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10 days to FSU football: NFL Hall of Famer is heavy favorite to be the top ‘Nole No. 10

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Almost down to single digits.

Clemson Tigers v Florida State Seminoles

90 entries into the countdown of the best player to wear each respective number at Florida State, we have somehow stumbled upon a first in the countdown: a former Seminole who went on to become a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Derrick Brooks’ name is one that will likely stir memories of his spectacular play at the very mention of it. He played linebacker for the Seminoles from 1991 to 1994 and is among the best to ever play at FSU at any position. His first honor came in 1992 when he was named a Sophomore All-American by Sporting News. However, the ensuing years are what really cemented his legacy in Tallahassee. He played a key role on Florida State’s 1993 national title team, earning consensus All-American honors before repeating in 1994. He further added to his case in 1994 when he was named the ACC Player of the Year in his final year with the ‘Noles. Additionally, Brooks was a three-time all-conference player, earning All-ACC first team honors in each of the school’s first three years in the conference, 1992, 1993, and 1994.

Brooks’ legacy at FSU also extends off the field as he earned a trio of Academic All-ACC team spots in 1992-1994, was a two-time Academic All-American (second team in 1993, first team in 1994), and, perhaps most impressive of all, was awarded a Post-Graduate Scholarship from the NCAA after his collegiate career ended. Brooks’ impressive career at Florida State was capped off when the Seminoles retired his jersey during the 2010 season.

In spite of how solid his career as a ‘Nole was, Brooks may be even better known for his professional career. He was taken with the 28th overall pick of the 1995 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he played his entire career in the NFL. Over his 14 year career, Brooks was a 11-time Pro Bowler, led the Bucs to a Super Bowl XXXVII victory with former Seminole Dexter Jackson, and, in 2014, was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Although Brooks’ career is nearly impossible to measure up to, there are a number of additional Seminole alums who wore No. 10 with great success. First on that list is Geno Hayes, a linebacker at FSU from 2005 to 2007. Hayes made College Football News’ Sophomore All-America team in 2006 before earning an honorable mention on CNNSI.com’s All-America squad and a first-team All-ACC spot in 2007. After FSU, Hayes was a sixth-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Another player who earned conference honors while donning the No. 10 is Stanford Samuels. Samuels was a first-team All-ACC cornerback in 2003. That being said, Samuels’ legacy at Florida State may not be finished yet as his son, Stanford Samuels III, a highly-touted 2017 defensive back, committed to the Seminoles over the summer.

Two more players were drafted into the NFL after wearing the 10 at FSU. Recently, Nick Moody was taken in the sixth round of the 2013 Draft after playing linebacker at Florida State and, significantly earlier, quarterback Ed Trangycier was a 20th round selection in the 1962 edition of the Draft.

Another Seminole briefly wore the No. 10 before finding success in another sport. Marvin Bracy donned the 10 and played wide receiver in 2012 before leaving football to focus on his track career. In the end, that may have been the right decision as he made the US Olympic team in the recent Rio Olympics, competing in the 100-meter dash and the 4X100-meter relay.

The other Seminoles to wear No. 10 are:

  • Billy Odom (1954)
  • Vic Prinzi (1956-1958)
  • Bob Stephens (1959)
  • Bob Davis (1980-1984)
  • Ben Thompson (1985-1986)
  • Felton Cook (1986)
  • Corian Freeman (1987-1990)
  • Dan Kendra (1995-1999)
  • Rich Maher (1999)
  • Lorne Sam (2004)
  • D’Vontrey Richardson (2008)
  • E.J. Levenberry (2013-2014)
  • Sean Maguire (2013-present)
  • Calvin Brewton (2015-present)