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Shamari Brooks shining amidst TU's recent resurgence

University of Tulsa freshman running back Shamari Brooks warming up prior to the Golden Hurricane's season opener at No. 10 Oklahoma State on August 31, 2017. (KTUL)

At this time a year ago, Shamari Brooks was on his way to winning a state championship with the Union Redskins while taking home some individual hardware with our annual Ford Award.

"We thought we had the [hidden] gem, if you will," said University of Tulsa head football coach Philip Montgomery in regards to where Brooks ranked among the in-state talent of the 2017 signing class.

Brooks may have been overlooked by other major NCAA Division-I schools for any number of reasons. And the University of Tulsa reaped the benefits. But to expect any real production from a true freshman at this level is a tall order...

"You know, I really wanted to redshirt him," Montgomery admitted during his regularly scheduled press conference Tuesday.

"But then, we lose a couple of backs early. And luckily, we had already made the decision Oklahoma State week that we were going to play him. The first game of the season couldn't have started any worse for him."

Brooks' first collegiate carry resulted in a fumble and turned over to Oklahoma State. Instead of it being an omen of a bad season or even career, it's proven to be a testament to Shamari's character when faced with adversity.

Brooks had 7 more rushes before the end of a blowout loss to the Cowboys; finishing with just 28 yards. But his production has gone up substantially since that time. Through six games, he is averaging 6.1 yards per carry in 82 rushing attempts along with 7 rushing touchdowns.

"[Shamari's] a really nice guy," said junior offensive guard Tyler Bowling. "He's always respectful, he's always having a fun time, he's always smiling. He's just a good presence to have."

"I have a couple classes with him," senior defensive end Jeremy Smith chimed in. "He's a good guy, he's always in a good mood and stuff. He's always paying attention and all."

So when it comes to Golden Hurricane football, continue to expect big things from Shamari Brooks. TU's next game is Saturday at 11:00 a.m. central time against UConn in East Hartford, CT. The game will be nationally televised on ESPNU.

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