One of the best running backs in North Texas is taking his talents north of the Red River.
Mansfield’s Kennedy Brooks will make it official on National Signing Day Wednesday when he dons an Oklahoma Sooners hat and signs on the dotted line to play for head coach Bob Stoops.
“It’s going to be an amazing moment,” Brooks said. “It’s something I’ve always waited for and dreamed about, going to a college I always wanted to go to. It’s going to be a great experience and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
Brooks has a chance to earn the starting running back spot as soon as he arrives on campus, as the Sooners will lose both Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon to the NFL draft in April. Brooks will be in the mix along with another top running back recruit, Trey Sermon, who was ranked as the 10th best running back in the country by Rivals.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Brooks said. “I’ve really thought a lot about it, having a chance to start my freshman year. I think competition will make us better. We are all going to fight for that spot.”
Brooks leaves behind a legacy that will hard to top at Mansfield. The four-star recruit had 3,522 rushing yards and 42 touchdowns during his junior year and 2,853 rushing yards and 40 touchdowns during his senior season. He topped 300 yards twice last season, including a season-high 323 against Arlington Martin. He was named the 4-6A MVP and the Class 6A Associated Press first team for the second straight year and won the 2016 Landry Award as the top high school football player in North Texas.
“What I did last year during my junior year, I had a chip on my shoulder because everyone was going to be gunning after me so that’s why I try to get better every single day,” said Brooks. “I don’t go in thinking I’m going to get 200 or 300 yards. I go in thinking just trying to win the game for my team. I would be happy winning the game if I only had 50 yards, that’s just how I am. That’s how I was raised to be.”
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The Sooners commit has the talent to succeed at the next level, but what coaches’ love is the work ethic he’s displayed during his time at Mansfield. Brooks had a dream and made sure to stay on track.
“People always tell me about doing the right thing,” Brooks said. “There’s no shortcut. There’s no cheating. You just have to work hard and be dedicated about it. Winning trophies, that stuff doesn’t matter. It’s about getting my teammates better and trying to be a better person for the program, for family, for everybody.”
Brooks has another passion, thouhg: chess. He noticed a classmate playing it one day, which sparked his interest. Brooks learned how to play afterwards and fell in love with the game.
“It’s really fun,” he said. “It makes you think. That’s what I really like about it. It’s a strategy game. You can’t just think about what I need to do, you also got to think about your players. That’s what I think about in football. You can’t just think about what’s your move, you’ve got to think about everybody. It helps me see everything that is on the field and on the board.”
So what piece on the chessboard would best represent a running back?
“The queen,” replied Brooks. “It’s able to do everything you want it to do. I use it all the time. If I lose that, I might be out of the game.”