Very few in Sooner Nation were happy to hear that both Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon would depart for the NFL, but Kennedy Brooks might have been one of them.
The four-star running back from Mansfield High School joins Marcelias Sutton and Trey Sermon in the 2017 class, and all three will try to leapfrog Abdul Adams and Rodney Anderson on the depth chart. Chances are, it won’t work too well this season. But Brooks may be the guy to watch moving forward, as his frame leaves him room to grow and his talent is already undeniable.
Brooks has excellent vision and elusiveness. He can stop on a dime and has good break-away speed in the open field. Brooks isn’t a running back who craves contact like Perine, but he’ll be fine after he hits the weight room and adjusts to the physicality of the college game.
It would be helpful for Brooks to have a semester of college workouts under his belt when the season starts, and guys like Sutton will really benefit from enrolling early. Hopefully his high school support system will push him in the right direction — the last semester of high school is a distracting time, to say the least, but it looks like playing time is there for the taking for at least one of these talented incoming backs.
How does he fit in?
Oklahoma wisely decided to stock up on quality depth with the uncertainty surrounding their running back position, and it’s paying off in a big way this NSD. This spring and fall OU will, metaphorically, toss several players against a wall and see who sticks.
The Sooners have been extremely successful with both the highly touted and virtually unknown Texas running back. Brooks falls somewhere in between. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see him become the featured back by 2018 — or to slip behind Anderson, Adams and Sermon for years. We’ll know more once he hits campus, but he’s an immensely valuable asset either way.