Over the last 50-plus years, Florida State football has become a tradition-rich program, with a history of greatness on the gridiron.
Since its inception, Florida State has become a beacon for other young programs to follow, and for other players to mimic.
Second to few, Florida State quickly transformed itself from a small program that couldn't compete with the best programs in it's own state to one of the elite programs in the nation.
Players who have passed through it's halls have gone on to marvelous careers in the NFL, CFL and USFL. Through it's years of continued growth and eventual dominance, Florida State has groomed some of the finest players to ever strap on a helmet.
Without further ado—The Top 50 Most Notable Figures in FSU Football.
Kicking off the long countdown to No. 1, you might already find yourself asking..."Randy Moss? One of the best players in FSU HISTORY?"
Well, let's just say some players deserve special recognition, especially when the player in question is arguably one of the best to ever to catch a pass.
In 1995, Randy Moss was on his way to becoming a freshman at the hallowed University of Notre Dame, under a coaching legend, Lou Holtz. But because of a racially-charged fight at his high school in Rand, West Virginia that left a student hospitalized, the Irish reversed their position on his enrollment, and Moss was forced to look elsewhere.
Under the guidance of Coach Holtz, Moss enrolled at Florida State, under the supervision of another legendary coach who had a reputation for helping troubled players.
In 1995, Moss enrolled at FSU, but under NCAA rules, sat out the season, and was redshirted as a transfer student until 1996.
As part of Moss' plea agreement for the battery charge nearly a year prior, the wide receiver was ordered to serve a 30-day jail sentence. Before beginning his sentence, Moss was required to undergo a routine drug test and subsequently tested positive for marijuana use, which had occurred just days prior to his drug test, while enrolled at FSU.
His scholarship was quickly revoked by Coach Bowden, and after serving his time, Moss transferred again, this time to Division I-AA (now FCS) school Marshall University.
Per NCAA rules, Moss did not have to wait out the 1996 season, and went on to smash records at Marshall, and become one of the best wide receivers at both the college, (and eventually professional level,) amassing over 1,700 yards in each year of his collegiate career.
Today, Randy Moss is currently the holder of two NFL records—one, most touchdown catches in a season with 23, set in 2007 and another, most touchdown catches by a rookie with 17, set in 1998.
For FSU fans out there wondering, "What might have been?" imagine Randy Moss lining up opposite his old roommate, Peter Warrick.
Yeah, that may have been too scary for words—and that's why Randy Moss checks into our Top 50 at No. 50.
The play that preserved a legacy.
From 1992 to 2001, FSU did not lose a single game in Doak Campbell Stadium. In 54 games, not one of them included a loss.
And to think...it almost never happened.
On a chilly November 26, in the fall of 1994—the Seminoles squared off against their bitter rivals from Gainesville in what was sure to be a fight to the finish. Through the first three quarters of play, it didn't appear to be headed in that direction. Through the last ten minutes, however, that all changed.
With the Florida Gators firmly in control over four minutes played into the fourth, leading 31-3, it would appear that the Seminoles were headed for a disappointing and lopsided loss.
"Safety Valve to Dunn; deep pass to McCorvey; run up the right side by Preston."
In just nine minutes, FSU scored an unfathomable 28 points to tie the contest, and even had a shot to win, before running out of time at mid-field.
For anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about, perhaps now would be a time to youtube the video for yourself. Just look for "Choke at the Doak," and remember to bring a box of tissues.
The 31-31 tie in Tallahassee will forever be etched in the minds of FSU and UF fans alike, and the man who scored the final touchdown to put it at a lock, was none other than the backup RB, Ricardo "Rock" Preston.
While Preston's career as a Seminole was somewhat unimpressive, compared to his counterpart Warrick Dunn, Preston still managed to have a few stats worth noting.
In his Senior season, Preston, (again behind Dunn) had an unimpressive 386 yards rushing, but still managed five Touchdowns on only 49 carries, averaging an ACC-best 7.9 Yards Per Carry.
One of FSU's unsung heroes, Rock Preston was a leader behind the leader, and will forever be tied to this legendary game—and is why he comes in at #49.
It's no secret that Lorenzo Booker was an average player on an average FSU team during his tenure with the Seminoles.
A five-star recruit, considered by several high school scouting reports to be the best player of the 2002 recruiting class, Booker simply never measured up to the billing.
His stats seem marginal, nominally unspectacular in nearly every regard, but if you ever saw the man play the game, you'd know he is nothing short of a marvel, and an exceptional talent on and off the field.
Lining up behind a line of uncoached, and fairly raw linemen, Booker somehow found ways to break into opposing secondaries, where there was hole. He proved it one cool evening in San Francisco, in what would be his last game as a Seminole too.
As the only player from California his senior year, in an otherwise forgettable season for the Seminoles, Booker carried his team to an Emerald Bowl victory in his own back yard, amassing 117 yards receiving and 91 yards rushing, earning MVP honors.
Booker finished his career that night with 2,480 yards rushing and 995 yards receiving—finishing just five yards shy of becoming only the second player in FSU history to record a career 2,000 yards rushing, and 1,000 yards receiving, (Warrick Dunn.)
That is why Lorenzo Booker checks in at No. 48.
E.G. Green redshirted in 1993, what is still considered to this day one of the most dominant offenses in the history of college football, a national championship year at FSU.
Not surprisingly, this would not stop one of the more prolific wide receivers in FSU history from becoming a household name from 1994-1997. As a sophomore, Green caught 60 passes for over 1,007 yards and 10 touchdowns.
In his junior campaign, an unforgettable 1996 season that saw FSU play for it's second national championship against it's biggest rival in less than four seasons, the Seminoles were anchored by a more run-oriented offense behind halfback Warrick Dunn.
Green managed to put together an impressive season, with 34 receptions for 662 yards and 7 touchdowns. Sadly, he did not factor largely in the 1996 match between No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Seminoles. He would catch the only TD of their rematch for the National Championship in the Sugar Bowl.
The following season, Green grew a reputation as one of the game's premier wide receivers with his second 1,000-plus yard season. He ended the 1997 season with 54 catches for 1,059 yards and a career best 11 touchdowns—putting him at No. 47.
