Cruce Brookins is currently committed to Kent State, but he pledged himself back in August. Back before he led Steel Valley High to a WPIAL championship this season.
With the Steel Valley supporters parked at Acrisure Stadium in the cold on Friday, Brookins racked up 183 yards and three touchdowns on the ground to lead the Ironmen to a 34-14 WPIAL 2A title.
It was a performance reminiscent of former Steel Valley and Pitt star Paris Ford during his days at the scholastic level, and Pitt must’ve thought so too.
Brookins picked up an official offer from Cory Sanders and Pitt Tuesday evening.
— Cruce Brookins (@BrookinsCruce) November 30, 2022
Brookins committed to Kent State on Aug. 5, when his offers included Akron, West Virginia, Fordham and North Carolina A&T, but he picked up an offer from Cincinnati earlier this month.
And with the Pitt offer, it’s expected that the 6-foot-2, 180-pound athlete’s recruiting process is about ready to blow up with just under a month until National Singing Day.
However, as unbeaten Steel Valley prepares for a state playoff run, starting this week against local Westinghouse, Brookins’ opportunities for visits will be limited.
Brookins has completed 35-of-69 passing attempts for 711 yards with seven touchdowns, but a majority of his damage has come on the ground, where he’s added 1,625 yards and 33 touchdowns on just 123 carries.
And he’s added 30 tackles (16 solo), six interceptions and six pass breakups on defense — and added a punt return touchdown for good measure.
And despite the obvious lure of Brookins’ stats this season, a local talent evaluator sees the comparisons between Brookins and some of the elite defensive back talent to come out of Pittsburgh in recent years.
“He, physically, is bigger than Damar Hamlin, Kenny Robinson, Paris Ford. At this stage, his approach to football is like a professional. He understands coverages, he can bait the quarterback — he knows when a bubble screen is coming. He’s a Power Five guy.”
Pitt’s need for a defensive back is also as high as it’s ever been. With Brice Pollock’s decommitment Tuesday, a player like Brookins will likely be a high priority for Pitt’s staff over the next month.
Pitt’s 2023 class currently holds commitments from three-star defensive backs Shadarian Harrison (Lakeland, Florida) and Jesse Anderson (Fort Lauderdale, Florida).