Who would have thought that Deion Sanders accepting the Colorado head coaching job would have helped lead to a Pitt target decommitting from Kent State? No one?
Kent State head coach Sean Lewis accepted the Colorado offensive coordinator position, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel. And Cruce Brookins, a 2023 three-star athlete from Steel Valley in Pittsburgh, had been committed to Kent State since June.
Upon the news of Lewis leaving Kent State for Colorado reached social media, Brookins expressed his confusion on Twitter. Two hours later, he decommitted from Kent State.
Brookins (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) committed to Kent State originally over offers from Akron, Fordham, North Carolina A&T and West Virginia. In the days before decommitting from Kent State, he picked up offers from Cincinnati, Pitt and Syracuse.
Pitt offered Brookins a week ago, receiving an offer from safeties coach Cory Sanders. Sanders loved Brookins’ junior film, according to Brookins, but he thought his senior film was even more amazing.
“It feels great,” Brookins told PSN. “It feels great to get an offer from my hometown.”
Brookins completed 35-of-69 passing attempts for 711 yards with seven touchdowns, but a majority of his damage came on the ground, where he added 1,625 yards and 33 touchdowns on just 123 carries. In 11 games this season on the way to a WPAL Class-2A title.
And he added 30 tackles (16 solo), six interceptions and six pass breakups on defense — and added a punt return touchdown for good measure.
Even with 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 has landed top WPIAL talent in the past, including aforementioned players like Hamlin and Ford — who played at Steel Valley. A visit to Pitt isn’t exactly traveling far, but it is an important step in building bonds.
Brookins confirmed to PSN that he has a visit planned for Dec. 16, just under a week before National Signing Day. It would be a great experience to play for his hometown school, he said.
He also said that a lot of schools, without naming any names, have been showing a lot of interest. But aside from Pitt, he doesn’t have any visits planned in the future.
247Sports hasn’t rated Brookins yet. On3 rates him as the 58th-ranked safety and 11th-ranked recruit in Pennsylvania. Rivals gives him a 5.5 Rivals Rating — 27th-ranked recruit from Pennsylvania.
Pitt currently holds verbal commitments from Shadarian Harrison (Lakeland, Florida) and Jesse Anderson (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) when it comes to 2023 defensive backs.