LINCOLN — Brook Bolles, No. 3 on the Lincoln North Star roster, is also the third Lincoln high school quarterback from his family.
And the most talkative.
“Oh, man. He is about as outgoing as they get,” says older brother Blake, who started for Lincoln Southwest before going on to star at Northwest Missouri State. “He has no fear whatsoever when it comes to saying what's on his mind or meeting new people. He'll walk into a room of 30 people he doesn't know and make friends with everybody in there.”
Mark Waller, Brook's coach at North Star, offers a different take on his quarterback's extroversion.
“He talks too much,” Waller says.
But Waller has many good things to say about his senior third-year starter. He's athletic — a three-sport standout at North Star, second-team all-state in baseball, 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds with a 38-inch vertical leap and a time of 4.64 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
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He's also a skilled quarterback, Waller says. Tough. Competitive. And a big reason the coach thinks his Navigators can improve on last year, when they finished 7-3 and reached the first round of the Class A playoffs before falling 34-28 to Omaha Creighton Prep.
Bolles threw for 259 yards in that game, including 199 in the first half. What he remembers most is a pass that Prep intercepted and returned 89 yards for a touchdown late in the first half.
He says he's watched the tape a hundred times.
“It haunts me still to this day,” he says. “If I could have one play back, it would definitely be the interception I threw. But you've got to move on sometime.”
That play aside, Bolles had a strong junior season. He threw only five interceptions, tallied 1,369 passing yards and directed a North Star offense that ranked third in Class A with 406.6 yards a game.
The Gators return five starters on offense and eight on defense from that team. They have strong lines anchored by senior tackle Matt Dietz, a three-year starter whom Waller considers a Division I prospect, and running back Austin Rose, who ran for 1,403 yards and 21 touchdowns last fall.
“I think they could be as good as any team North Star has had,” says Lincoln Southwest coach Mark King, whose team opens against the Gators on Aug. 30.
King coached Blake Bolles at Southwest. Blake's younger brothers, Brady and Brook, went to North Star after their father, Lanny, took a job as the school's campus security supervisor and baseball coach. Brady preceded Brook as North Star's quarterback and then followed Blake to Northwest Missouri State, where he will battle for the starting QB job this fall.
All three brothers throw a pretty pass, King says. “When they get ready to release the ball, they've got it right to the ear.”
Blake, who watched all but one of Brook's games last year, says both he and Brady have a little more straight-ahead speed than their younger brother. But Brook is quick, he says, and good at reading blocks and making tacklers miss.
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“And from a football IQ standpoint,” he says, “I'd say Brook is probably ahead of where Brady and I were.”
Blake went on to become Northwest Missouri State's all-time leading passer, taking the Bearcats to the 2009 Division II national title and finishing third in the 2010 voting for the Harlon Hill Trophy.
He doesn't want Brook to follow him and Brady to Maryville. He considers his brother worthy of the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA.
Brook says he's heard from Tulsa and Iowa State, and a little from Nebraska. Others in contact include Coastal Carolina, North Dakota State, North Dakota, South Dakota and South Dakota State.
Brook trained this summer in California with Steve Calhoun, the tutor of Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez. The Bolles family was vacationing in the state, and Brook took an hourlong side trip to Laguna Beach to work with Calhoun. He actually shared reps with Martinez, who was there at the same time.
Bolles, like his fellow No. 3 at Nebraska, would like some designed quarterback runs this year, something North Star didn't do much last season. But he'll have to overcome a knee sprain that put him in a brace and sidelined him from North Star's early practices.
Another goal: “I want to know the entire offense in and out.”
Waller would like to see his quarterback become a great leader. But he'd like him to lead by deed, not necessarily by word. Or at least not with so many words.
Bolles is making no promises on that front.
“I'm a very talkative person,” he says. “I like to be a very energetic person. He always tells me I talk too much and I need to shut up. I always tell him, 'Coach, that's the quarterback's job. He's supposed to be loud.' ”