Former Florida State and Tampa Bay Buccaneers legend Derrick Brooks spoke with Florida State DieHards recently on a number of topics, including his version of the recruiting stories told by his former Seminoles coaches Bobby Bowden and Mickey Andrews about his recruitment, his son DeCalon’s recruiting process, his thoughts on new Seminoles coach Willie Taggart and more.
Here is that exclusive Q&A in its entirety:
Florida State DieHards: Former Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews told us a great story about your recruitment and you inviting him to your banquet and basically messing with him and making him think you were going to choose Florida. What do you remember about that story?
Derrick Brooks: That was just part of me keeping the mood light with Coach Andrews at the time during recruiting because Florida was recruiting me very heavily. I just felt it would bring some humor because he was always serious with recruiting me. I thought it would be a good joke.
FSDH: He said he owes you one for that!
DB: He says the best part about it is that I will never know when he’s going to get me back so it keeps me on edge.
FSDH: Did he use it in practice?
DB: He just said it’s coming before he leaves here so I just have to stay with that uncertainty. I think for Coach Andrews, the fact that I don’t know when it’s coming, that satisfies him.
Derrick Brooks said Bobby Bowden really set the foundation for him as a man. Also thanks Mickey Andrews for wanting the best out of him.
— Chris Nee (@CNee247) August 12, 2010
FSDH: When did you know that Florida State was the school for you?
DB: To me, there wasn’t nothing too deep about it to be honest with you. I just kind of laid in my bed one night during the recruiting process and I asked myself, ‘Where would I go to school if I never played a down of football?’ And it ended being the closest school to Pensacola, Fla. So, I chose Florida State.
FSDH: Coach Bowden told a story about his in-home visit with you and your sister falling asleep on his lap. He said that was when your mother told you she felt comfortable with you going to Florida State. Take us through that moment.
DB: She just hopped in his lap and fell asleep. So even though I had to decide in my mind where I wanted to go, my parents also weren’t sure about where they wanted me to go. When LaToya jumped into Coach Bowden’s lap during the in-home visit and she ended up falling asleep and he held her the entire time until my mom put her to bed, that kind of signified everything from a mother that she was comfortable with me going to Florida State.
FSDH: So pretty much no other school had a chance after that?
DB: Not in my mother’s eyes. Everybody that called the house from that point on, she never talked to anyone else.
— DeCalon Brooks (@DeCalonBrooks) December 14, 2017
FSDH: How was it going through the recruiting process as a dad with your son, DeCalon, who signed with Florida State last year, and how much has the process changed since when you had to go through it?
DB: It’s changed in that fact that DeCalon had to go through a lot of camps and be seen and get tested and go through the rating system. If kids are somehow not able to participate in those at some level, it’s kind of like they aren’t giving themselves every opportunity to be recruited. Colleges have adapted now to it too. Whether it’s the bus tours and the one-day camps, colleges are adapting and allowing student-athletes the opportunity to be seen. I just see from an exposure standpoint, there’s a lot more things out there now to get kids looked at and exposed to with recruiting. That is not just football, but all of athletics. I enjoyed the process with my son. I really stepped back and enjoyed it as a dad. I did not get to be overbearing. I did not talk to the coaches unless my son wanted me to talk to him. I just kind of sat back and enjoyed the process. Then at the end of the day, I made sure he was able to answer the questions that I knew were going to be important to me and my wife. The other side of that is when it got to the football stuff, the coaches knew they couldn’t BS me. They had to be very real with me when it came to the football stuff because of my football history. I enjoyed it and I think DeCalon enjoyed the approach that I took with him as well.
-Two-time unanimous First Team All-American in 1993 and 1994.
-A 1994 NFF National Scholar-Athlete.
-His No. 10 jersey has been retired at FSU.
-Sixth Seminole player to be inducted into the HOFhttps://t.co/gzEgcppd9S
— Raymond Woodie Jr. (@CoachWoodie) January 11, 2018
FSDH: What are your thoughts on Willie Taggart and the staff he’s put together at Florida State?
DB: I think Coach Taggart is doing great and he’s getting off to a wonderful start in building the culture the way that he sees it in his eyes. And DeCalon and I get a chance to be around the coaches that really gave him his first offer. It’s kind of fortunate that he was able to do this coming off his injury and his knee surgery. The first time that he will have live action will be in front of some coaches that are familiar with his talent.
FSDH: Coach Taggart mentioned he spoke with you during the process of taking this job. What were those conversations like and what was your main advice to him?
DB: It really wasn’t much advice outside of me letting him know that I was here to support him and I was here to educate former players as much as I could about his leadership and the man that we were getting to be the coach of our football team. It was just more or less to lend support. It wasn’t anything too deep other than that. The other things we talked about, to be honest with you, that will stay between myself and Coach Taggart.
Great work coach by you and the staff. https://t.co/68h4slZWrL
— Derrick Brooks (@DBrooks55) February 7, 2018
FSDH: How exciting is it for you to see the former players rally behind this hire and see their excitement about the future of the program?
DB: If you just look around social media, there’s a lot of support from the former players. Coach Taggart has made no secret about it that he wants to get Florida State back to where it was when he was a fan. There were a lot of former players that were around the program, supporting the program, not just from a football standpoint, but from a lifestyle standpoint. Being in Tallahassee and being around our guys and cultivating a ‘Nole family atmosphere is one of the things he really wants to do and I think he will have a lot of support with that. Not just now, but in his entire time there. We are looking forward to the new leadership. Honestly, I appreciate everything that Coach [Jimbo] Fisher has done for our university and giving my son an opportunity to be a student-athlete at Florida State. Now, as everything shifts gears, I’m excited about the future moving forward too.
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