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Florida State Football: The Top 25 Greatest Seminoles of All Time

Daniel BrommerCorrespondent IMarch 20, 2011

Florida State Football: The Top 25 Greatest Seminoles of All Time

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    Allen Steele/Getty Images

    Florida State has seen their share of outstanding players in their rich history; most of them coming in the 43 years that Bobby Bowden roamed the sidelines.

    There were the players that were part of what is known today as the dynasty from 1987-2000 where Florida State finished in the top five consecutively for 14 years straight. Then there were the first batch of players under Bobby Bowden that laid the foundation for the great years to come. There were players that helped win national championships and conference championships; and then, there were the players that helped get Florida State into the national spotlight where they have resided for the past two-and-a-half decades.

    Here are the top 25 players in Florida State’s history.

25. Corey Sawyer

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    One of the great line of defensive backs for Florida State, Sawyer was a consensus All-American in 1993 after finishing the year with six interceptions and being part of the national championship team that defeated Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.

    While he isn’t well known among some of the greatest of all time at Florida State, his numbers explain themselves.

24. Clay Shiver

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    The anchor to the 1993 national championship team, the center was a consensus first team All-American in 1995. He perfected the shotgun snap for Charlie Ward, and in 700 snaps, gave up just half a sack in the national championship campaign.

23. Marvin "Snoop" Minnis

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    While he played on the 1999 national championship team, his coming out party came the year after in 2000 when he was a consensus All-American and tallied 1,340 receiving yards with 11 touchdowns. He was a perfect counterpart to Peter Warrick who was already established as one of the top receivers in college football at the time.

    Marvin “Snoop” Minnis remains one of the most popular players ever at Florida State.

22. Jamal Reynolds

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    Had his breakout season in 2000 when he recorded 12 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hurries, four forced fumbles and three safeties leading the way to a consensus All-American selection and a Lombardi Award.

    He was part of the 1999 national championship team and had one of the greatest seasons in terms of being a defensive end, in Florida State history.

21. J.T. Thomas

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    Another great defender in Florida State history, Thomas started out as a corner before converting over to safety. He has the record for most interceptions in a game by a Seminole with three.

    After a sensational sophomore season, Thomas was finally named to the All-American team as a senior and went on to have a great career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, winning four Super Bowls. He was elected into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 1979.

20. Greg Allen

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    One of the greatest offensive players in Florida State history, Allen found himself on an All-American team every year he was at Florida State including being a consensus first team All-American in 1983.

    He had 3,769 yards with 43 touchdowns in his career and holds the Florida State record with 322 yards in a single game. He was elected to the Florida State Hall of Fame in 1990.

19. Paul McGowan

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    The first Butkus award winner in Florida State history, McGowan was a great linebacker in the 80ss and was an AP All-American in 1987 when he had 150 tackles and two sacks.

    He recorded 446 tackles in his career and was elected into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 1994.

18. LeRoy Butler

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    Butler was asked to take the task of replacing Deion Sanders when he left for the NFL. Butler moved from safety to cornerback and flourished, nabbing seven interceptions and garnering consensus first team All-American honors in 1989.

    While Butler would go on to have a great NFL career with the Green Bay Packers, his stardom started in Florida State where he became famous for the “punt-rooskie” against Clemson.

    He was elected into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 2001.

17. Sebastian Janikowski

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    Janikowski is arguably the best kicker in college football history. He is the only kicker to ever be drafted in the first round with the 17th pick by the Oakland Raiders in 2000.

    After being a first team Freshman All-American in 1997, he was a consensus All-American in 1998 and 1999 while winning the Lou Groza award in both those seasons.

16. Corey Simon

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    Another great defensive lineman in Florida State history, Simon was the anchor to the defense that captured the 1999 National Championship.

    He was a consensus All-American that year after recording 84 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and four sacks.

    Simon was elected into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 2010.

15. Andre Wadsworth

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    Up until the 1997 season, Wadsworth was just a good player, then he exploded onto the scene with 16 sacks from his defensive tackle position.

    He would be named a consensus All-American, ACC Player of the Year, ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the Outland Award and the Lombardi award. He was drafted third overall in the 1998 draft, the highest spot ever for a Florida State player.

    He was elected into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 2004.

14. Reinard Wilson

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    Another great defensive end to wear the Garnet and Gold, Wilson was a consensus All-American in 1996 after recording 13.5 sacks, 22 tackles for loss and 105 total tackles.

    He was a freshman during the 1993 national championship team, and he holds the school record with 35.5 sacks over his career.

    He was selected 14th overall in the 1997 NFL draft, and he was elected to the Florida State Hall of Fame in 2009.

13. Alex Barron

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    Barron may have been the best offensive lineman ever for Florida State.

    He was a consensus All-American in 2003 and 2004. He was the anchor of the line and left tackle and was selected 19th overall in the 2005 NFL draft.

    While he hasn't produced thus far in the NFL, he was one of the best left tackles in college football when he wore the Garnet and Gold.

12. Marvin Jones

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    One of the finest linebackers to ever play college football, Jones is the only Florida State defender to take home the Butkus and Lombardi award in the same year.

    He was a two-time consensus All-American and finished fourth in the Heisman balloting in 1991.

