ShareThis Page
Texas receiver commits to Panthers |

Texas receiver commits to Panthers

Kevin Gorman
| Thursday, June 6, 2002 12:00 a.m

Pitt used a West Coast connection to lure a Texas recruit and enhance its reputation as Wide Receiver U.

The Panthers landed an early commitment from Donald Brooks of Galveston O’Connell High School. The 6-foot-4, 185-pounder runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds and is considered a big target with breakaway speed.

It didn’t hurt the Panthers that O’Connell coach, Dimitri Gazelas, played strong safety at Pacific University under Pitt coach Walt Harris and defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads. Harris was his head coach in 1991-92, and Rhoads his position coach in ’92-93.

They used their long-standing relationship with Gazelas to get a head start on Brooks.

“I told them I thought I had somebody,” said Gazelas, who has since had inquiries from the likes of Oklahoma and Texas A&M about Brooks. “I showed them tape before anybody else. Now everybody’s storming down the doors for him.”

Brooks was a Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) Class 3A first-team all-state selection after catching 25 passes for 626 yards — an average of 25 yards per catch — and eight touchdowns as a junior.

Not only does he have great size, but Brooks also is considered a deep threat. Of his eight touchdown catches last season, five were of 45 yards or longer. He had touchdown grabs of 53, 61, 59 and 52 yards and also had an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown.

“He’s very strong for his height,” Gazelas said. “He’s a slender type but well put-together. He has a beautiful gait. After the first two steps, he’s gone. He’s caught 2-yard hitches and gone 50 yards, and he’s ran fades for 50 yards. Either way, doesn’t matter.”

Brooks attended Galveston Ball High School his freshman and sophomore years, but didn’t play football. He concentrated instead on basketball, where Gazelas said he can perform a 360-degree dunk from a standing position beneath the basket.

“I think I know talent, and I think the sky’s the limit for him,” Gazelas said. “He’s raw. I still have to teach him how to run routes. You don’t find too many that’s 6-4 that can move. One thing he has is work ethic. There’s no telling what he can do.”

Brooks joins Kiski Area linebacker Chris McKillop (6-4, 232), who committed to Pitt on May 24, as the Panthers’ early commitments from the Class of 2003. Brooks is the second player from Texas that Rhoads has landed. The Panthers made headway into the Lone Star State by signing linebacker Azzie Beagnyam from Houston Clear Lake in February.

Brooks, however, has never visited Pittsburgh and chose the Panthers without seeing their Oakland campus or South Side facilities. Gazelas said that Brooks is considering attending Pitt’s skills camp for two days later this month, where he can get a chance to work with Panthers coaches individually and see their wide-open offense in action.

“That’s the main reason he chose Pitt, probably the most attractive part about it,” Gazelas said of the Panthers’ pass-oriented offense. “He’s going to get some other offers. We’d be naïve not to think so. It’s just a matter of how much they sell their school and how much he enjoys his visit.”

Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review sports columnist. You can contact Kevin by email at or via Twitter .

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.