Widely considered one of the best linebackers in NFL history, Derrick Brooks was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft and he remained with the team for his entire fourteen season professional career. An eleven-time Pro Bowl selection and nine-time All-Pro, Brooks was named AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2002, and earned a Super Bowl ring with the Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII seasons. In February 2014, he received one of the highest honors of his life by being named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and was also inducted into the Capitol One Academic All America Hall of Fame.
Brooks was appointed by to the board of trustees of Florida State University by Governor Jeb Bush in 2003, where he occupied a seat until 2011. He has also served on the Florida Department of Education Foundation, St. Leo’s University and Brooks-DeBartolo Charities, Inc. By partnering with the DeBartolo Family, he was able to realize a lifelong dream with the opening of the very first traditional charter high school in the Tampa Bay area, the Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School.
Recognized as often for his hard work in the community as he is for his hard hits on the football field, Brooks has been the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the 2000 Walter Payton/NFL Man of the Year award, the 2003 Bart Starr Award, and the 2004 Bryon “Whizzer” White Award, and the 2008 JB Award through the NFL Players association. He also has received numerous community awards for his work and dedication to the community including Citizen of the Year from the Tampa Sports Club, the Lee Roy Selmon Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tampa Sports Commission, the Community Hero Award from the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Community Champion Award from the Boys and Girls Clubs.