    He was elected into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 2000 and was the fourth overall pick in the 1993 NFL draft.

10. Warrick Dunn

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    One of the most recognized players in college football history and one of the most respected.

    Warrick Dunn is the best running back that the ‘Noles have ever had. He holds the record for most yards in a single season with 1,242 yards and the career rushing total with 3,959 yards.

    He was part of the 1993 national championship team and his No. 28 jersey is retired at Florida State, and he was elected into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 2002.

    Ward would go on to have a long career in the NFL after being drafted 12th overall in the 1997 NFL draft. 

9. Terrell Buckley

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    Another famous cornerback in Florida State’s rich tradition, Buckley still holds the school record with 12 interceptions in his final year at Florida State and 21 total for his career.

    Buckley was a consensus All-American in 1991—the same year he took home the Jim Thorpe award.

    He was elected into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 2003.

8. Derrick Brooks

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    When you think about all of the defensive players in the history of Florida State, Derrick Brooks is one of the first names to come to mind. He was part of the very first national championship team under Bobby Bowden, and he was a consensus two-time All-American.

    He was also a three-time first team All-ACC player and took home the ACC Player of the Year award in 1994. He changed the way the outside linebacker position was played by combining rare size and speed and the ability to cover receivers like a cornerback.

    He was elected into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 2000.

7. Ron Sellers

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    Arguably one of the greatest college receivers of all time.

    Sellers was another breakout star who followed close behind Biletnikoff. Sellers was a two-time All-American and his final two years at Florida State he had 70 catches for 1,228 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior and 86 catches for 1,496 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior—both seasons in just 10 games.

    He recorded a reception in 30 straight games and averaged 119.9 yards a game.

    He holds all the receiving records at Florida State—212 receptions for 3,598 yards.

    His number was retired at Florida State, and he was elected into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 1977.

6. Fred Biletnikoff

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    First All-American ever for Florida State. Widely regarded as one of the “first receivers” in college football due to the fact that the wide open pass attacks had not yet been introduced to college football.

    His senior season proved to be very successful.

    He recorded 57 catches for 11 touchdowns, one touchdown every five catches, and he capped it all off with four receiving touchdowns against Oklahoma in the Gator Bowl.

    Now, the top receiver in the country is awarded with the Biletnikoff award, named in his honor.

    He was the second overall pick in the 1965 NFL draft and went on to be a Hall of Famer. His number is retired at Florida State.

5. Peter Warrick

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    One of the many faces of the Florida State football program, Warrick was one of the great college receivers ever and one of the most explosive offenses college football has ever seen.

    He was a two-time consensus All-American and was a vital part to the 1999 national championship team. He holds the record for the most receiving touchdowns in Florida State history with 32 and totaled 207 receptions for 3,517 yards over his career—a 17.0 yards per catch average.

    Warrick was also just as deadly as a return specialist where he accounted for 937 career punt return yards, a 13.0 yard per return average with three career punt return touchdowns.

    He is one of the best players to ever wear the Garnet and Gold, and he was elected into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 2010.

4. Ron Simmons

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    The most dominant player in Florida State defense history.

    Sellers was a trend setter, and he was the first great defender under Bobby Bowden.

    He took the Seminoles to consecutive Orange Bowl appearances in 1979 and 1980, and the 'Noles arguably would have won those games had he played in them. He was a two-time All-American, and his record of 25 sacks and 44 tackles for loss lasted for 23 years. He was the first Seminole defender to have his number retired.

3. Chris Weinke

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    The greatest quarterback in Florida State history, Weinke was the second Seminole to win the Heisman while guiding his team to a wire-wire national championship season in 1999.

    Weinke started off as a baseball player but returned to football at the ripe age of 24 years old. He would go on to direct one of the greatest offenses in college football history.

    He still holds the record for most passing yards in a career with 9,839 and in a single season with 4,167. His record at Florida State was 32-3, and he has the most passing yards in a single game in Florida State history when he passed for 536 yards against Duke in 2000.

    His No. 16 jersey was retired in 2001.

2. Deion Sanders

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    Primetime.  Of course this is going to spark arguments as to whether he should be at the top of this list. He never won a national championship, he wasn’t a Heisman winner but he is the best cornerback ever.

    His career at Florida State was much like his professional career—amazing. He burst onto the scene in such a flashy manner. He was a two-time consensus All-American, but he should’ve been a three-timer on that list.

    He has 14 career interceptions and three defensive touchdowns, but much like his professional career, it was a rarity for the ball to be thrown in his direction. He was also a dynamic punt returner having 1,429 total return yards with three touchdowns. He won the Thorpe award in 1988 and was drafted fifth overall in the 1989 draft.

    He was elected into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 1994 and his No. 2 jersey was retired in 1995.

1. Charlie Ward

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    The first Heisman winner ever at Florida State was also the first ever national championship quarterback for the ‘Noles. Charlie Ward is the best player ever at Florida State, not because of his stats, but because of how well he performed on the field.

    He had total control of the offense which up until that point had never seen anyone with the talent and athleticism that Ward possessed.

    Ward’s number was retired in the same year he won the Heisman—1993.

    He was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006 and is still recognized as one of the greatest football players in college history.

    He is the only Heisman winner to play in the NBA.

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