Even though he finished his Clemson career with just 115 rushing attempts, 18 receptions and 809 all-purpose yards, former Tigers running back Zac Brooks is drawing interest from multiple teams ahead of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Brooks had a head-turning performance last week at Clemson’s pro day, where he was timed as fast as 4.32 in the 40-yard dash, recorded a 36-inch vertical jump and 10-foot-9 broad jump, lifted 225 pounds 18 times in the bench press and was timed at 4.38 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle, 11.32 seconds in the 60-yard shuttle and between 6.99 to 7.11 seconds in the three-cone drill.
Had Brooks been invited to this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, and been able to put up those numbers in Indianapolis, he would have ranked within the top five running backs in the 40, broad jump and the 60-yard shuttle. He would have finished no worse than 15th among running backs in any drill.
With those numbers, Brooks feels as though he proved himself to be a “complete athlete.” Still, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound running back left pro day feeling as though he could have done better.
“I dropped one pass. … I really wish I could get that pass back,” Brooks said. “Other than that, I wish I had a better L-drill time, definitely, and you always wish you could get a faster 40 time.”
While Brooks was a career backup at Clemson, that was more a result of circumstance than any shortcoming.
Brooks was in line to be the Tigers’ starting running back in 2014 until he suffered a season-ending foot injury in fall camp. That ultimately led to then-redshirt freshman Wayne Gallman emerging as Clemson’s feature back, and left Brooks to be Gallman’s backup as Gallman became one of the ACC’s top running backs in 2015.
Having redshirted in 2014, Brooks could have opted to return to Clemson for one more season on a fifth year of eligibility. Knowing he would likely be stuck behind Gallman on the depth chart again, Brooks decided it was time to move on.
“I didn’t want to go back (to) being a No. 2 back when I feel like I’m capable of playing in the NFL,” said Brooks, who graduated from Clemson in December with a degree in Sociology.
A wide receiver for part of his career at Jonesboro High in Jonesboro, Ark., Brooks worked out as both a running back and wide receiver at pro day.
“I really think I was able to get that across (at pro day) that I can both catch the ball and I have great skills coming out of the backfield,” Brooks said.
During pro day, Brooks spent time meeting with representatives from the Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks. He already had a visit to Seattle scheduled for April, and now that he has had an opportunity to work out in front of NFL scouts, there could be more to come.