One University of Illinois freshman can barely contain himself in his Sociology 100 class now that he’s working with Illini football player Lamar Brooks.
“Being in the marching band in high school, I always got to see some of the football players practice on the field before rehearsals,” freshman and excited group member Jimmy Garrett said. “But now to actually be working with a real college football player on a project? This is a dream come true.”
Brooks, a redshirt junior 3rd-string tight end, hit the field for two plays in the Illini’s 52-3 win over Murray State in Week One. He recorded no stats for the last-place Fighting Illini that game.
“It’s just unbelievable that I’m going to get to spend time with a football player that got playing time against Murray State,” Garrett said.
While Garrett is enthusiastic about working with Brooks, Brooks doesn’t seem to be returning the favor.
“This little kid thinks I’m some kind of Greek god or something,” Brooks said. “I played 2 plays against a team called the Racers, I didn’t even travel with the team to Michigan, and I almost quit the team when Lovie banned us from riding our scooters on campus. ”
The project, a slideshow research report on consumerism, is being done almost exclusively by Garrett, who doesn’t seem to want Brooks to pick up a book or open up PowerPoint on his laptop.
According to Brooks, Garrett has treated him so well that it has made him uncomfortable.
“He came into class one day last week with a team photo and my individual picture printed out,” Brooks said. “He had 4differently-colored markers, and he wanted me to sign the prints so he could go get them laminated.”
Garrett also has used entire discussion sections to ask Brooks questions about Lovie Smith instead of working on the project.
“I don’t know how he even came up with some of these questions about Lovie,” Brooks said. “Why would I know if Lovie wears boxers or briefs? And do I look like I know if Lovie’s real name is actually Lovie? Do I look like Wikipedia?”
At the end of the day, Brooks says he doesn’t want to just be seen as a college football player, but as a hardworking student-athlete trying to better himself.
“I may play college football at a Big Ten institution, but I’m here to get an education,” Brooks said. “I’m getting pretty close to sucker punching this weasel if I could get to work on this project a little bit. I want to contribute and I want to make an impact. What I don’t want is special treatment because I suit up for Lovie Smith’s football team every week.”
The project is due in two weeks, but Garrett doesn’t seem to still be getting the idea that he can treat student-athletes like a normal person.
“I came to a Big Ten school so I can bang Big Ten girls and watch Big Ten sports,” Garrett said. “I’m not wasting away this opportunity. Lamar plays football for the Lovie Smith. I’m treating him well.”