Florida State University Seminoles
Dunnellon High School
While all of the Seminoles units played a big part in the team going undefeated and capturing the national championship, the coaching staff will tell all that the reason for the defense's dominance was the fact that the young starters responded well to the mentoring offered by Brooks and fellow defensive back Lamarcus Joyner.
The free safety packed a "punch" when working inside the box, making 33 of his 56 tackles in run support last season, limiting those ball carriers to 67 yards. He also provided the team with a "sheriff" in the deep area of the field, as just 17-of-52 passes targeted into his area (32.69%) were completed.
That production level helped Brooks play a vital role for an FSU defense that led the nation in scoring defense (12.1), pass defense (156.6) and interceptions (26), while ranking third in total defense (281.4). Important to that success was the safety's ability to wreak havoc in the backfield as a blitzer, as his eight tackles behind the line of scrimmage not only ranked fourth on the team overall, but ranked second among all the defensive backs in the Atlantic Coast Conference ranks.
Brooks was a two-way standout at Dunnellon High School, where the Florida prospect rushed for 500 yards and registered 53 tackles, six interceptions and three pass breakups during his junior season. He split his time between receiver and cornerback as a senior, earning All-County first-team honors on defense while receiving offensive honorable mention.
Scout.com considered him to be the 51st-best cornerback nationally. ESPN placed him 21st among the cornerbacks in the prep ranks. A member of the Florida Times-Union Super 75 squad, that news service rated Brooks the seventh-best cornerback in the state. He concluded his career after playing in the Florida Athletic Coaches Association North-South All-Star game.
Brooks enrolled at Florida State, choosing the school over offers from Miami, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Purdue, Rutgers, South Florida and Central Florida. Playing mostly on special teams as a freshman, he managed just two solo tackles. It was much of the same the following year, as Brooks was listed second on the depth chart at free safety, posting 17 tackles with five pass deflections through 11 games on the 2011 schedule.
The coaches wanted to get their best athletes on the field in 2012 and Lamarcus Joyner was shifted to cornerback, allowing Brooks the opportunity to seize the free safety position as a junior. He responded with 51 tackles while starting all 14 games. He deflected four passes and picked off two others for the Seminoles in 2012.
Named All-American first-team by CBS Sports, Brooks was also selected All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team as a senior. He finished fifth on the team with a career-high 56 tackles in 2013, intercepting two passes while breaking up five other throws. He also rerouted or jammed his coverage assignments away from 22 other pass attempts. Two of his eight tackles behind the line of scrimmage caused fumbles, recovering one of those turnovers to set up an FSU touchdown drive.
Brooks started his last 27 games — 14 at free safety and 13 at strong safety - appearing in a total of forty-eight contests, as he recorded 126 tackles (88 solos) with a 13-yard sack and 9.5 stops for losses of 36 yards…Intercepted five passes and deflected 15 others, as he also caused three fumbles and recovered another.