Bill Capece will forever be remembered by Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans for the John McKay comment in 1983, following a loss to the Green Bay Packers where Capece missed two crucial field goals that could have won the game for the Bucs.
"Capece is kaput."
Well, long before the notorious comments were uttered by McKay, Bill Capece had an outstanding career with the Seminoles, playing alongside Quarterback Hall-of-Famer Jimmy Jordan during the 1979 and 1980 seasons where FSU went a combined 21-3, and played in their first national title game (losing to Oklahoma.)
Capece graduated in 1980 as the holder of FSU's records for single-season scoring (104 points), most field goals in a game (five, against Pittsburgh) and field goal percentage (100%). His 104 points in 1980 were the most by a kicker in national collegiate history.
Bill Capece—No. 46.
Some people may not have so fond memories of Chris Rix, the topsy turvy player who parked in handicapped parking spaces and missed final exams. However, there were things Rix could do exceptionally well. Rix has managed to do what no other FSU quarterback has ever done—start all four years of his career in Tallahassee.
He is also known for his uncanny ability to beat the Gators. In two of his four years as starter, Rix beat the Gators, in dramatic fashion no-less, including a thrilling last minute deep pass to P.K. Sam with 0:55 left in the 2003 contest.
Many fans to this day suggest that had he been used for the entire duration of the 2004 contest, FSU may have also won that game. FSU lost at home on Bobby Bowden Field Dedication night to the recently fired Ron Zook.
Since Rix's departure, the Seminoles have not beaten the Gators.
Chris Rix, the Gator killer—comes in at No. 45.
Craphonso, or "Cro" Thorpe, as he liked to be called, was a first team All-ACC selection and a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist.
As a freshman, Thorpe led the team with a 21.6 yard average on 26 kickoff returns and fell just three returns shy of the school's single season record.
In his last season (2003) he had 994 yards receiving, which ranks 11th all-time at FSU. He also reeled in 11 touchdowns, which tied for the sixth-highest in school history. He finished 19th in the nation in receiving yards per game that season.
Thorpe also won the 100 and 200 meter dashes at the ACC Championships as a junior.
He also led the conference that year with 11 receiving TDs and was third in the ACC with an average of 90.4 receiving yards per game. In his career best effort, he caught seven passes for a career-high 217 yards and two touchdowns at Notre Dame—good enough for the most receiving yards ever recorded against the Irish.
Ultimately, Thorpe was a great go-to guy, but it was his talents as a receiver and as an athlete that lands him in this ranking.
An all-around athlete—at No. 44.
It's no small task replacing a legend.
It's an even bigger uphill battle when you are replacing a legend from a national championship team. Entering FSU's 1994 season, redshirt junior Danny Kanell was inheriting a blessing and a curse. Little did he know they would both culminate in what would go down as one of the most memorable games in the history of the storied lore of Florida State Seminoles football.
We know about his magnificent leadership in driving his team to a tie against the Gators in Doak Campbell Stadium in 1994. He would then lead them to a victory just a few weeks later in the Sugar Bowl against the Gators.
In his senior season, he returned to the roots of his first two seasons, playing again in the Orange Bowl. In 1993, he sat on the sidelines and watched as his team was defeated in "the Game of the Century" against Notre Dame.
Two years later, he got the chance to be the guy under center to send the Irish out a loser. Through three quarters, it didn't appear he was going to get his wish. After almost assuredly gift wrapping Notre Dame's Orange Bowl victory by stepping out of the back of the end zone stranded deep in FSU territory, Notre Dame took a 19-14 lead, and on the free kick managed to score again to go up 26-14.
Kanell gathered himself and after a brief discussion with Andre Cooper, took the field again. Just like he did in the 1994 UF/FSU tilt, with less than ten minutes to play, scored two quick touchdowns to rally FSU to the win.
FSU would secure two NCAA records following the contest. They were the first school to record 11 straight bowl wins and the first to produce nine straight top-five finishes (FSU would go on to record five more top-five seasons).
During his FSU career he played in 45 games and completed 62.2% of his 851 pass attempts. He threw for 6,372 yards and a school record 57 touchdowns.
Danny Kanell—Mr. Comeback, coming in at #43.
Travis Minor was one of only three running backs in FSU's history to become a four-year letterman, and is the only Seminoles running back to play in three national championships.
Minor started in 33 of 43 games, including 30 over his final three years.
He rushed for 3,218 yards and 28 touchdowns on 664 attempts, while also catching 106 passes for 831 yards and three TD's.
Minor is the school's third all-time leading rusher, trailing only Warrick Dunn (3,959) and Greg Allen (3,769).
He led FSU in rushing all four years he played, and was a second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection as a senior. That season, he rushed for a career-high 923 yards and five touchdowns on 181 carries. He also had a career-best 42 receptions for 333 yards.
While his statistics should put him in the College Football Hall of Fame he's overlooked due to the explosive numbers of the passing game FSU had during his tenure.
Simply Travis—No. 42.
Edgar Bennett was one of the most versatile fullbacks in FSU history.
His 2,300 all-purpose yards came on 389 plays for 20 touchdowns.
Bennett was an all-purpose back who ran a 4.5 second 40-yard dash, and caught 93 passes for over 1,000 yards.
Bennett was inducted to the FSU Hall of Fame in 2005.
While his stats and merits include five bowl game appearances (Fiesta, Sugar, Fiesta, Blockbuster and Cotton) Bennett was also a four-time letterman at FSU.
He is most notably remembered for his career with the Green Bay Packers and is a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. He now serves as the running backs coach for the Pack.
Edgar Bennett, the all-purpose Hall of Famer, coming in at No. 41.
This guy will be remembered 100 years from now, for a record that simply cannot be broken...not unless they extend the NFL field by a few yards.
He will forever be linked to the longest play in football history, for his 109–yard return for a touchdown on a missed Minnesota Vikings field goal.
Long before becoming recognizable for this NFL record-setting play, Cromartie was recognized as of the one of the nation's top corners with the 'Noles.
In his final season, Antonio was listed as the No. 2 cornerback in the nation, and a first team pre-season All-American by The Sporting News.
