Can Ja’Corey Brooks Emerge as a Top Target
With three of Alabama’s top four pass catchers from a year ago off to the NFL, the Crimson Tide will rely on a new group of wideouts in 2022. Nick Saban landed Jermaine Burton and Tyler Harrell via the transfer, but one player who could emerge as a top target for Bryce Young is sophomore Ja’Corey Brooks.
Brooks was a 5-star prospect and the No. 27 overall recruit in the 2021 recruiting class coming out of IMG Academy (Florida) per the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
He appeared in all 15 games this past season, working primarily on special teams and as a reserve on offense. Brooks blocked a punt in the third quarter of a game against Texas A&M that was returned for a touchdown. He began earning the trust of the Alabama coaching staff through his energy and effort on special teams.
The Miami, Fla. native caught his first career pass in the Tide’s tenth game of the season and another one the following week. Brooks earned significant playing time late in the year against Auburn because of an ejection to Jameson Williams in the second quarter. He came up big during Alabama’s final possession, catching two passes for 49 yards, including the game-tying touchdown with 24 seconds remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime.
He earned the start in Alabama’s semifinal matchup against Cincinnati in the College Football Playoff because of an injury to John Metchie. Brooks led all Alabama wideouts with 66 yards across four catches, including a 44-yard touchdown late in the first half. Brooks reeled in another six catches for 47 yards in the national championship game. He finished the season with 15 receptions for 192 yards and two touchdowns.
Brooks didn’t participate in any of spring practice due to an injury, but he remains one of the favorites to start for the Crimson Tide in the fall.
In recent memory, there have been a number of Alabama wide receivers that exploded as sophomores. Jerry Jeudy caught 14 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman. The following year he caught 68 passes for 1,315 yards and 14 touchdowns, won the Biletnikoff Award and was selected as a first-team All-American.
DeVonta Smith went from hauling in eight receptions for 160 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman to 42 receptions for 693 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore. John Metchie caught just four passes for 23 yards in his freshman campaign and then 55 passes for 916 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore.
At 6-foot-2 and 196 pounds, Brooks possesses great size and length. He doesn’t have blazing speed, but he does have solid game speed. Brooks has big game experience and shown the ability to come up big for Young in key spots.
Another year on campus can prove to be vital for Brooks as he enters the 2022 season.