NEW ORLEANS — To most observers at the New Orleans Nike Opening Regional, Nick Brahms came out of nowhere to punch his ticket to The Opening—which is the premier summer camp showcase held at Nike’s Beaverton, Oregon, headquarters for the nation’s elite recruits in July.
After all, as Bleacher Report’s Damon Sayles noted, Brahms entered the event without a star rating attached to his name.
However, after a spree of offers from colleges around the country and a dominant performance at the New Orleans regional, the secret is officially out about the 6’4”, 285-pound mauler from Florida's Navarre High School.
“It’s a blessing. I’ve been working hard since I got into high school and before then,” Brahms told Bleacher Report. “I’ve just been working on my technique prior to these camps. This was the big camp that I really wanted to excel at. I think I did. I’m very excited about it. I’m ready to go to work in Oregon.”
Todd Huber, the director of football at Student Sports, also coaches the offensive and defensive linemen at the regional camps.
Brahms' rapid rise hasn’t surprised him.
“Nick was here last year. Nick was a top-five guy here last year, and he was probably underdeveloped then,” Huber said. “When we go back and check tape before we get here, Nick was the No. 1 guy here in terms of tape; at least I thought so. I think that shows since he’s kind of blown up in the last few weeks. He’s gone from, like, two offers to, like, 30 offers in a short time period. I don’t think the media has caught up in terms of what type of player he is.”
To his credit, Brahms has let his film and his play on the camp circuit do the talking for him. Still, he admits that he’s aware of the fact he’s yet to be rated by more than one scouting service.
“[Recruiting sites] haven’t rated me yet. I don’t really pay much attention to that,” Brahms said. “But at the same time, it’s a little fuel to the fire. At the end of the day, it’s all about what goes on when you’re on the field. That’s all I pay attention to. I just keep working on my craft, and it’s paid off for me.”
Against a crop of defensive linemen in the New Orleans regional that included prospects such as 5-star defensive tackle and current LSU pledge Tyler Shelvin, Brahms—along with his good friend, 4-star offensive lineman and fellow Florida native Alex Leatherwood—was dominant all afternoon.
When it comes to Brahms’ package of size and athleticism, he has proved himself to be one of the elite prospects at his position in the 2017 cycle—something he will look to cement later this summer in Oregon.
“Nick is a guy that is really good with his hands, and he has the feet to match it. Once he’s locked in, he’s hard to get around because he’s got great athleticism to match his frame,” Huber said. “He showed that this morning in the testing. He checks every box with tape, testing and to the drills and taking coaching and wanting to get better. Those are the types of kids we want at The Opening. He’s a no-doubt kid for us. He pushed some really good players off the board with how he performed today.”
As Huber detailed, college coaches have taken notice in recent weeks.
Less than two months ago, Florida Atlantic was his only offer. Since then, he’s added more than 30 offers, with schools such as Louisville, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee and Vanderbilt offering a scholarship to the Sunshine State standout.
His hot streak has coincided with a busy offseason workout program that has seen him add nearly 20 pounds of muscle since last season ended.
In-state ACC power Miami is the latest school to host Brahms on a visit, but he plans on hitting up a few more schools in the coming weeks and months.
“I really like Miami. It’s like a paradise down there. [Offensive Line] Coach [Stacy] Searels is a great man. I feel like I can learn a lot from him. I enjoyed it down there,” Brahms said. “I’m also going to go to Oregon, Mississippi State again, Tennessee again and Vanderbilt. I want to go to Miami again and also Louisville.”
As impressive as his feats on the field are, Brahms is also getting it done in the classroom.
Brahms reports a 4.5 GPA with tentative plans to major in either business or engineering. He also noted that it is possible that he could arrive at the school of his choice in January as an early enrollee.
While he doesn’t have a concrete timeline on announcing his commitment, it’s a safe bet that the interest in his recruitment and decision will continue to swell in the near future.
The attention is already surging, and his status as an unrated recruit is almost certain to change in a hurry.
“We don’t do stars, but in my opinion, he’s a top-20 offensive lineman,” Huber confidently stated. “We don’t quantify between those top 20. If you’re a top-20 offensive lineman, you’ve checked tape, testing and football drills. Those guys have done all those things that make them a candidate to succeed at the next level. We feel he’s a top-20 guy, and we don’t pay a ton of attention to the ratings. The guys that do it are smart guys, but I think you will see that [his] rating will catch up to reflect how good of a player he is.”
UPDATE: As of 1:00 pm CT on April 13, Brahms' rating has been adjusted, and he's now a 4-star offensive guard and the No. 189 player overall in the 247Sports composite ratings.
Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.