He quickly established himself as one of the top playmakers in the country on national television. In the opener at Miami, he returned a fumble for a touchdown and added an acrobatic interception. He finished his junior season with the second most interceptions in 2004 with four and earned first team All-ACC honors as well.
Cromartie wasn't just a great corner in his time at FSU. As an underclassmen, he also returned punts, was a track star and part of the 2004 FSU national championship track team.
Antonio Cromartie—going the distance at No. 40.
Burt Reynolds. The Bandit. Deliverance.
The Longest Yard...
For a guy who has been etched in stone for eternity as Mr. Football, Reynolds didn't materialize into much of a football player professionally, or even collegiately. Reynolds had dreams of being named to All-American teams, or to have a long and successful career in professional football. Fate, however, had other plans.
A highly touted senior from Palm Beach High School, Reynolds was named First Team All-State and All-Southern Fullback. After considering several offers that were available to him, Reynolds elected to play football for the Seminoles, under the tutelage of new head coach Tom Nugent. In his first game of the season against Georgia, Reynolds was injured. During his recovery he was involved in a car accident that made the injury permanent.
While his career as a player never materialized, Reynolds would eventually go on to become one of the most recognizable actors in Hollywood, and to this day is one of the most influential boosters of the Seminoles.
Reynolds aka Paul "the wrecking" Crewe—comes in at No. 39.
Greg Jones will forever be remembered for his powerful, often forceful dominance of opposing secondaries. With a burst of speed, Jones went from a fullback to a halfback, and could easily go back to fullback when finally making contact.
Just ask Dexter Reid.
In a late August lopsided affair Jones added insult to injury, almost quite literally—by planting Tarheels safety Dexter Reid in the dirt like he was a tackling dummy.
Greg Jones was a versatile, feared back who may not have broken records, but he could have easily broke necks.
Greg Jones—intimidating the top 50 at No. 38.
Kamerion. Not Cam'ron. Not Kamee-ron. Ka-me-ree-on.
A dominant force at defensive end, Kamerion Wimbley doesn't need his mama to fight his battles. In his time at FSU, he was another protegé of Mickey Andrews' deadly speedy and physical lineup.
In his time at Florida State, he was considered one of the top defensive ends in the country. He recorded two sacks in three different games his senior year and led the ACC in sacks before suffering a knee injury against NC State. Wimbley played in every game as a freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior until his injury. He did manage to return from injury for the Orange Bowl against Penn State.
Despite missing three games as a senior, Wimbley was named second team All-ACC. He was also listed as an All-American by Pro Football Weekly.
Kamerion Wimbley—a name worth remembering at No. 37.
Super Bowl MVP—Dexter Jackson.
It has a nice ring to it. Speaking of rings, what ring is most important to Jackson? Apparently not his Super Bowl ring. Rather, his 1996 Orange Bowl ring, that a local Quincy, FL dealer was auctioning off.
I'd imagine Jackson is not the kind of guy you'd want to upset. I hear the ring was returned for some signed mini-helmets. Smart move.
As one of FSU's most dominant and talented safeties, Dexter was named All-Atlantic Coast Conference as a junior and finished his college football career with 194 tackles, 7 interceptions, 16 passes defensed, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and four blocked field goals.
He's one of a handful of FSU players and the only safety to play in the Fiesta (1998), Sugar (1997, 1996) and Orange Bowls (1995).
Fistful of rings Dexter Jackson checks in at No. 36.
No, that's not Peter.
Again...it's not Peter. It's his huge, younger brother.
Don't worry, we'll get to Peter in a bit.
As a freshman, he was FSU's top tackler on kickoff teams.
Michael started every game as a sophomore at strong-side linebacker, where he ranked fourth in the ACC in interceptions and tied for most interceptions on the team at three. He led the Seminole defense in scoring with two touchdowns and ranked fourth on the team with 81 tackles.
As a junior, he started every game, was a semifinalist for the Butkus Award and named to the All-ACC second team. He was also voted No. 2 on Kirk Herbstreit's Best of the Best Outside Linebackers along with teammate Kendyll Pope. He was second on the team with 127 total tackles and 10th in the ACC. He also scored the only points of the Seminoles 17-7 loss to N.C. State, when he returned a fumble 84 yards for a touchdown.
Michael Boulware may be the younger brother of Peter, but by no means "little"—at No. 35 on our countdown.
If it weren't for the fact that he shared receiving responsibilities with Atrews Bell, Peter Warrick, Laveranues Coles and Ron Dugans, well...you get the idea.
Marvin "Snoop" Minnis, was a talented and capable receiver who could play any wide receiver/flanker position. Playing opposite of the superstar lineup should have presented challenges for the leaner and taller Minnis. Although he wasn't the featured receiver, he managed to reel in several big plays in his career, helping get FSU to three national title games.
As a redshirt freshman, Minnis had 11 catches for 163 yards and a touchdown. In his sophomore year, his receiving stats improved as he finished third on the team with 22 catches for 338 yards, and averaged 15.4 yards per reception.
As a junior, he missed two games with a broken foot. Minnis continued to improve though and ranked third on the team with 19 receptions totaling 257 yards and three touchdowns.
As a senior, he enjoyed his first career 1,000-yard season with 1,340 ranking second all-time on the FSU season yardage list.
Snoop—not in the "dog house" at No. 34.
The lone offensive lineman to make our list, Dukes is one of the best offensive linemen in the history of Florida State.
Dukes capped an outstanding career with the Seminoles by earning consensus All-America honors as a senior in 1985.
Dukes was a walk-on from Orlando, Florida stepping onto the FSU campus in August of 1982 and immediately into the Seminole starting lineup.
Dukes is one of just four offensive lineman in Florida State history to start every game as a freshman. He earned All-Freshmen All-American in 1982, as well as several All-American honors. Dukes was FSU's fifth consensus All-American in his final season.
He started all 48 games over his career, graduating without missing a single game. He then went on to a successful 11-year NFL career, the first eight were with the Atlanta Falcons.
Lucky No. 33 it is for Mr. Jamie Dukes.
what can you say about Laveraneus Coles?
We all know about his troubled shopping spree with Peter Warrick that led to his dismissal from the team. What we don't look at closely were his multiple contributions on the field.
