From the start of the 2018-2019 Penn State football season the linebacker spot needed playmakers. Two freshmen became major pieces to the depth chart.
A storyline that was spotlighted all season was the amount of freshmen players that made contributions for Penn State football. On offense, KJ Hamler and Pat Freiermuth led the passing game in most receiving categories. On defense, linebackers Micah Parsons expected to fit into the rotation, and he did, leading he team in tackles. However, freshman linebacker Ellis Brooks found his way into the second rotation at linebacker as well and made his fair share of plays.
Parsons got a lot of attention because his recruitment was well-documented and the elite production started from year one. With that said, Brooks deserves a fair amount of talk as well.
After redshirting his first year in Happy Valley, he logged 27 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and an interception. He played in every single game this season and broke out for his biggest game of the season against Illinois, where he recorded a career-high six tackles and an interception.
He made a tackle in 11 games, so he was consistent in his ability to make plays. A major aspect of linebacker’s play comes with making one-on-one tackles in space, and Brooks made plenty this year. Swing passes out of the backfield or open runs up the middle, he was there to clean up.
Before the season, VBR’s Barry Leonard talked about the former four-star likely playing time as the season loomed closer. Brooks showed his potential and talent with three tackles in the spring game. He obviously followed up with a solid first year. Even though he didn’t
His play solidified an bright future at the position group. Senior Koa Farmer is the only guy not returning to this group but the remaining players in Cam Brown, Parsons, Jan Johnson and Brooks all come back. With the chemistry they have together and production, it sets up a fantastic season on the horizon for this position group.