Prep Football

As spotlight grows, Brock humbly handles attention

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 23, 2017 4:15 pm

The attention Jirehl Brock has received from college football recruiters and fans has intensified during the last nine months.

It might have hit an apex Friday night ... well, at least until he does his next big thing.

In the second half of the Quincy High School football team's 29-15 victory at Rock Island -- it was the Blue Devils' first regular-season victory at Rocky since 1977 -- Brock ripped off about a 40-yard run during which he made a move that left Rocks defensive back Jordan Vesey flat-footed and allowed himself to get to the left sideline.

That juke alone would have made highlights.

How Brock finished the run earned him national attention.

Instead of running out of bounds as four Rocky defenders pursued, Brock lowered his right shoulder and initiated contact with defensive back Michail Sudberry. It was pure power by Brock, who knocked Sudberry flat and popped the defender's helmet off.

Andrew Ward, the weekend sports anchor for KWQC-TV in Davenport, Iowa, captured the entire sequence on video and posted it on social media sites as well as using it as part of his Friday night television highlight package.

Before the night was through, ESPN had picked up the clip and shown it on SportsCenter. USA Today used the highlight on its website. At one point, "Jirehl Brock" was trending on Twitter.

He had gone viral.

Listed as a four-star recruit by several scouting services, including Rivals.com, Brock has five scholarship offers already on the table. He picked up a sixth Saturday morning as Minnesota joined the mix. Others are surely to follow.

Brock attended Saturday's nationally televised Big Ten Conference game at Iowa -- the Hawkeyes faced Penn State, and both schools are recruiting Brock. He's been invited to visit several schools on game day. In fact, Ohio State recently extended such an offer, making it arguably the program with the highest profile to show interest in Brock to date.

Brock has maintained a respectful and humble presence on social media while the attention builds and the spotlight grows.

As mentions of his big hit and his big game -- he finished with 260 yards and three touchdowns -- mounted Friday night and Saturday morning, Brock simply liked and retweeted most of the mentions. The few times he did engage with others, he showed his character.

Sudberry, who bounced after the hit from Brock and went to the sideline for just one play, gave his Quincy counterpart respect for his overall play, tweeting, "They won fair and square I give it to the kid ... worked hard for where he's at now ... good game."

Brock's response was "Good game bro. You're a great player. Keep working."

When someone on Twitter pointed out Sudberry got back up and made reference to him not being "soft," Brock was the first to concur. He tweeted, "He is a tough player. I respect players like that."

It was a subtle reminder that as Brock steps into the limelight, he won't forget how and why he got there.

Still, he's enjoying it like he should.

"Bro ... I was on ESPN tonight. Life complete," Brock tweeted.

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