Coles, a big playmaker over his first three seasons at FSU, was a receiver who was converted from tailback. He was a versatile performer who could also lineup in the backfield and return kicks.
As a junior, he finished fifth on the team with 19 receptions, for 397 yards and led the team with a 20.9 yard per catch average.
He was once clocked at a sub 4.2 40-yard dash, making him the fastest Seminole ever clocked. He caught 21 passes playing alongside E.G. Green and Peter Warrick.
Coles averaged a very impressive 16.3 yards per touch over his Seminole career, and was also instrumental in kickoff returns averaging 28.4 yards on 13 returns.
After his dismissal from FSU, Coles vowed to never identify himself with FSU or coach Bobby Bowden. Although it is unfortunate, he has made our list at No. 32 amongst all Seminoles.
The kick was heard around the world.
It was Scott Bentley's kick in 1993 that showed Miami locals that there would be no "wide right." Instead, in a twist of fate, it would be Nebraska's kicker Byron Bennett who would miss in the waning moments of the Orange Bowl, as his kick sailed to the right as time expired.
Scott Bentley did miss five extra points in his first five games following a photo of himself graced the cover of Sports Illustrated prior to the 1993 season.
Forget all of that.
Bentley was not your cup of tea kicker. Bentley received offers from more than 90 schools across the country to handle anything from kicking duties, to punting, to quarterback and punt returner.
Bentley was once asked by former coach Chuck Amato, "It's the Kickoff Classic, you're in Giants Stadium and you're kicking off. We call a timeout, and pull the entire kickoff team off the field, but leave you out there. Think you can kick it out of the back of the end zone?"
His replied, "Not sure, but if I don't...I'll make the tackle."
Bentley's reply, and a kick against Nebraska that seems equally gut retching, lands him at No. 31.
Lawrence Dawsey has done it-all of it. Dawsey lettered all four years as a receiver with the Seminoles. He was an All-American as a senior, when he led the Seminoles with 65 catches for 999 yards and seven touchdowns.
Today, Dawsey still ranks among the best receivers at Florida State. He currently ranks ninth in career receiving yards (2,219), ninth for receiving touchdowns (20) and is tied for 11th in career receptions (128).
...and that's just his playing career.
He had a marvelous season in the NFL and coached FSU athletes to numbers equal to or better than the marks he left in Tallahassee-like Greg Carr—Florida State's fifth all-time leading receiver.
Player, mentor, coach. Lawrence Dawsey No. 30.
Imagine a linebacker with the speed of a halfback, the power of a fullback and the eye of a quarterback.
Now picture him better.
That's Tommy Polley.
As a freshmen, Polley was an impact player and contributed with 21 tackles and 13 stops with at least one each game through his first eight games.
As a sophomore, he recorded 59 total tackles, including 10 against North Carolina.
As a junior, he led the Seminoles with 109 tackles, earning him first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference. His incredible speed gave him the ability to cover backs out of the backfield and also controlled the pass rush. Polley blocked two punts, one against Florida, and one coming in the national title game that was recovered for a touchdown against Virginia Tech.
Polley had surgery following his junior year, but managed to come back strong. He collected 100 tackles, a fumble recovery and a defensive touchdown as a senior.
Yeah, he's good, which is why he makes the list at No. 29.
One of the finest middle linebackers in Florida State history. Period.
As a freshmen, he made 133 tackles and was listed as a starter by his third game.
The following season, Jones made 125 stops, including 13 for loss, good enough for the best on the team. He ranks seventh in school history in career tackles with 369 despite only playing three seasons.
Marvin earned consensus All-America honors as a sophomore and junior.
He recorded at least 110 tackles in each of his three seasons, including a career high 111 as a junior. Jones was the recipient of both the Butkus and Lombardi Awards that season.
Three years was more than enough to land Marvin Jones at No. 28.
Another three-year talent, Terrell Buckey owns the majority of Florida State’s records for interceptions, including: most interceptions in a single game, single season and career. Buckley picked off a Seminole season record 12 passes in 1991 and had at least one interception in eight of 12 regular season games.
Buckley earned consensus All-American honors in 1991, and became the second Seminole to win the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back.
Buckley holds the FSU career record for interceptions with 21 and was also a standout on punt returns by scoring three touchdowns over the course of his career. He returned four interceptions for touchdowns too.
Buckley certainly earned his helmet spears at No. 27.
Jamal Reynolds was another consensus All-American following the 2000 season. He also won the Lombardi Award as a middle linebacker. He joins Marvin Jones as the only other Seminole to win this award.
In his career, Reynolds recorded 23.5 career sacks, which ranks fourth all-time at FSU.
As a senior, Reynolds recorded 12 sacks, tying him with the legendary Ron Simmons as the fourth best season on record.
As a junior, Reynolds was an integral position player in the 1999 national championship team recording three sacks, five solo tackles and one assist against the Hokies. Reynolds finished second on the team with 11 tackles and 33 solo stops.
As a sophomore, he played significant time on special teams, while starting in three games. He was named Tomahawk Defensive Player of the Game against Clemson after a five-tackle game.
Jamal is credited as following in a long line of successful and intimidating defensive ends.
Intimidated? Enough to come in at No. 26.
Our modern day Bentley and Capece combined.
Graham Gano is FSU's second Lou Groza Award winner as the nation's top place kicker.
As a senior, Gano Finished first in the FBS for field goals made, percentage of field goals converted and 50-yard field goals made. He was also one of only two kickers in college to make over 90 percent of his field goal attempts in 2008. He was voted Rivals.com, Scout.com and CBS Sports first team All-American, as well as a Walter Camp, Associated Press, Sporting News, SI.com and Phil Steele second team All-American. He is believed to be the only punter ever to be named the MVP of a bowl game. In the Champs Sports Bowl, Gano punted four of his five punts inside the 20-yard line, with the first three punts all landing inside the three-yard line.
In 2007, Gano was primarily a punter, and shared kickoff duties with Gary Cismesia.
In 2006 as a sophomore, Gano was named a Ray Guy watchlist player.
Gano still holds the record for most 50-yard field goals in a season and the longest run for a punter in FSU history.
Versatile and highly decorated.
Wide Right On Target at No. 25.
