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The top 100 FSU football players: No. 5— linebacker Derrick Brooks

The highest-rated linebacker in our countdown.

Clemson Tigers v Florida State Seminoles FSU Athletics

Derrick Brooks is greatness personified. All you need to know about his high school career is he was later named to the All-Century Team by the FHSAA.

At Florida State he was a three-time first team All-ACC player from 1992-1994. He was a first team sophomore All-American in 1992, and an Unanimous All-American in 1993, with nine publications all naming him to the first team. He was also named the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year in ‘93 and led FSU’s defense as the program claimed its first national championship. He was a consensus All-American in 1994. He was a finalist for the Vince Lombardi Award twice, and for the Butkus Award once, and Football Writer’s Defensive Player of the Year Award twice. Last but not least, he was named an ACC All-Academic second team as a junior and an Academic All-American following his senior season. He finished his collegiate career with 274 tackles, 8.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, five interceptions, 13 pass breakups, two blocked kicks, and three touchdowns.

In fact, in 1993 Brooks had perhaps the greatest stretch by any FSU defender ever. In the opener against Kansas he was active in one of the greatest goal line stands of all time.

FSU would go on to win 42-0. The following week against Duke he had a pick six:

FSU won 45-7. In their third game against Clemson, Brooks had a scoop n’ score and blocked a punt...

...and the defense had another goal line stand where Brooks destroyed Clemson running back Rodney Blunt:

The ’Noles won 57-0. Then in week four against No. 13 North Carolina, Brooks had yet another pick six:

and FSU won 33-7. They crushed Georgia Tech in their next game 51-0. If you’re keeping score, Brooks singlehandedly outscored FSU’s first five opponents that year.

The following season Brooks capped a rematch win against the Gators in the 1995 Sugar Bowl following the Choke at Doak, intercepting Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel with less than two minutes left in the game.

A few months later Brooks would be selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 28th overall pick in the 1995 NFL Draft. Brooks played 14 seasons in the NFL and was an 11-time Pro Bowl selection and a nine-time All-Pro. He was the named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2000, the same year he was inducted into the FSU Hall of Fame. He was also named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press following the 2002 season in which the Bucs won their first Super Bowl. That year Brooks set an NFL record for the most touchdowns by a linebacker with four — one scoop n’ score and three pick-sixes, including one in the Super Bowl. He would score a total of seven times in his career. In 2014 Brooks was a first ballot inductee to the NFL Hall of Fame. He is widely considered one of the greatest linebackers of all time.

Both his collegiate No. 10 and professional No. 55 numbers are retired.


Who was the better player?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Marvin Jones
    (173 votes)
  • 74%
    Derrick Brooks
    (515 votes)
688 votes total Vote Now