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National Signing Day 2017: Welcome to Penn State, Ellis Brooks

Ellis Brooks chose the Nittany Lions over offers from Maryland, LSU, Oregon, and Northwestern.

247Sports: Ryan Callahan

The culmination of the recruiting season is here, as National Signing Day 2017 is finally upon it. Here at Black Shoe Diaries, we’ll have coverage throughout the day of Penn State’s recruiting class, taking a player-by-player look at each member of the class, and taking a bigger picture look at the class as a whole. Thanks for stopping by, and if you aren’t already following, please follow @BSDTweet on Twitter for more recruiting news and notes.

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The Nittany Lions were set to roll with Dylan Rivers at inside linebacker, but when Rivers flipped his verbal to Virginia Tech just over a week before National Signing Day, Penn State was left without a middle linebacker in the 2017 class. James Franklin and Brent Pry were then quick to offer Ellis Brooks, who ended up taking his final official visit to Happy Valley, and followed up his visit with a commitment to the Nittany Lions.


Position High School Height/Weight 247Composite Rank Positional Rank
Position High School Height/Weight 247Composite Rank Positional Rank
Inside linebacker Richmond, VA (Benedictine) 6-foot-2, 233 pounds Four-star (0.9009) No. 269 overall, No. 13 ILB, No. 10 player in VA


Scouting Report

We’ve talked about Brooks quite a bit in the last few days, so the story on him should be pretty well known. He’s has good size for a linebacker, standing somewhere between 6-foot-1 and 6-foot-2, and checking in over 230 pounds. He excels in the middle of the defense, and when he’s able to attack, whether that’s on short yardage situations or blitzes. He doesn’t have the sideline-to-sideline range or the versatility to ideally play outside linebacker, but he’s a better athlete than given credit for, and a perfect fit for the Mike linebacker spot.


While I’m sure Penn State will see if Brooks can help out at the Will or Sam in 2017, the middle of the defense will be Brooks’ longterm home. The Nittany Lions have both of their Mike linebackers — Jason Cabinda and backup Brandon Smith — returning next season, but with both of those guys being seniors, Penn State will want to get Brooks onto field to gain some experience. Add in that he’s physically ready to contribute, and it would be quite surprising if Brooks didn’t play next year.