Florida State linebacker DeCalon Brooks was one of 31 players who arrived at the AdventHealth Training Center on Thursday in order to participate in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' rookie mini-camp on a tryout basis. Brooks could probably serve as a tour guide in the building for the other 30.
DeCalon is the son of Derrick Brooks, arguably the best player in Buccaneers franchise history. The elder Brooks, a first-round draft pick out of FSU in 1995, spent his entire 14-year career with Tampa Bay and is the team's all-time leader in tackles (2,198), Pro Bowl selections (11) and first-team Associated Press All-Pro honors (five). He was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2002 and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the Class of 2014.
DeCalon (5-10, 222) followed his father to Florida State and played four seasons after a redshirt year. He finished his collegiate career with 71 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, four passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
The Buccaneers' rookie camp will include the eight players the team drafted two weekends ago and the 13 undrafted free agents who officially signed with the team upon arriving on Thursday. The inclusion of 31 players on tryout contracts allows the team to work with close to a full roster over the weekend. It also gives those players an opportunity to showcase their skills and potentially earn a spot on the 90-man training camp roster.
Due to the pandemic, the Buccaneers had no rookie mini-camp in 2020 and just a limited gathering of players last offseason. In 2019, cornerback Mazzi Wilkins and outside linebacker David Kenney turned weekend tryouts into training camp invites. In 2018, the same thing happened to guard Ruben Holcomb, safety Josh Liddell, cornerback Mark Myers, linebacker Shaheed Salmon and tackle Jerry Ugokwe.
One of the best success stories to spring from Buccaneers rookie camps and their tryout players is that of Adam Humphries. The Clemson wide receiver was not immediately signed by any team after the 2015 draft and thus accepted an invitation to take part in the Bucs' camp on a tryout contract. That turned into a spot on the training camp roster and then on the 53-man active roster, as he survived the final cuts. Though he spent some on the practice squad as a rookie, Humphries was fully entrenched on the roster by 2016 and would go on to catches 219 passes for 2,329 yards and nine touchdowns over four seasons with the Buccaneers. He later earned a lucrative deal with Tennessee in free agency.
Here are the 31 players who are set to take part in this weekend's rookie camp on tryout contracts, not all of whom are rookies:
· WR Tenio Ayeni, Holy Cross
· G Gabe Bautz, Northwest Missouri
· OLB Ryan Bowman, Washington
· LB DeCalon Brooks, Florida State
· WR Kameron Brown, Coastal Carolina
· DE Keyshon Camp, Pittsburgh
· C Keegan Cryder, Wyoming
· TE Sean Dykes, Memphis
· QB Aqeel Glass, Alabama A&M
· G Paul Grattan, UCLA
· DL Blake Green, South Florida
· DE Mike Greene, James Madison
· S Jordan Happle, Oregon
· ILB Nick Heninger, Utah State
· CB George Hicks, Washington State
· TE J.J. Howland, Yale
· RB Jace Jordan, West Georgia
· C Luke Juriga, Western Michigan
· DE Deionte Knight, Western Ontario
· RB Patrick Laird, California
· T Devontay Love-Taylor, Florida State
· OLB Keegan Markgraf, Utah
· OLB Bronson Massie, Kansas State
· T Dylan Pasquali, Ferris State
· QB Peyton Ramsey, Northwestern
· WR Bralon Robinson, Alcorn State
· C Kyler Schott, Iowa
· S Alex Spillum, Coastal Carolina
· CB J.T. Wahee, Ball State
· T Joe Ware, Austin Peay
· K Parker White, South Carolina