Thad Busby was a two-year starter in 1996 and 1997, playing the loser in the rematch of what is still a very bitter loss for the Seminole faithful.
Boasting a 21-2 record under center for the Seminoles, Thad Busby is one of the winningest quarterbacks in FSU history.
Busby still holds the record for the most passing yards in a single season by an FSU quarterback at 3,317. He also holds the season record for most total offensive yards at 3,301 and eight 300-yard passing games (1994-97—8 games.)
He earned Second Team All-ACC honors in 1996 as well as ACC Offensive Player of the Year, First Team All-ACC and was a Davey O'Brien Award semifinalist in 1997.
Thad Busby may not be a guy people remember, but his record and stats speak for themselves. Busby is quite possibly one of the most overlooked and underrated quarterbacks in the history of the Seminoles.
Thad's that. Good enough for No. 24.
In the last decade, it is fair to assume that Everette Brown does not belong in the upper echelon with such distinguished company as Marvin Jones, Corey Simon or Jamal Reynolds. It would be fair to judge that based on his merits and his accolades.
After all, in Everette Brown's tenure, he only earned All-America second team honors by Phil Steele, Rivals.com, Associated Press, Scout.com and Walter Camp, as well as Third Team All-American honors by SI.com and honorable mention All-American according to Pro Football Weekly.
Jones, Simon and Reynolds did much better than that.
What is worth keeping in mind, is that Everette Brown played at the level he did absent of coaching.
Given his god-given talent alone, Everette Brown excelled at a point when Florida State was utterly absent of anything resembling coaching. That alone makes Brown a leap better than anyone who might have otherwise be inclined to believe.
However, Brown did finish runner-up for ACC Defensive Player of the Year, earned First Team All-ACC, finished the season third in the nation in sacks (13.5) and tied for fourth in the FBS in tackles for loss (21.5). He was the only player in 2008 to rank in the top four of the FBS in both sacks and tackles for loss, and was a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation's top defensive end, all as a junior.
Everette Brown—the Natural, at No. 23.
Simon says "Fall down now."
Corey Simon just echoes "champion."
In every sense of the word, Simon is by most accounts, one of the single most dominant players in the history of Florida State football.
As a consensus All-America selection following his senior season, in which he was a finalist for both the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophies, Corey led FSU defensive linemen with 48 solo stops and was fourth on the team with 84 tackles. He also tied the school career record set by Ron Simmons for amassing 44 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
As a senior, he led the ACC with 21 tackles for loss, had eight games with at least seven tackles and his play was instrumental in keeping Florida State ranked atop the polls for the entire 1999 season.
Corey Simon, a champion among champions No. #22.
When looking for a running back to mirror, look no further than Dexter Carter. As a former coach of the RB's, Carter's first hand experience lends testament to the improvement of Jermaine Thomas and Ty Jone.
As a player, Carter ranked among the top-15 running backs in school history with 1,788 yards on 327 carries for a rushing average of nearly 5.5 yards per carry. He finished his career in 1989 as the Seminoles' fifth all-time leading rusher.
He is currently ranked ninth in school history with 17 rushing touchdowns and still holds the record for the longest kickoff return in school history set in 1986 with a 100-yard return versus Miami.
During Carter's tenure, the Seminoles finished in the top-four three times. He was part of the first three years of the "Dynasty Era".
Dexter Carter, the first in a line of greatness.
The first, but not the last at No. 21.
The beginning of the Bowden Era featured Jimmy Jordan, who in many ways could draw comparisons to some of the greatest quarterbacks of FSU lore.
In his four years at Florida State, Jordan completed 298 of 595 passes for 4,173 yards and 39 touchdowns.
He was honored by the AP as Southeastern back of the week, by Sports Illustrated as national back of the week, and ABC-TV as player of the game twice as a junior.
Jordan also held a record for the longest touchdown pass in school history, a 96 yard toss to Kurt Unglaub against Virginia Tech.
While Jimmy Jordan split the workload with fellow quarterback Wally Woodham, the two won a considerable amount of games, that could be considered on par with Nebraska and Oklahoma of the late 1970's.
During his four years under center, Jordan was a large contributor toward making FSU a major national power, while compiling a record of 29-6, including an unheard of three straight victories over rival Florida.
His career ended in the 1980 Orange Bowl, where an undefeated FSU team lost to Oklahoma 24-7.
Jimmy Jordan—starting a tradition, at No. 20.
A gifted athlete that could be used at nearly any position. In 2002, he did just that.
Following a disappointing 2002 season, where FSU landed in the BCS shuffle ahead of two ACC teams with better records, quarterback Chris Rix was declared ineligible for the Sugar Bowl, following an unfortunate indiscretion where he slept through a final exam, FSU found itself juggling between backup Fabian Walker and Mr. Boldin.
The competition? A date with No. 4 Georgia.
Nobody expected this game to be close. Boldin rose to the lopsided challenge and threw for and caught a TD in a 26-13 loss in the Superdome in New Orleans.
Anquan Boldin—Mr. Versatility, at No. 19.
The guy who wears the funny getups on ESPN Gameday. How can you not include this former FSU QB in the top-50?
Corso came to Florida State from Miami in 1953 as one of the most highly recruited players in Florida history.
After a marginally successful career, he graduated leaving a record for versatility rarely matched in collegiate sports. As an iron-man player, he was a star on both offense and defense. In his sophomore season, he led the Seminoles in interceptions. The following season, he led all Seminoles in rushing, and then finally in his senior season, he led all Seminoles in—you guessed it—passing.
He was the FSU career interception leader with 14 until Deion Sanders tied him in the late 1980's.
He was listed as an honorable mention All-American by the Associated Press as a Senior in 1956 and was selected to play in the Blue-Gray All-Star game following his senior year.
Not to stop at playing three positions on the football field, Corso was also a star outfielder with the Seminoles Baseball team.
Following his time at FSU as a player, Corso returned as an assistant coach. After just one short season, Corso move on to Maryland (1959-68) and then Navy before becoming head coach at Louisville (1969-72) and Indiana (1973-82).
Florida State's other TV personality, (with one remarkable playing career,) Lee Corso—the all around guy, coming in at No. 18.
