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Brooks becomes member of Danville NFL fraternity after being drafted by Colts

As the rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft burned away, Curtis Brooks Jr. and his parents, Curtis Sr. and Sylvia, along with his sister Curtasja sat on the edge of their seats. The names kept rolling by and players kept getting their jersey’s, but Brooks’ family had yet to hear his name called and they were getting a bit antsy …

As the rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft burned away, Curtis Brooks Jr. and his parents, Curtis Sr. and Sylvia, along with his sisters Curtasja and Sheresha sat on the edge of their seats.

The names kept rolling by and players kept getting their jersey’s, but Brooks’ family had yet to hear his name called and they were getting a bit antsy.

It wasn’t that they didn’t have faith, it was they had expected to hear his named called Friday night and it was now Saturday.

That faith paid off a few hours later as Brooks Jr. received a call from Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard informing him the Colts had drafted him in the sixth round as the №216 overall pick.

“It felt really great, definitely a huge milestone in my life,” Brooks Jr. said. “I’m just very happy and blessed to be at this point.”

Being surrounded by his family, those who helped him get to this point, gave validation to the old adage, “it takes a village.”

“It was everything, me getting drafted, it’s just not me feeling like I’ve made it, but we’ve all made it,” Brooks Jr. said. “We put in long hours, whenever I hurt, they hurt, so I feel like we’ve all crossed the finish line together.”

For his dad, Curtis Sr., it was a moment he would’ve liked to see come a little sooner.

“At the time it was more anticipation because it didn’t seem like it was coming,” he said laughing. “You’ve been watching this thing for three days, it’s getting late, we’re tired, then your emotions swing back because it’s like ‘oh wow, they took him,’ and it’s exciting but at one point we were getting frustrated because it seemed like it was taking forever or it might not even happen. We were expecting Friday. We weren’t expecting it to take as long as it did.”

“We were definitely relieved and very excited,” Sylvia said laughing. “We had started to get a little discouraged but we were trusting in God and knew things would play out like he wanted them to.”

When Brooks enters the Colts’ camp in the next week-and-a-half, he’ll have a bit of a chip on his shoulder.

Brooks played a starring role in the Bearcats’ run to the college football playoff this past season, recording 57 tackles (33 solo), 12.5 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 13 starts, also earning First Team All-American Athletic Conference honors.

Despite his accolades and the fact he stands at 6-foot-2 and weighs 287 pounds, Brooks wasn’t invited to the 2022 NFL Combine.

However, three weeks after the combine, Brooks was invited to work out in front of nearly 100 scouts, GM’s and coaches at Cincinnati’s annual Pro Day and he took advantage of the opportunity. His 40-yard dash, broad jump, bench press and short shuttle time would have ranked among the Top-5 defensive tackles at the combine and his 35.5 inch vertical jump would have been 2.5 inches higher than any other player at his position.

“Everything happens for a reason and I won’t forget going into camp how they snubbed me,” he said. “There’s definitely a satisfaction out of being drafted and not being a combine draft pick especially considering there were some combine guys there that didn’t get drafted but I’m definitely blessed and glad to be here, but I definitely feel like I would’ve gone a bit earlier if I had that combine invite.”

In a bit of an ironic twist, Brooks didn’t play football his freshman and sophomore years at GW, choosing to focus on basketball instead. However, the gridiron kept calling his name and after receiving an invitation from current GW coach Nick Anderson, he decided to don the Eagles’ blue and silver.

A choice that’s now paying huge dividends.

“The decision to get back into football, I couldn’t see it working out any better for me than it has right now,” Brooks Jr. said laughing.

Curtis Sr. remembers his son’s evolution from high school to now.

“At first, when he was in high school, he just wanted a football scholarship. I said, ‘okay, let’s try to get one,’ so he did, then he went to Cincinnati, then it was to play, then it was to start, then it was to get invited to team, then it was to get drafted, so he set a goal for himself every step of the way,” he recalled. “He always sets goals for himself and he’s always accomplished what he’s set out to do. He set out to get drafted, focused on it and that goal came true for him.”

When he takes the field this fall, Brooks Jr. will join a fraternity of current NFL players from the area that includes Terrell, Tremaine and Trey Edmunds and Juan Thornhill.

Brooks Jr. understands being a member of the fraternity now means that he’s a role model for all area football players and he had a message to pass along.

“It’s possible,” he said. “You keep your focus, grind hard, work hard, anything is possible. You can reach any milestone, no milestone is unreachable, you can do it too.”

Sylvia and Curtis Sr. had messages as well.

“Believe in yourself, believe in yourself and put work into that belief. Don’t let anybody discourage you to who you know you are,” she said. “And if they do, forgive them for doing it and show them in the best way possible. It’s not going to be easy, but it will be worth it. Stay the course. You might get discouraged, but don’t quit. Just keep going. It makes it so much sweeter when you get to where you want to be.”

Curtis Sr. concluded, saying, “The thing I always told my son, the only thing we want you to do is chase your dream. Chase whatever dream you have and don’t let it die easily. If it dies, you fight it every step of the way, don’t let it die easy. Fight for your dream, chase it as long as you can. Life is short, try to accomplish what you want to accomplish.”

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VA/NC Sports. Features. Columns.

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