USC opens fall camp next week, and if all goes well for WR Jalen Brooks (6-3 190) of Harrisburg, NC, he’ll be running routes with the Gamecocks. Brooks, who played at Wingate University the last two seasons, announced a commitment to the Gamecocks Saturday morning. He was offered by Will Muschamp Friday night. Duke and North Carolina A&T were two others he considered.
Brooks is actually coming to Columbia from Tarleton State in Texas. He transferred there in January, but the pandemic and family issues led him into the NCAA Transfer Portal. His former high school coach, Jason Seidel, who is now at Blythewood, made the contact with USC for him and receivers coach Joe Cox took it from there, contacting him about two and a half weeks ago.
“He loves the fact that I was able to play slot and outside receiver,” Brooks said. “I’m very good at learning offenses. Even when I went to Tarleton State, I learned that whole offense in a week. I’m able to motion, able to play slot and play outside receiver, and he loves that, and he’s seen that on my film. He’s like, you’re going to fit into this offense perfectly and we are going to get you the ball.”
Brooks said his first contact with Muschamp was Friday night when he gave him the offer. And Muschamp was more than happy to welcome him to the Gamecock family.
“He’s excited,” Brooks said. “He’s like, I’m one heck of a ballplayer. He loves my games he loves that I’m a playmaker. He’s excited.”
Last season Brooks caught 35 passes for 751 yards and 6 touchdowns, and he was named to the first team of the All-SAC Team. He had 15 catches for 247 yards and 3 touchdowns as a freshman in 2018. But Brooks and Seidel always felt he had more talent than a D-2 level player, so he made the decision to head west to Tarleton. And now he’s in the SEC. Brooks hopes he can be an example for other players coming out of high school who are not on the recruiting radar of major programs.
“It means the world to me, but it’s also going to inspire other people that anything is possible,” Brooks said. “I did not plan on staying at Wingate University all four years. I told Coach Seidel that back in high school when I first committed because we both knew I was under recruited. I was going to aim big. I talked to South Carolina when I first got my release (from Wingate), but I had to wait, and I didn’t have that amount of time, so I committed to Tarleton State because I was going to be on a fullride right away. But right now, being on this level, it just opened up my eyes and showed me all the hard work I put in is finally paying off. I just hope I’m just being an inspiration to somebody, I’m motivating somebody.”
Now that he is set with USC, Brooks’ immediate future is in the hands of the NCAA. He has filed a waiver seeking eligibility for this coming season. If he enrolls this fall, he likely will count against the 2021 class, meaning 19 spots in that class will be taken, five by receivers.