MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Former South Charleston High School and Marshall University standout lineman Blake Brooks has died at age 29.
Brooks was a key fixture on state championship squads for the Black Eagles in 2008 and 2009. In his senior season, Brooks won the Hunt Award as the state’s top interior lineman.
Current South Charleston head coach Donnie Mays joined the SCHS staff in Brooks’ freshman season of 2006.
“He was such a gigantic human. He was uncharacteristically strong for a ninth grader,” Mays said.
“We didn’t know what we had in him. He and Coach Mess (Head Coach John Messinger) were so tight. John looked at him as a son. Blake looked at Coach Mess as a father figure. They lived in that weight room together. All of our kids lifted but Coach Mess and Blake would do extra.”
In addition to his accolades on the field, Mays says that Brooks’ personality matched his larger-than-life persona.
“He always wanted to make people laugh. He was contagious with his smile and he ended up getting the nickname at Marshall, ‘Big Cheese’ because he was always smiling.
“There’s a lot of kids that when you get on them, they shut down. He is one of those kids that you could coach really, really hard. He would utilize that on the field against his opponent. And he would just take it out on them. Sometimes he would come back and ask you to get on him harder.”
I am so sad to learn of the passing of former @HerdFB player Blake Brooks. He was a great player with a bright smile and an infectious personality. You couldn’t have a bad day around him. We’ll miss you, 52. #WeAreMarshall pic.twitter.com/aCoN9uVhr3
— John Doc Holliday (@DOCMUFB) May 1, 2020
After graduating from South Charleston in 2010, Brooks played his freshman season at Fairmont State. He transferred to Marshall, sitting out the 2011 season as a redshirt. After appearing in four games on defense as a sophomore, Brooks moved to left guard and became a starter. He earned a scholarship in the fall of 2012.
“He walked on at Marshall and ended up being a two-year starter. He cut the weight that he needed to cut. He started moving better. He was more flexible and powerful.”
“He just proved people wrong. And that was his goal.”