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2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview: C.C. Brooks, DL/FB, North Park University

C.C. Brooks
C.C. Brooks the versatile defensive lineman and fullback of North Park University recently sat down with NFL Draft Diamonds writer Jimmy Williams.
  • Name: C.C. Brooks
  • Height: 6’1
  • Weight: 260
  • Position: DT, FB
  • College: North Park University
  • Twitter: @C__2x

Tell us about your university/college. Did you participate in any other activities or campus organizations other than football?

I recently enrolled at North Park in the spring of January 2020. The experience so far has been amazing. The adjustment to the culture and environment here makes me feel at home and comfortable. I’ve only been here a semester, but I am a part of the leadership council for the football team here at North Park. That also has been another amazing experience as well as representing my teammates and coaches. North Park University has shown me nothing but love and support since the day I got here, and I can not wait to represent them well for my last year this upcoming fall.

How did you end up at North Park University?

One of the former coaches reached out to me once I was leaving my last university to seek better opportunities to reach the next level. The current head coach (Coach Rooker) made sure that I was going to play for him by giving me a call every other day and checking up on me periodically. He believes in my leadership, talents, and playmaking skills I can bring to the program. Coach Rooker and I have the same vision for this program and that’s to become successful young men who want to win badly and shock teams throughout the season.

What do your teammates say is your best quality?

My teammates would say my best quality is my IQ, strength, and quickness. My determination is very strong during practice and games.

What kind of role do you see yourself in on the team? What scheme and/or position suits your skill set?

I can see myself as a starter, the voice, and also the game-changer. I can fit in any defensive scheme playing anywhere on the defensive line (preferably interior). You can sometimes drop me in certain packages that require coverage skills (3 man fronts preferably). Fullback as well, I have the ability to run routes, run the ball, and set blocks as well to get the run game going.

Who is the best player you have ever played against in college?

This is a good question because I feel as if I will always be the best player once I step in between the white lines during games and practice. But one player I will give credit too is Bubba Jenkins from the 2018 Morningside Football team. 

Which one of your teammates impresses you the most?

So far all of my teammates have impressed me with the way things have been, especially with this whole Covid-19 situation. We have been in contact with each other sending each other workout videos to make sure we won’t miss a step once the summer camp rolls in. If it had to be one player, in particular, has to be our running back, AJ Harris. He’s been working out with me the past week, and you can tell he’s hungry to be a dominant player. 

Describe a time in your life when you were able to overcome a struggle.

Back in August of 2018, I had my first ever serious injury that had to require a surgical procedure. I tore my right ACL. Being under all of that medication was no fun. Rehabilitation for that has to be one of the worst experiences ever. But going through that process helped me realize how much I love football and how I can play with anyone on the pro level. My family and friends played a big part in that process in helping me make a big comeback to become one of the most talented dominant forces at the small school level. North Park also has done a great job of working with me to stay healthy and become 100 times better.

What is something that you are most proud of? What would you say is your biggest achievement?

In high school, I enjoyed being the underdog, but I outplayed everyone when I was at Thornton Township. I captured all-area and all-conference honors there. My first two years at Graceland, I captured 2nd team All conference HAAC (2015) and Honorable mention (2016), USA Today Rookie All American, Homecoming MVP, Defensive Lineman of the Year for my team (2x), achieving my first ever football ring by winning conference time at Saint Xavier (2017) and again in 2018 with me out for the season. My biggest accomplishment would have to be overcoming the injury. It takes a strong mind to just keep pushing to get back to where you left off or even to become 100 times better than what you originally were in skill.

Check out NFL Draft Diamonds 2021 NFL Small School Rankings

Describe one of the most memorable plays of your collegiate career.

The fumble return against Grand View, that was a game-changer. We needed the ball back to have the game-winning drive and I set that up when the center fumbled the snap and I got all the way down to the red zone. 

If you didn’t play football, what other sport would you play? 

I would definitely play basketball. I used to be crazy in love with basketball, knowing all of the stats of the best players in the NBA and wanting to be just like Kobe Bryant with the killer mentality he had. From having all the jerseys and shoes of the players, I would definitely try to pursue a pro career in that other than football. but football is where it’s at and will permanently be that way. 

What was your major/minor? Other than football, what would be your dream job?

I will be graduating this upcoming December with my B.A. in psychology. My dream job will always be to play in the NFL. I have a strong passion to be a counselor or therapist to all individuals in need of guidance in stressful situations. I want to be the one person people can come to talk to when things get tough and they don’t have a clue on how to handle their situation. I have a strong passion for helping out younger adolescents with any life issue they will come across. I was once in their shoes and didn’t really have that many resources. I want to be the main resource to help kids stay on a positive path to being successful.

What have you been working on in the off-season?

One of my main focuses right now is staying sharp with my techniques. Proper techniques have always been key to me. I also have been staying on top of my cardio. I never want to be taken off the field as every-down matters as well as every play. The playbook had also been a key thing this offseason because I am a new face in the program. 

Do you have a favorite athlete or professional team? Is there a player that you model your game after?

My favorite athletes are Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose. But the one person I model my game after is Aaron Donald. I often draw comparisons a lot to his quickness, abilities to defeat double and triple teams, timing off the ball of the snap, strength, hustle, and leadership skills. He doesn’t quit on any play and hustle to wherever the ball is. He also has the physique and ability to play linebacker and that’s how I want to be. Also, my ability to stop the run and get to the quarterback is something to watch out for.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies? Do you have any secret talents?

Right now in my spare time, I currently work 40 hour weeks alongside being a family man. I sometimes play video games but I devote most of my time in the weight room and fieldwork. Watch film on myself and future teams for the upcoming season to get acclimated with to be ready when the time comes.

Why do you play football?

I play football because this can be my golden ticket to take care of my loved ones. I have the passion as Ray Lewis did during his playing days. Over the years I have become more and more in love with the game as I feel I can play forever till the wheels fall off. I play because this is where I put my all into when it comes to just me and who I am. This is where I show my emotion and passion for it. I never cared about the notoriety and attention that it brings. This is where I show I’m the best at a day in and day out. Put smiles on people’s faces to show them I have a plan on what I want to do with my life. My brother, cousin, and late father put me into the sport and I just want to make them proud as well as the ones that are no longer here with me today. 

Who or what motivates you the most?

What motivates me the most is the ones I had in my life that turned their backs on me, the ones that lost their belief in me and felt it was best to just step away from me when I needed them the most. My family and friends for being so strong with me and supportive from the day I was brought home from the hospital. The ones I lost over the years as I know there will be watching from above instead in my physical presence. My path to the 2021 NFL Draft, I know I can very well easily be one of the best small schoolers coming out. For all the division one programs that showed interest but didn’t take the risk on me as well as for the others who didn’t believe I can play at the big-time level. Lastly, turning North Park into a winning program, they haven’t had a winning football season in 50 plus years and My determination and game-changing skills will help remove the losing curse from this program. 

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