PORTLAND – Mark Brooks didn’t just leave Northwestern University’s football camp last June a better player. The 6-foot-7, 260-pound offensive tackle from Portland High School exited Evanston with interest from his future school.
Brooks, a two-star recruit according to 247Sports, left the Wildcats’ camp on a Friday night. By the following Tuesday, he was all in on Western Michigan.
“Coach (Brian) Callahan found me at the Northwestern football camp and asked me to come to their camp,” Brooks said. “They showed me around the school before camp, and then coach (P.J.) Fleck offered me after camp. And I accepted that night.
“They think I have good potential to play for them and maybe play in the NFL,” he said. “I would like that.”
Brooks stood by last summer’s verbal commitment, despite offers from Eastern Michigan and Illinois State. On Wednesday morning, he signed his National Letter of Intent to play for the Broncos.
The senior tackle anchored the offensive line for the ground-and-pound Raiders, who were 10-0 last season before losing to Lansing Catholic in the district championship.
“Everybody knew where we were running the football,” Portland coach John Novara said. “He did a great job for us on both sides of the ball, both offensively and defensively, but I think he’s got a high ceiling. I know he can put a lot of weight on his frame, and we fully expect him to be a 300-pounder pretty easy.
“He was a quarterback for us the first two years in the program and then we moved him to the offensive line. He’s got a pretty good skill set. I still think he’s got a lot more to improve.”
Brooks is the first player from the program to play Division I football since Jake Silas (Buffalo) in 2009. Brooks said he was most intrigued by WMU’s facilities and “its improving team.”
According to Rivals.com, the Broncos have the 67th-best recruiting class in 2016, the highest in the Mid-American Conference.
“I’m happy with Western,” Brooks added. “I’m happy to be done (with the process) so I don’t have to worry about anyone coming to see me. My decision is made. I like it, and I expect to get better and win a couple of MAC championships.”
Portland linebacker Jalon Simpson also put pen to paper on National Signing Day, signing on to play at Olivet Nazarene (NAIA).
Contact James L. Edwards III at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JLEdwardsIII.