HALLETTSVILLE – Jonathon Brooks became one of the premier running backs in the state during his junior season.

But Brooks insists there were no secrets to his success.

“I just look for holes,” Brooks said. “Once I see one, I just go for it.”

Brooks’ philosophy paid off for 2,144 rushing yards and 38 touchdowns last season.

In the process, he helped lead Hallettsville to an 11-3 record, a Class 3A, Division I quarterfinal appearance, was selected as a Built Ford Tough Player of the Week, earned all-state honors, and made a commitment to play at the University of Texas.

“It’s just something that came,” Brooks said. “I really had good linemen last year and I was able to see what I could do.”

Hallettsville coach Tommy Psencik had an idea that Brooks would get the opportunity to play at the next level after watching him in junior high.

“When he was a freshman, I kind of knew that he had some special talents coming out of junior high,” Psencik said. “I just knew that if he grew like he did that he would have a chance to play. I knew he’d have a chance to play D-I somewhere. He actually took the next step and played at a level where the big dogs were looking at him.”

Brooks played on offense, defense, returned kicks and punted for the Brahmas, who bounced back from a 3-7 season in 2018.

“My sophomore year, we had a pretty bad year and I didn’t think I could go to the next level,” he said. “Then, this last year, I guess I really proved a lot.”

The 6-foot-1 Brooks has gotten bigger and stronger and will play this season at around 195 pounds, up nearly 15 pounds from last season.

“He has gained weight and he’s gained a lot of strength,” Psencik said. “One of his biggest improvements has been in the squat as far as lifting weights. His leg strength has really improved as far as range of motion.”

But Psencik has been more impressed by the responsibility Brooks has taken on with his teammates.

“The biggest change in Jonathon has been his maturity, his work habits and his leadership skills,” Psencik said. “That’s where I’m seeing the biggest changes in him over the last two years.”

Brooks announced his commitment to Texas in May and his done his best not to let the COVID-19 pandemic interfere with his preparation for this season.

“I’m just busting my tail every day so if we do get a season, I’ll be in shape and ready to play,” he said. “I’m just following every protocol.”

Brooks, who recently turned 17, plans to sign with the Longhorns in December and hopes to graduate early so he can enroll at Texas in the spring.

The pandemic has kept Brooks from taking his official visit to Austin. But he has kept in touch with the coaches and intends to follow their advice in his senior season.

“They just told me to keep doing what I’m doing,” he said. “I need to put a lot more muscle on and start eating right.”

Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or by email at mforman@vicad.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mikeforman21

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Mike Forman is the sports editor of the Victoria Advocate. He has worked at the Advocate since 1982. He has a bachelor's degree from SMU and a master's degree from UCLA.

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