September 10, 2009 11:07:00 AM
Mississippi College coach Norman Joseph promises his players if they stay in the program he''ll find a place for them to play.
Demarcus Brooks is a believer.
Brooks, a 2004 graduate of West Lowndes High School, has found a home on the offensive line as a his senior at Mississippi College.
Brooks, a 6-foot-8, 240-pounder, was recruited as a defensive lineman, but he started at right tackle in Mississippi College''s season opener against Millsaps.
Brooks was recruited as a defensive end out of East Mississippi Community College before playing sparingly as a backup at tight end and tackle for two years at Mississippi College.
"He wants to get on the field, and he is getting on the field," Joseph said. "He''s worked himself and he''s a product of our program. In Demarcus'' case, it was a trial and error at a couple of spots, but now he''s found a home, and he''s playing very well for us."
Brooks was instrumental in helping Mississippi College outlast Millsaps 47-44 in double overtime.
Brooks said he doesn''t care where he plays as long as he is on the field, especially for his senior season. He was willing to move to the offensive line if it meant he was going to get to play and he could help the team.
"When I transferred in, I was on defense for a little while," Brooks said. "I was moved by the head coach to tight end and then was moved from tight end to right tackle. He was trying to get me playing time, and I always want to do what''s best for the team."
Brooks'' willingness to put the team first is one of the qualities Joseph likes about him.
Brooks worked in the offseason to go from a seldom used backup to a starter.
"He is a team player 100 percent," Joseph said. "He worked himself. It didn''t come easily because he had to change all of his fundamentals. But he''s a worker. He''s got a great attitude. He willed himself and worked himself into a situation to be a starter."
Brooks credits the work he did in the offseason for helping him earn a starting position.
"I just had to get into shape and come into camp in shape," Brooks said. "In the spring I was already getting reps with the first group. I was making progress and it was all about coming back in the summer and just keep doing what I was doing. I just had to hold that spot once I got there."
After some experimenting, Joseph believes Brooks is where he belongs.
"When Demarcus came here he had played defensive end at East Mississippi," Joseph said. "We had projected him to play the same position here with his tall frame. But as we got into it we realized he was better suited for offense. ... He''s really found a home at offensive tackle, where he''s really suited for that position."
Joseph said Brooks had to adjust to the move, but he gives the Choctaws a dominating, physical presence up front.
"He''s not as heavy as a lot of offensive tackles, but he''s got such a wide and long wing span with his arms," Joseph said. "He can hold off the defense and keep them away from our quarterback. He''s done a good job there and he''s really improved as a run blocker. Moving from defensive end, where he''s used to smacking people around, to the offensive line is a totally different technique and he''s worked real hard in that area."
Brooks is majoring in kinesiology and will graduate from Mississippi College next summer.
He is interested in becoming a personal trainer or strength and conditioning coach after he graduates.
Joseph said Brooks applies himself in the classroom as much as he does on the football field.
"I cannot tell you how many professors have called me, telling me about Demarcus Brooks and what a fine young man he is and I can put as many Demarcus Brooks in their classroom as possible," Joseph said. "He has made a huge impact on this campus. He''s just the epitome of the student-athlete that you like to have."
EBONIE BROOKS commented at 9/10/2009 7:15:00 PM:
I CAN REALLY SAY THAT THIS IS A BLESSING. I'VE SEEN MY BROTHER ,DEMARCUS BROOKS WORK VERY HARD TO GET WHERE HE IS TODAY. I THANK COACH JOSEPH FOR HELPING AND GIVING HIM A CHANCE TO REALLY SHOW HIS HARD WORK THAT HE HAS BEEN WORKING TOWARDS. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK MARCUS, REMEMBER TO PUT GOD FIRST AND HE'LL TAKE CARE OF THE REST AND YOUR FAMILY WILL ALWAYS BE SUPPORTIVE ....LOVE YOU ,YOUR BABY SISTER EBONIE AND FAMILY