This week’s installment will focus on former Florida State linebacker Derrick Brooks who is helping bring the Seminole tradition of academic excellence to all.
Brooks spent four years in Tallahassee, from 1991 to 1994, right in the middle of the Bobby Bowden glory years. In his 43 games as a ‘Nole Brooks recorded five interceptions, eight and one-half sacks, and 274 tackles. He was also a three-time first-team All-ACC selection and a two-time first-team All-American. Brooks was also named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 1993, the same year that he helped the ‘Noles to their first ever national championship.
After graduating from Florida State, Brooks entered the 1995 NFL Draft, where he was selected 28th overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He spent the entirety of his 14-year NFL career in Tampa, accumulating 25 picks, 13.5 sacks and whopping 2,118 tackles as a Buc. Brooks was a member of the Bucs squad that won Super Bowl XXXVII, was an 11 time Pro-Bowl selection, including a Pro-Bowl MVP performance in 2005, and was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2002.
His legacy, however, will endure in the memories of the youths whose lives he is enriching through his dedication to education. His foundation, Brooks Bunch, reaches out to children and teens from disadvantaged backgrounds to provide them with opportunities that most Americans take for granted. Through his program, deserving young people can travel from the Tampa area to New York, Chicago, Tallahassee, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., the Western United States, and even South Africa, to engage in experience-based learning and participate in “mobile classrooms.”
Additionally, Brooks played an integral role in establishing the Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate High School, a charter school in Florida’s Hillsborough County. The school enrolls 300 students and provides a rigorous academic environment in which students receive the instruction and support they need to excel.
Brooks has also brought his passion for education back to Florida State, serving on the University Board of Trustees from 2003 to 2011. Former governor Jeb Bush appointed him to that position, a recognition of the importance of the work the former ‘Nole is doing.
We here in ‘Nole Nation wish Mr. Brooks continued success with the important mission he has embarked upon. Keep making us proud, Derrick, and, as always, Go ‘Noles!
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