Late last week, the College Football Hall of Fame announced it was inducting 12 new members. There were no former Florida State players among them, but that is poised to change soon.
Derrick Brooks has had his number retired by his high school and by the Seminoles. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will do the same this fall before inducting the former linebacker into the team’s Ring of Honor, which will come shortly after his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It won’t be long before college football officially recognizes Brooks in the same manner.
The strongest case for Brooks’ induction is simply to use common sense. On the field, few players were as dominant as Brooks, who ran like a safety but hit like a linebacker. His intuitive knowledge of the game played as much of a role in his stellar collegiate career as his freakish blend of power and speed.
The Pensacola, Fla., native was the ACC Player of the Year in 1993, the same year he commanded a defense that would help Bobby Bowden and Florida State to their first national championship. He was a two-time consensus All-American and a first-team All-ACC selection three times.
A four-year letterwinner, he finished his career with 274 tackles, 8.5 sacks, five interceptions, four forced fumbles and three recoveries. On the surface, those numbers don’t scream Hall of Famer, which is even more indicative of the rare impact Brooks was capable of bringing to a defense. Again, common sense is the opening and closing argument for Brooks’ candidacy.
Brooks was a model student-athlete in Tallahassee, too. He was an academic All-American and laid a foundation for the charitable work that would eventually garner him the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2000.
It is a simply a matter of time before Brooks is a College Football Hall of Famer.