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Alabama freshman WR Ja’Corey Brooks catching attention on special teams

Freshman WR Ja'Corey Brooks (#7) blocks a punt for a TD versus Texas A&M
Photo by Robert Sutton of Alabama Athletics/ SEC Media Portal

A freshman wide receiver for Alabama football is earning Nick Saban’s trust on special teams.

Before players such as Julio Jones, Trent Richardson, Eddie Jackson, Reuben Foster, Mack Wilson, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cyrus Jones, and Christion Jones got opportunities on offense or defense, they proved themselves on special teams.

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Ja’Corey Brooks, a native of Miami, Fla., is following the blueprint.

He was one of four freshmen receivers in the Crimson Tide’s recent signing class, and he made one of the biggest plays versus Texas A&M. Despite a 38-41 loss, the four-star athlete blocked a punt in the third quarter that King Mwikuta recovered for a touchdown. Brooks’ effort brought life to Alabama’s sideline and its fans at Kyle Field, as the Tide cut the Aggies’ lead to 24-17.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder totaled Alabama’s second blocked punt of the year. He was a talented receiver at Booker T. Washington High School and IMG Academy. Brooks caught 99 passes for 1,281 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2019, propelling Booker T. Washington to a state championship. In his final season, he transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

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Despite him being a weapon at receiver, he’s worked primarily on special teams.

According to Coach Saban, Brooks understands the importance of playing the role.

“He has been one of the positive freshmen that have contributed on special teams,” he said Wednesday of Brooks. “A lot of other guys don’t take it seriously, but he has done an outstanding job for us on teams. He loves to play. He’s a good competitor. He just likes to play, and we need more guys to contribute. We need our younger guys to be playing special teams so our older guys, who are playing more plays in the game, don’t have to. Those guys are really good special teams players. Josh Jobe is a good special teams player, Jordan Battle is a good special teams player, Brian Robinson is a good special teams player, but they served their time. Now, they are playing a greater role. They are playing all the time, so we need other players to understand and do it.”

Brooks is carrying the torch for this group of freshmen on special teams.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith. 

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