Brodrick Bunkley rewrote the record books for FSU defensive tackles.
As a junior noseguard, Bunkley started a career-high 13 games, and recorded a school record 25 tackles for loss (37 for his career which ranks fourth in FSU history).
Bunkley ranked second nationally in tackles for loss by any defender, and ranked first among interior defensive linemen.
He also ranked first in the ACC in tackles for loss, and sixth on the team in tackles with 66, while finishing third on the team with 39 solo tackles. Bunkley also led the team and was fifth in the conference in sacks with nine.
He was named by FWAA and CNNSI.com as a first team All-American. He was also voted first team All-ACC.
Bunkley finished his career as one of the best FSU interior lineman.
Given the lack of attention to his talent, it is easy to assume that Bunkley would have been twice the athlete, given a better talent pool surrounding him.
Mr. Inside Lineman checks in at No. 17.
The protege returns. Jamal Reynolds' power, with Corey Simon's leadership.
Darnell Dockett finished his career as one of the nation's top defensive tackles. He was a three-year starter at defensive tackle, named to the 2002 Lombardi Award watch list and was voted to the All-ACC first team as a sophomore.
Dockett set a new school record with 22 tackles for loss in 2001 and recorded 48 tackles for a loss, to pass Ron Simmons—becoming FSU's all-time leader. This record was set, despite the fact that for most of his junior season, Dockett was often double teamed, which allowed teammates Kendyll Pope and Michael Boulware to record the majority of tackles for loss.
Nothing can spell dominance more completely.
Dockett also broke the FSU record just one season earlier in the same category—with five against Georgia Tech in 2001.
As a sophomore, Dockett was a first team All-ACC selection at defensive tackle, and set a new FSU single season record with 22 tackles for loss. Dockett fought through constant doubleteams to lead all defensive linemen with 68 total tackles and led the team with 19 quarterback hurries.
During his freshman year, Dockett was named second team All-ACC. After starting the last 10 games of the year at defensive tackle, Dockett earned freshman All-America honors and was named the freshman defensive player of the year by Football News.
Dockett will undoubtedly go down as one of the best defensive lineman, as well as an outstanding defensive end.
Darnell Dockett: one of the best D-Linemen ever?—at No. 16.
1991. A season of "so-close" for so many reasons.
After soundly beating Michigan 51-31 in Ann Arbor, there was no question who had the better team, and therefore—the advantage in the Heisman race.
Desmond Howard would win the Heisman outpacing Weldon in the final two weeks of voting. Weldon laid an egg against rival Florida a week later in Gainesville.
Many would speculate to this day that Weldon's performance against Florida may have been dramatically different had Gerry Thomas not missed the final kick and given FSU the win in what was truly a regular season National Championship game of No. 1 vs. No. 2.
Weldon finished second in the Heisman balloting and managed two remarkable seasons under center for the Seminoles.
As a senior, Weldon was named the winner of the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award signifying him as the best quarterback in college football, and was also named a first team All-American by Walter Camp and Football News. Weldon's 4,643 career yards of total offense ranked as the second highest total in school history when he graduated.
He threw 41 career touchdown passes which also ranked as the second highest total ever for an FSU career. Weldon led the Seminoles to a 16-2 record as the starting quarterback including memorable wins over Michigan, LSU, BYU, Penn State and Florida.
Easily one of the top-10, but was only a two-year starter.
Runner-up for the Heisman—runner up at No. 15.
Peter Boulware easily cemeted himself as one of the 50 best football players in ACC history, as well as one of the best linebackers of all time.
Boulware led the nation and set an FSU single season record with 19 quarterback sacks as a junior (1996.)
During his junior season, he also earned consensus All-American honors, and was named the Football News National Defensive Player of the Year, as well as ACC Defensive Player of the Year.
Boulware finished his career and graduated in just three short years, with 34 sacks in three seasons, which was just 1.5 shy of the FSU record.
Smart and aware— No. 14 Peter Boulware.
Kez McCorvey, wide receiver inductee in the FSU Hall of Fame, caught 192 passes in his four years at Florida State, which is the second highest total in school history.
In 1993, McCorvey was an instrumental player in the ceminoles first national Championship.
McCorvey recorded 74 receptions that year, and was also the second highest in FSU history.
McCorvey was a two-time All-ACC selection, and was selected as an All-American by several publications. McCorvey was also a Biletnikoff Award finalist as a Senior. He had at least one reception in each of his last 32 games at Florida State.
Kez McCorvey—catching up with the pack at No. 13.
"Who's my favorite player? Mr. Derrick Brooks! One time, consensus All-American...TWO time consensus All-American."
Derrick Brooks, a two-time consensus All-American in 1993 and 1994, was one of the biggest play-makers of FSU's dominating defense.
As a junior, Brooks scored three touchdowns on two interception returns and a fumble return. Mr. Brooks finished his junior season with 77 tackles, seven for loss—and he was also named the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year.
In his senior year, Brooks made 77 tackles, had four tackles for a loss and three quarterback sacks.
Brooks was a top scholar-athlete who won an NCAA post-graduate scholarship and a place on the Academic All-America team. He was a 1995 first round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was named to the Pro Bowl in 1997 in just his third season in the league.
Derrick Brooks—dominating on, and off the field, coming in at No. 12.
Walk on, crawl out.
That is exactly what you did if you went up against Andre Wadsworth. What is spectacular about Andre Wadsworth, is that he too...was a walk-on.
As a senior he finished an All-American, parlayed that success to become Florida State’s highest ever NFL Draft pick, when he was taken with the third overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals.
Wadsworth was named the 1997 ACC Defensive Player of the Year as well as being inducted into the All-ACC first team.
Like many of his peers, Andre was also a finalist for the Lombardi Award.
During his senior year, he led the ACC in sacks with 16, which ranks second on the FSU all-time single season list.
He finished his career with 233 total tackles and 23 sacks, which is tied for the fourth best in FSU history. He also started for two seasons at noseguard before moving to defensive end in his final year.
Wads of worth—at No. 11.
You don't want to say his name wrong. You might get a phone call from his mama. John Madden made this mistake and, well, the rest is history.
A consensus All-American, LeRoy Butler was as big of a star at the NFL level as he ever was as a Seminole.
