Caledonia volleyball standout Tori Brooks signs to Itawamba Community College


Theo DeRosa



CALEDONIA -- Caledonia volleyball coach Samantha Brooks has seen plenty of her players sign to colleges before. Thursday's signing, though, had a different feel to it.


A little after 11 a.m., Brooks carefully arranged two volleyballs, cardinal red home and white away Caledonia volleyball No. 24 jerseys, a gray Itawamba Community College T-shirt and a red ICC sweatshirt on a table outside the Caledonia library, knowing how different this signing was from all the others.


"I've never done this before," she said.



The Caledonia volleyball coach was set up to watch her daughter, Tori Brooks, one of the Confederates' senior stars, sign her letter of intent to play at Itawamba Community College.


"She's probably pretty happy," Tori Brooks. "First off, one of her players committing. I mean, it's me, I'm her daughter. It's kind of like a two for one."


The elder Brooks, who came from Indiana to play volleyball at the Mississippi University for Women, is just happy her daughter can have the same experience she did.


"For me, it was a privilege to be able to play at the collegiate level, and I feel the same about Tori," coach Brooks said. "It's gonna be a privilege for her. I'm proud of her accomplishments. It's been her dream for a long time."


As long as Tori dreamed of continuing her volleyball career, her mother and coach was right there with her.


"It's been my dream for her if that's the avenue she wanted to pursue," coach Brooks said. "It's just an amazing feeling to see her name on that paper."


Tori Brooks knew where her future lay as soon as she took her official visit to Fulton -- a visit that confirmed the great things she thought about the school.


"She already knew," coach Brooks said. "She had the feeling. She got really good vibes from the campus."


ICC just added volleyball as a sanctioned sport this season, allowing Tori the chance to be "in the group that's making history," coach Brooks said.


Tori Brooks said knowing several other players from the area who will be joining her at ICC helped her make the decision, and so did the recruiting efforts of ICC coach Priscilla Morgan.


"I knew she wanted me because she told me she did," Tori Brooks said. "Whenever I went, I was like, 'This is where I want to be.'"


She hopes to get the chance to make an impact on the court early on in her first collegiate season playing the sport she's long loved.


"It's just in her blood," coach Brooks said. "She's loved it since she was little and been involved in it since she was little, and it's just part of who she is."


Tori still plays softball for Caledonia and played basketball from fifth grade through her sophomore year of high school, but she knows her future lies in volleyball.


Just look at the support she got Thursday -- her varsity teammates, the Caledonia junior varsity and middle school teams and even her friends from New Hope came out to watch her sign.


"It's really good that everybody's supporting me," Tori said. "I felt it all the way through volleyball season, and now everybody came out. I'm just glad they're here."




Theo DeRosa reports on high school sports and Mississippi State softball for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @Theo_DeRosa.


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