For the past few months, Centreville rising senior Jordan Brooks had heard his share of pitches from colleges on why the sizable defensive lineman would best fit on their team. Cincinnati and Marshall touted themselves as up-and-coming Football Bowl Subdivision teams; others, such as Austin Peay and Albany, noted how Brooks could immediately land a starting spot as a freshman.
But when Brooks sat down on Wednesday for a PowerPoint presentation at James Madison, along with fellow Centreville rising senior Charles Tutt, Tuscarora’s Jordan Fisher and Westfield’s James Gibson, he was blown away by what he saw.
“They created this news article from the future that had our names in the headline of the paper while playing with the JMU football team,” Brooks said. “That was just amazing to watch and when I saw it, I could see myself going there even more.”
Before departing the Harrisonburg campus, Brooks committed to the Dukes and a few hours later, Tutt, who shines at defensive back and wide receiver, followed suit, giving JMU two explosive playmakers from the defending Virginia 6A state champs.
Despite having strong sophomore and junior campaigns, offers didn’t start rolling in for Brooks and Tutt until the last couple months. Eventually, schools began to see the potential in both players, starting with Brooks, whose versatility and strength on the defensive line helped the Wildcats hold teams to just 11.3 points per game during their undefeated run to the state title.
“I think I bring a good pass rush to the defense,” Brooks said. “Talking to Coach (Antoine) Smith, who coaches the defensive line at JMU, he wants to put me at the nose tackle, on the edge and all over the line, so I’m looking forward to that.”
With Tutt, the Dukes are able to use the 5-foot-8, 170-pounder in a number of positions, including defensive back (where he intercepted four passes and earned second-team All-Met honors), wide receiver (where he caught 37 passes for 867 yards and 13 touchdowns) or kick returner.
The Wildcats are a favorite to repeat as state champs as they boast several more talented rising senior prospects, including RB/DB A.J. Turner, RB Taylor Boose, linemen Kainoa O’Conner and Justin Skule and RB/WR/DB Xavier Nickens-Yzer.