One of the best running backs in the area is taking his talents north of the Red River.
Mansfield’s Kennedy Brooks is making it official on Wednesday during National Signing Day. He will put on the Oklahoma Sooners hat and sign on the dotted line to play for head coach Bob Stoops in Norman, something he’s always wanted to do.
“It’s going to be an amazing moment,” said Brooks. “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.”
Interesting enough, Brooks has a chance to earn the starting running back spot this season once he arrives on campus. The Sooners will lose both Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon to the NFL draft in April, so Brooks will be in the mix along with another top running back recruit, Trey Sermon. The Marietta (GA) Sprayberry standout was ranked as the 10th best running back in the country by Rivals, Brooks was ranked 12th.
“It’s a great opportunity,” said Brooks. “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 yards rushing and 42 touchdowns during his junior year. He followed that up with 2,853 yards rushing and 40 touchdowns during his senior season last year, averaging 247 yards-per-game. Brooks ran for over 300 yards twice during the regular 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. Brooks also 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.”
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,” said Brooks. “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.”
However, Brooks has another passion, 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,” said Brooks. “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.”