LeRoy had mighty big shoes to fill as he stepped in at corner, replacing one of the most notable figures in FSU history. He met the challenge with panache, and easily became a reliable player in the secondary, continuing Florida State’s tradition as "Cornerback U."
He was a consensus All-American in 1989, and finished that season as a national leader with seven interceptions returning one for a touchdown.
LeRoy also finished third on the team with 94 tackles and broke up nine passes that year.
LeRoy will forever be linked to one of the greatest plays in the history of the Bobby Bowden Era. In 1988, trailing late in a game to Clemson, Bobby Bowden called for a little trickery and the “Puntrooskie” play was born: With 1:30 left in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Florida State faced a fourth-and-four on it's own 21. The Seminoles lined up in punt formation and snapped the ball to upback Dayne Williams. Williams then slipped the ball to Butler—between his legs from behind, who quickly took off down the sideline 78 yards to set up a game-winning field goal.
Butler played in four Pro Bowls and won two Super Bowl rings in his eight-year NFL career with the Green Bay Packers.
Puntrooskie, Hall-of-famer, Super Bowl Champion No. 10.
"Is that a Linebacker? I...is...is that a Fullback?"
Nope. That's a kicker. A mammoth of a kicker.
Meet the best kicker in the history of college football. Sebastian Janikowski. The only two-time recipient of the Lou Groza award
"Wide Right" were words this man never heard and probably refused to learn in English. A Polish born player with a soccer style kick, Janikowski was not only automatic on field goals, but he often would put the ball through the uprights on kickoffs too.
Yeah...kickoffs. If that weren't enough—57 of his 83 kickoffs resulted in touchbacks, an FSU record that stands to this day.
Notables about the man who really needs no notables include: most touchbacks in a single game (tying Bill Capece's mark) at five.
Janikowski was also a two-time consensus All-American, (1998 and 1999.)
Sebastian Janikowski—Polish, Power, Perfect. Coming in at No. 9
Long before "Faaroq," Ron Simmons was a guy that men feared for the punishing bodyslams they would be in for on the gridiron.
Arguably the most dominating defensive lineman in the history of Florida State football, Simmons was the muse by which all defensive linemen would follow. Simmons earned consensus All-American honors twice (1979 and 1980,) and also managed to finish ninth in Heisman Trophy balloting as a junior (1979.)
That same year, Simmons recorded 81 tackles, six sacks and 17 tackles for loss. In his senior season, he had 46 tackles, including five for a loss, and two sacks.
Simmons started the tradition of winning at FSU alongside Jimmy Jordan's offense by leading Florida State to a pair of Orange Bowl appearances and a shot at a national championship.
For his career, Simmons recorded 25 sacks and 44 tackles for loss. He still holds FSU's records for season and career tackles for a loss today. He also held Seminole records for season and career sacks until the 1996 season.
Ron Simmons was also the first FSU defender to have his number retired.
Ron Simmons—wrestling his way in at No. 8.
Quite possibly the most prolific pass catcher to strap on an FSU helmet, Ron Sellers, today, still owns 14 Seminole receiving records.
He caught 212 passes for 3,598 yards from 1966-68.
He averaged 119.9 yards receiving—per game, over his career, and caught at least one pass in 30 consecutive games.
Sellers did not play during a dynasty era filled with talent, or glamour, and remarkably, with all of his gaudy numbers he also didn't play in the infamous 1966 "Catch or no catch" contest against the rival Gators. In an otherwise unremarkable game, this 1966 contest established the rivalry between FSU and the Gators largely due to the controversial outcome that would conclude the game. In a close contest, UF led the Seminoles late, by a score of 22-19. FSU had the ball at the Gator 45-yard line with 0:17 left in the game. On first down, little used and previously injured wide receiver Lane Fenner entered the game in place of Sellers. FSU quarterback Gary Pajcic took the snap, Fenner slipped past UF's defense, and Pajcic tossed a shallow pass to Fenner in the front corner of the end zone for what appeared to be a game-winning touchdown. However, referee Doug Moseley signaled that Fenner did not have control of the ball before rolling out of bounds and ruled the pass incomplete.
To this day, the controversy over not only the call, but the player on the field leaves many in doubt as to who should have been in on the play. UF would hold on for the win in the contest.
Sellers finished his remarkable career with not only nearly every record secured for the next 40 years, but he was also voted a consensus All-American in 1967—pulling down 70 catches for 1,228 yards and eight touchdowns. The following season he captured 86 receptions for 1,496 yards and 12 scores in his final season. Sellers caught at least 13 passes in a game seven times, had 18 100-yard receiving games and had five games of over 200 yards receiving. Both unbelievable marks by even today's standards.
Sellers was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988.
A legend in a league all his own—Ron Sellers at No. 7.
32-3 record as starter.
Heisman Trophy winner.
These are the only things you need remind yourself of whenever you think of Chris Weinke. The former minor-league baseball player turned Seminole led FSU to the hallowed title game in each of his three seasons as signal caller.
In 1998, Weinke managed a 9-1 record before going down late in the season to a broken neck injury, which would keep him sidelined for the Seminoles close loss to Tennessee in the desert.
The following season Weinke did the unthinkable, the impossible, and the unbelievable. He led his team to a first ever, wire-to-wire National Championship, never dropping their No. 1 ranking for the entire season, culminating in an exciting victory over sophomore phenom Michael Vick and the Virginia Tech Hokies.
The following season, Weinke would go on to win the coveted Heisman Trophy as the oldest recipient of the award, at 28 years old. Following the contest, Weinke would lose the National Championship to Heisman runner-up Josh Heupel in a low-scoring affair in the Orange Bowl.
Weinke set numerous records for passing in each of his three seasons as signal caller, and was awarded the Davey O'Brien award, the Johnny Unitas Awards as a Senior.
Chris Weinke—greatness comes with age at No. 6.
How good do you have to be to have an honorary award named after you?
Well, look no further.
Fred Biletnikoff, the son of Russian immigrants who came to the U.S. during the Russian Revolution, developed into one of the finest receivers at both the collegiate, and professional levels (Oakland Raiders.)
