, whether at Whitehouse or at North Texas and in spite of his weight, Brooks has been a willing tackler. He's not afraid to stick his nose in a make physical plays in space. That's a huge asset in todays game.
In year two of Reffett's defense, expect Brooks to continue to improve and make big plays. You should probably get to know him.