As a young child growing up in Lanham, Antoine Brooks Jr. used to sit with his father and watch the Washington Redskins every Sunday. There was almost an immediate connection to Sean Taylor, the team’s hard-hitting safety.
When Brooks started playing organized football as a 5-year-old for the local Boys and Girls Club, he began to emulate his favorite player.
“When he hit on someone, he’d say to me, ‘Dad, they be grunting. Am I hurting them?’” Antoine Brooks Sr. recalled.
Assured that it was OK to be aggressive on the field, the younger Brooks kept hitting. It’s a trait that he’s carried through to his sophomore year at Maryland, where he has started five of six games at...