Brooks signs letter of intent during Wednesday ceremony at Airport Arena
West Columbia, SC (James Bowers) - Airport High School’s star placekicker and punter Paxton Brooks, ranked the #8 kicker in the country for the class of 2018 by college sports recruiting website 247sports.com, will become a Vol next year. The 6’5”/170 lb. prospect signed his letter of intent with the University of Tennessee during a Wednesday morning ceremony on the Airport High School campus. Many of Brooks’ family members, teammates, teachers, and coaches were on hand to celebrate the athlete’s high school accomplishments, and express their anticipation of a great tenure at the NCAA level in the future.
Brooks had a stellar prep career with Coach Kirk Burnett’s Eagles. He led all Midlands teams in punting during the 2016 season with an average of 41.3 yards. Brooks was named to the 4-4A all region team that year as well.
Brooks’ 2017 was another successful season as he participated in the Kohl’s National Scholarship Camp over the summer. He came out of that event ranked #2 for high school football punters in the country. Brooks will also take part in the Under Armour All-America Game on January 4, 2018 in Orlando, Florida, along with a host of other blue-chip prep football players.
Brooks’ ability to kick 50 to 60-yard punts with ease caused one observer to say that the kicker has “All the tools to become a Division-1 punter.” His ability earned him multiple scholarship offers, and Brooks chose UT-Knoxville over a host of programs. His offers included ones from North Carolina State, Wake Forest, and Army. Brooks says that the “exciting energy” created by the hiring of new head coach Jeremy Pruitt was a factor in drawing him to “Big Orange Country." “There’s a renewed feeling with the staff that (Pruitt) is bringing in, it’s definitely an exciting time up there,” Brooks said.
He began playing football in eighth grade. He was mentored as a kicker by an older player who also held the same position for the Airport Eagles earlier in the decade. Brooks says that he didn’t realize his potential to kick for a Power 5 program until the summer before his junior year of high school. It was then that the young athlete began focusing his energy on developing his potential, and the hard work has paid off for 17-year-old Brooks. His chance to play football in the SEC is not something that every player can achieve. “It’s a great opportunity and a great honor to play in that conference,” Brooks said.
Brooks now becomes a part of Airport’s already prestigious football alumni. The group includes former South Carolina and NFL (Eagles, Steelers) running back Duce Staley, Clemson defensive lineman Jim Stuckey, and South Carolina offensive lineman Paul Shivers.
Brooks’ signing with Tennessee was a proud moment for the Eagle’s program and its head coach Kirk Burnett. It was also a moment for his father and mother, both educators, to enjoy their son’s accomplishments, and celebrate his success.