Update: Brooks verbally committed to Florida State on Aug. 18.

TAMPA – Decalon Brooks is out to prove himself and become his own man. The son of Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks, Decalon wants to carve out his own path. A rising senior linebacker at Gaither, he’s preparing for his third full season as a starter.

At 5’10”, 195 lbs., Decalon is looking to get into the 200-205 range weight wise prior to the start of the season. He says he’s grown a lot since becoming a starter in 2014 as a sophomore.

“I’ve been a leader from my sophomore year,” Brooks said. “I’m more vocal and keep my teammates being active. I like being more aggressive and read the ball off the snap with no hesitation.”

Despite battling an ankle injury last season, Brooks totaled 114 tackles (12 for a loss), five sacks and two pass deflections in 10 games. He had 10 plus tackles in all but two games which included a 19-tackle performance against Bloomingdale.

As a sophomore, he totaled 104 tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. Brooks played in four games his freshman year adding 23 tackles and a sack. Gaither went 4-6 last season, but just about everyone on the team believes things will turn around and Brooks explained why.

“We have a young team. The way these guys are playing we are on the rise. We’re going to make a big difference this season. Us seniors, we all believe that. Us coming together on that common goal we believe that we can achieve it.”

He says in the spring game against Sickles, the defense did a very good job of reacting to the ball.

In terms of his poise on the field, he said that came after what he realized that he accomplished as a sophomore.

“I feel like my confidence grew then. When colleges showed interest in me, my confidence went up. I’m always humble and always learning.”

Right now, Brooks has seven offers on his table which includes Illinois, Florida State, USF, FIU, Louisville, Rutgers and Middle Tennessee State. He also has interest from Georgia Tech and Arizona State.

He says he’s taking all of the colleges that are interested in him seriously as he keeps his options open. His dad and him are planning trips to FSU, USF and Illinois among other schools this summer.

What does he learn the most from his father, a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers star for 14 seasons?

“I learn a lot of things from my dad. I learn a lot of things about the game and how to play it. The biggest thing he taught me was effort. He always told me ‘one thing nobody else can control is your effort’. So, I go out there and give it my all.”

Brooks says his father breaks down film with him and helps him in the recruiting process.

Starting his football life at age 6, Brooks has always been around the game because of his dad’s fame and now his hard work and dedication has paid off.

He says his biggest strengths are his speed and ability to react to the ball. He’s looking to improve on being an even better leader and knowing exactly what the offense is doing pre-snap. Brooks also plays fullback for the Cowboys where he’s generated 127 yards and three scores in three seasons.

The Cowboys missed the playoffs for the second straight season last year. Previously, Gaither had made three straight region playoff appearances from 2011-13 under head coach Jason Stokes. Brooks calls Stokes a really great coach.

“He’s always looking to make his players better. If he sees you’re not giving it your all then he’s going to get on you. That’s one thing I really like about him. He’s a God-fearing man.”

He says his parents serve as his biggest role models in his life.

“It is a balance between my mom and my dad. My mom teaches me to just learn and be motivated and to always do my best. My dad tells me to give it my all.

The end all be all goal for Brooks is to make it to the NFL and eventually the Hall of Fame much like his dad.

“One of my top goals is to be All-American in college and to hopefully win the Heisman…

“I want to be the role model that people look at and say ‘he gave it his all and he’s always trying to get better’.  I know I can always do better.”

Brooks is as smart and crafty as they come on and off the field. He’s looking to carve out his own path where he isn’t compared to his dad constantly by being called “Mini-Brooks” or “Brooks 2.0.”

Decalon Brooks is becoming his own man and right now he has a very bright future. He gets downhill in a hurry as a tackler and is very sound in coverage. More offers should come his way this summer and deservedly so. He is exciting to watch.

***

Quick hitters

Favorite players to watch – Jacksonville Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey, Hall of Fame LB Derrick Brooks
Playlist before games – Eminem, Lil Wayne, Drake, Future
Favorite movies – Remember the Titans, Friday (film series), Rush Hour (film series)
Favorite TV shows – Martin, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Fun fact about you that nobody knows – “I can dance a little bit. I’m not a big dancer, but when I get in a groove I can do a little something.”
Nickname from teammates or friends – “Decranklin”

Game film: Brooks’ Hudl tape

Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to write below or email Jake at jake.perper@hotmail.com.

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