Biletnikoff was Florida State’s very first consensus All-American in 1964, and had a career 87 receptions for 1,463 yards and 16 touchdowns.
As a senior he hauled in an FSU record (at the time) 57 receptions as a Senior, and finished fourth nationally, also scoring 11 touchdowns that year. He also managed a four touchdown in the postseason at the Gator Bowl.
What is most notable about Biletnikoff's career, is his life after FSU. After his second round selection of the Oakland Raiders in 1965, he played in an amazing six Pro Bowls, was the MVP of Super Bowl XI and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988. Just three years later he was also added to College Football Hall of Fame.
Fred Biletnikoff—stick'em at No. 5.
The best player to never win a Heisman.
Peter Warrick single handedly set, or broke virtually every record within grasp as an FSU receiver in 1999.
After a poor showing in the 1998 National Championship, where Warrick did virtually nothing to help FSU ensure it's second national title, the following season he single-handedly proved he was the best player in the country.
A Dillard's shopping spree aside, Warrick was easily the top player in the country during his Senior season, and had quite possibly the game of his life against Virginia Tech in the national championship game, catching two touchdown passes (one that most fans still can't believe,) as well as another touchdown on a punt return.
Warrick was a two-time consensus All-American, who had more touchdown receptions (32) than any other FSU player, ever.
He finished his career as the ACC’s all-time receiving yardage leader with 3,517, second only to Ron Sellers on FSU’s career receiving yards list and receptions chart.)
In his final season, he caught 71 passes for 934 yards and eight touchdowns, and he carried a school record 40 straight games with at least one catch into the Sugar Bowl, averaging 13.2 yards per. Warrick also ran for 96 yards on 16 carries and three touchdowns, and he was equally dangerous as a punt returner—averaging 12.6 yards a return.
Pete Warrick—"catch me if you can," at No. 4.
When it's all said and "Dunn."
What can be said about the most celebrated, and best Running Back in the history of Florida State except, exceptional.
Warrick Dunn set, and broke every school record for running by a Running Back in his four seasons at FSU. He helped FSU to it's first National Championship, was instrumental in the Choke at the Doak, defeated Ohio State the following year in the Fiesta, and helped to defeat the No. 1 Gators to finish out the 1996 season.
There is no more complete player both on, and off the field than Mr. Dunn.
In his first year as a Seminole, (1993) Dunn earned freshman All-American honors.
As a sophomore, he became the first two-time 1,000 yard rusher in Florida State history, a pre-season Playboy All-American, and the MVP of the 1994 Sugar Bowl.
Dunn still holds the career rushing record of nearly 4,000 yards. He became one of only eight players to have his jersey retired.
Dunn was also a first-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he completed two 1,000-yard rushing seasons, and was invited to the Pro Bowl on each occasion.
Dunn will forever be remembered not just for his safety valve plays, but for his humanitarian efforts off the field.
As one of FSU's greatest athletes, his namesake will forever remind us of his contributions to FSU through his hard work, dedication, and philanthropy.
Warrick Dunn, truly an ALL-American Seminole at No. 3.
There's no escaping it.
Neon Deon, Mr. Prime-time—set the world on fire as an athlete at FSU. There isn't enough room in a Stephen King novel to describe what an influence Deion Sanders had on the Seminoles program, both on, and off the field.
Deion's penchant for flashy plays, rap videos, and being the best two-way player to ever live clearly put him as quite possibly the best player to ever play for FSU, at any position.
In his tenure, Deion was also a two-time consensus All-American (1987 and 1988,) winning the Jim Thorpe Award given to the nation’s top defensive back in 1988.
He had an incredible 14 interceptions in his career, and was an outstanding return man who led the nation in punt returns by averaging 15.2 yards as a senior in 1988.
Today, he still holds seven Florida State records for interceptions and punt returns. In addition to his merits on the football field, he lettered in two other sports (baseball and track.)
As a professional two-sport athlete, he has won a pair of Super Bowl rings (with San Francisco and Dallas) and also played in the World Series (with
Atlanta) as a pro athlete, he is often considered the finest athlete ever to attend Florida State. Like several others on this countdown, Neon Deion also had his jersey retired in 1995.
Here's to you Primetime at No. 2.
Last, but certainly anything but least.
Least and Charlie Ward have nothing in common.
Mr. Football himself—Charlie Ward is the embodiment of all things Seminole. Charlie Ward not only won every single award he was eligible for as a senior, but he currently holds many of the passing records as a player who only started two full seasons.
Ward was more versatile than his accolades could ever describe, and he lettered in two sports (Basketball and Baseball.) He was also an avid tennis player and baseball player.
Ward's on-field accomplishments in his two seasons as a starting quarterback will likely be marveled by FSU fans for generations. Leading the Seminoles to a Orange Bowl win in 1992 as a junior, posting an 11-1 record, losing only to eventual National Champion, Miami by a score of 19-16.
Ward would come back in his senior season to defeat the reigning Champion Hurricanes 28-10, and would battle down to the wire in a close loss to the Fighting Irish in South Bend.
Fortunately, the loss would not sting nearly as long, as Ward and FSU rebounded to win out the remainder of their season, beating rival UF at season's end. A loss to No. 17 Boston College would eliminate Notre Dame from the National Title hunt, and FSU would face undefeated Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. With undefeated West Virginia losing to the Gators in their bowl game, FSU would stake it's claim to it's first national title in the history of the school. Ward, of course, was named the MVP.
In his career, he completed 264-of-380 passes as a senior for 3,032 yards with 27 touchdowns, and just four interceptions.
The best game of his senior year was a 446-yard, four-touchdown performance in a 33-21 win at Florida.
He was the first consensus All-American Quarterback at FSU, and posted an unbelievable 22-2 record in his two seasons as a starter. During his freshman and sophomore years, he also took snaps on fourth down, as the team's punter.
After his career at FSU, he turned down multiple opportunities to play in the NFL and went on to a successful career with the New York Knicks. Since his retirement, Charlie has begun work mentoring and coaching a high school football team in Texas, and has renewed his commitment to helping FSU become a success—much like it was during his time in Tallahassee.
Charlie Ward—the most decorated, most talented, and most well-rounded player on our countdown.
Charlie Ward—No. 1.