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July 03, 2013

FSU Top 25: Honorable Mention (Off-Field Contributions)


We'll kick off the list of the top 25 Florida State Seminoles with some honorable mentions. Tomorrow I'll list several players that narrowly missed inclusion in the list on the basis of their on-feld resumes. 

But today we'll start with three guys who played for Florida State and played well, but made a bigger impact off the field than on it. That's not to say they weren't all talented, but ambitions that extended beyond their playing days are what have set these three Seminoles apart. 

Here are the three Seminoles who earned honorable mention for bringing distinction to Florida State off the field.

3.) Myron Rolle, Safety, 2006-2008

Rolle was a solid safety but he played on defenses that struggled at the end of the Mickey Andrews era. In three years Rolle tallied 206 tackles (7.5 for loss), defended 13 passes and notched one interception. 

His bigger accomplishments came off the field though. In a period where Florida State vacated losses as a result of an academic cheating scandal Rolle served as a moral beacon in the Seminole program and helped to deflect a lot of scrutiny by virtue of his academic accomplishments. Much like Tim Tebow served to smooth over the 30+ arrests during the Urban Meyer era at Florida, Rolle earned a Rhodes Scholarship and helped the country forget that just a year earlier the Seminoles were forced to essentially start their second team (augmented with walk-ons) in a loss to Kentucky in the 2007 Music City Bowl as a result of the aforementioned scandal.

Rolle graduated with a degree in Exercise Science in just two and a half years (graduating after the Fall semester of his junior year). He earned a 3.75 along with his Rhodes scholarship and moved to London to study at Oxford for a year before beginning his NFL career. While Rolle didn't have a ton of success professionally, he admitted from the time he arrived in Tallahassee that he wasn't all that fixated on the NFL as his ultimate ambition. He wanted to be a doctor. He is currently attending medical school at Florida State.

2.) Lee Corso, RB/DB, 1953-1956

For the majority of fans born after 1985, Lee Corso is known as the highly animated, mascot-head-wearing co-host of ESPN's College Gameday. That may be a disservice to Corso though. He was once one of the most highly recruited football players in the country and came to be known as the Sunshine Scooter at Florida State.

Fans of NCAA Football, the EA Sports videogame franchise may have heard Kirk Herbstreit jokingly chide Corso about his exploits as a player during their simulated commentary. Truth be told, Herbstreit likely couldn't have carried Corso's jockstrap if they played in the same era. In four years at FSU Corso racked up 1,267 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, he caught 36 passes for 409 yards and three touchdowns while also playing quarterback, returning kickoffs and punts and lining up on defense. Beyond football, Corso also played baseball and a year of basketball. He was a dual-threat, multi-sport athlete.

Many experts consider Deion Sanders the greatest pure cover corner in the history of football, (spoiler) he will be on the top 25 list near the top. But what most people probably don't know (and Primetime certainly never advertised) is that Deion finished his Seminole career tied with Lee Corso at 14 interceptions.

Corso became a graduate assistant at FSU after his eligibility ran out before working his way up to head coaching positions at Lousiville and Indiana over the course of a 25 year coaching career. He really broke out on ESPN"s College Gameday though. Corso, much like Dick Vitale did in basketball, became a psuedo-celebrity at ESPN for his over-the-top antics, his excitability and his trademark mascot-head-wearing game predictions at the end of each telecast. Corso was inducted into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 1978.

1.) Burt "Buddy" Reynolds, RB, 1955-1957

Before he was a famous movie star, he was Buddy Reynolds, a tailback at Florida State. On his first ever touch, Reynolds took a pass 33 yards against the University of Georgia. Reynolds played with Lee Corso for a couple years, at times even lining up in the same soon-to-be-famous backfield with the Sunshine Scooter. Sadly, Reynolds' career would be cut short by injuries and he would never realize the potential he was credited with having when he walked on to campus- at least not on the field anyway.

Reynolds ran for 146 yards and scored twice while he was a player at Florida State, he also returned kicks and saw some time on defense, but he is most famous for becoming one of the biggest movie stars of the 70's and 80's. Perhaps FSU's most famous alum of all time, he has graced the Hollywood screen in over 170 titles. He has been nominated for an Academy Award and won Emmy's, Golden Globes and People's Choice Awards for his work in movies like Boogie Nights and Smokey and the Bandit. 

Reynolds' impact at FSU was not limited to a couple of injury plagued seasons and the publicity he generated on the big screen though. He has been a dedicated Seminole booster since graduating and even had the former athletic dormitories named after him (as a result of his financial contributions) until the most recent renovations spearheaded by Jimbo Fishers added newer, more state of the art dorms. He was inducted into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 1977. 


I'll be back tomorrow with some of the near misses from the top 25 list...


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