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  • John Macon Gillespie

Brooks Lives To Compete



After losing their opening game against eventual 4A state champion Noxubee County, the Starkville Yellowjackets would win 14 consecutive games and claim the 6A crown.

However, many contributors will move on and the jackets will need new playmakers to step forward next season. It only helps that they have a strong 2018 class coming up. Sophomore defensive back Natrone Brooks has already proven he can make plays.

Brooks played in all 15 games last season and finished the year with 41 tackles, 13 pass deflections and two interceptions. Both of his picks came against Clinton, one in the regular season game, with the other coming when they faced the arrows in the first round of the playoffs. He returned the interception for a touchdown in the regular season matchup.

“It felt good to be successful my sophomore year. Coach just used to always say be ready to step up because you never know when your opportunity will be. My chance came and I stepped up and made big plays for the team,” Brooks told SES Mississippi.

“It helped to have a receiver like AJ Brown to compete with at practice to make me better but at the beginning of the season the team had a goal to win the state championship. So we came to practice every day working hard, competing and in the end, we achieved our goal”

In addition to Brown, Brooks said many of the departing seniors taught him a lot about what it takes to be in the position they were.

“I learned how to be a leader from them. They used to always push us to work hard in the weight room and to compete at practice,” Brooks said. “So we’re going to have to help the lower class to always go hard in the weight room and don’t cheat themselves and just come out and compete.”

Speaking of competing on the field, Brooks will be joining Willie Gay, Ben Owens and more of his teammates in doing that when they attend the Fortius Project combine at ICC on April 30th.

“It excites me because some of the best are going to be there and I’m very competitive. So I just look forward to coming out to compete, to show my talent and to get better,” Brooks explained.

Brooks noted that, despite being a defensive back, it is his hands and his ability to catch the ball will be what impresses most about. Additionally he feels his footwork is also one of his brightest qualities.

For the rest of the offseason he has his sights set on improving his ability to play off of receivers. Of course, he also wants to get bigger and faster.

“I’m looking forward to just putting in extra work,” he said.

**Photo by Thomas Brown.


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