Penn State lost a 4-star linebacker from Virginia 10 days before National Signing Day. But the Nittany Lions moved quickly, and about 140 miles to the south, found a replacement.
Ellis Brooks, a 4-star linebacker from Richmond, Va., committed Monday to Penn State after a bit of a whirlwind courtship.
— Ellis Brooks (@EllisBrooks35) January 30, 2017
Penn State officially offered Brooks a scholarship on Jan. 22. Coach James Franklin and defensive coordinator Brent Pry visited Brooks at his home in Virginia three days later, and he was in State College for an official visit this weekend.
Jan. 22 was also the day Penn State lost 4-star linebacker Dylan Rivers, a longtime commit from Stephens City, Va. Rivers changed his mind and flipped to Virginia Tech.
Brooks is rated the No. 13 inside linebacker in the nation by the 247Sports composite and the No. 10 player in the state of Virginia. Rivers is the No. 13 outside linebacker in the country and the No. 8 player in Virginia.
Brooks chose Penn State after also taking official visits to Oregon, LSU, Northwestern and Maryland. Oregon, LSU and UCLA also came in late with offers for Brooks.
The Terps had long been the favorite for Brooks before the extra, late attention from the Nittany Lions. LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda visited Brooks’ home just before he went to State College, according to Scout.com.
When Brooks tweeted about his offer from Penn State, he included a photo of Nittany Lions legend LaVar Arrington. That was probably a sign.
Brooks was selected to play in the Under Armour All-America Game, and Arrington was one of his coaches during practices leading up to the game Jan. 1, 2017.
“I can already tell a difference in my game in three days,” Brooks told Eric Kolenich of the Richmond Times-Dispatch about working with Arrington. “It’s been a real confidence booster. … It’s reassuring that I know what I’m capable of.”
Brooks joins Brelin Faison-Walden as linebackers in the 2017 recruiting class. Brailyn Franklin, an athlete from Haymarket, Va., could also end up at the position. Adding Brooks gives Penn State 19 commitments, including 10 4-star prospects.
Penn State began the day 15th in the 247Sports composite team rankings. Brooks will nudge the Nittany Lions ahead of Miami into 14th, but the Hurricanes are expected to add up to several more players by signing day and will move back up the rankings.