Countdown to Kickoff: 88 days away with wide receiver Phillip Brooks

Leading up to the start of K-State's 2021 football season, the Collegian takes a look at what to expect and highlights every player on the roster. (Archive photo by Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

Standing at a palpable 5 foot 7 inches and weighing only 167-pounds, Brooks might not jump out as a big-threat wide receiver on Kansas State’s roster for next season. However, his return game says otherwise.

Brooks was named to the 2020 First-Team All-Big 12 [Kick/Punt Return] team, 2020 First-Team Academic All-Big 12 team, received honors as a punt returner for the 2020 Third-Team All-American team and was named Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week in the 55-14 win against Kansas.

Brooks currently ranks second all-time in K-State history — tied for sixth all-time in Big 12 history for most punt returns in a career. Brooks has three punt return touchdowns in his career, two of those coming against Kansas this past season.

Brooks’ explosive performance comes as no surprise. A four-year letter-winning athlete at Lee’s Summit West High School, Brooks was named to the USA All-Missouri Team and the Missouri Football Coaches Association First-Team All-State team in 2017.

Brooks tallied 1,666 rushing yards with an average of 151.5 yards-per-game and 21 touchdowns his senior year, 556 receiving yards averaging 23.2 yards-per-catch and 10 touchdowns and 262 return yards and one touchdown.

Brooks was a two-time First-Team All-Conference and All-District pick and was also named to the Kansas City Star All-Metro Team. He also received multiple All-State and All-District honors for basketball and baseball.

Brooks redshirted his freshman year in 2018 but played in four games, maintaining his redshirt status with a new ruling from the NCAA. Brooks returned three kickoffs averaging 18.7 yards-per-return and one punt for six yards.

Finishing the 2019 season, Brooks saw the field in 12 games total, recording 26 catches for 253 yards and one touchdown while rushing for 26 yards.

He returned 12 kickoffs with an average of 22.7 yards-per-return and fielded eight punts with an average of 15 yards-per-return.

Brooks saw more of the field during his redshirt sophomore season in 2020, playing in 10 games with four starts throughout the year. He averaged 23.7 yards-per-return, which would have ranked him first in the nation in punt return average, but was one return short of meeting the NCAA required minimum return attempts.

On Oct. 24, 2020, Brooks set a K-State school record with 189 punt return yards against Kansas. His two punt returns in that game set the Big 12 record for punt returns in a conference game for a single player.

Brooks recorded 15 catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns on the season as well.

Over his three years at K-State, Brooks has racked up 1,340 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns.

He enters the 2021 season tied for first nationally among active players in punt return touchdowns, seventh in punt return yards and 30 yards away from K-State’s top-10 list for career punt return yards.

Brooks will likely start as a veteran in the wide receiver group with Malik Knowles and Chabastin Taylor this coming season.