Mic’hael Brooks is used to sticking out in a crowd.
The 6-foot-3 defensive end stands a few inches taller than most, making him an easily recognizable figure in any room.
Throw in the fact he’s a former member of the National Football League and Canadian League, not to mention a Super Bowl XLVIII champion, earns him a little extra recognition.
Luckily for Brooks, he has the charisma to handle the attention and his reaction to the recognition he received Friday night during Bartlett Yancey football’s home contest against Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy was the proof in the pudding.
The defensive end has played for the Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks — where he won his title — and for the BC Lions, Saskatchewan Roughriders and Edmonton Eskimos.
But above all else, he’s a former Bartlett Yancey Buccaneer and it was his high school playing career that brought him back to town Friday night for the Bucs’ matchup against the Phoenix.
Brooks recorded 331 total tackles for the Buccaneers. He was a three-year, all-region, all-conference and defensive MVP selection and earned NCHSAA All-State honors his senior year after recording 94 tackles and 12.5 sacks. The defensive standout also represented the state in the 2008 Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas All-Star Game. Brooks was named the Danville Regional Defensive Player of the Year in 2008 and recorded a program, single-season best 133 tackles his sophomore season.
It was these accomplishments Brooks was honored for Friday night.
“It’s great, just to come back to the community that made me you know,” Brooks said. “We didn’t win a lot of games but we played hard and they came out and supported us and I’m just glad to be back.”
And the hometown crowd was glad to see him. Several times throughout the night, people yelled from a distance, getting Brooks’ attention and congratulating him on his accomplishment. One fan even jokingly told Brooks he was his cousin, which the former Buc received with a smile.
“Thank you, man,” Brooks said, smiling. “Like I said, we didn’t always win a lot of games but they always came out and everybody in this community helped me get where I’m at now and I appreciate it.”
While Brooks remained tight lipped on pointing on individuals, the Bucs’ 34-28 victory, that moved them to 7-0, showed him there was plenty of talent on this year’s squad.
“I was just talking to coach [Phillips] and he said that was a high bar to set but I’ll tell them to strive for it,” Brooks said. “Honestly, I didn’t expect to see this much talent on the team. But I think there are a few on here that could come in and knock me off.”
During the halftime ceremony, when it was announced Brooks was a Super Bowl champion, the former BY star made a fist and pointed it towards the crowd, showing off the ring’s shine.
With the Bucs sitting at a perfect 7-0, their playoff picture is becoming a lot clearer. For senior running back/linebacker Jacob Scales and junior defensive/running back Quentin Barley, seeing Brooks’ championship hardware provided an extra postseason push.
“It was great. It’s going to give us a big boost, a big motivation boost,” Scales said. “With [Mic’hael] talking to us like that, we need anything we can get.”
“We, as young men and football players, need motivation like that. We need support like that,” Barley concluded.