Anthonia "Amp" Lee, RB, 1989-1991
The 24th-ranked player on the Florida State University Top 25 All-Time list is tailback Amp Lee.
Some players, like no. 25 Jamie Dukes, worked their way on to the list by having long, consistent careers that saw them develop into solid players. Other players, like Lee, burned bright for just long enough to make a permanent impression on anyone who saw them play before moving on just as quickly as they came.
Amp Lee played just three years at Florida State, starting only two of them. But he amassed over 3,000 all-purpose yards over those three seasons and scored a jaw-dropping 38 touchdowns. While he never ran for more than 1,000 yards, he also never got more than 190 carries in either season as a starter but still averaged 5.2 yards per carry and scored 27 of his 30 rushing touchdowns in those years.
Coupled with his receiving abilities out of the backfield, Lee became a dynamic presence on a Florida State team that finished ranked 4th in the nation both years he started.
Lee's statistical resume is very good (he is third all-time in rushing touchdowns at FSU, 10th all-time in scoring), but Amp really deserves to be on the list for the unbelievable athleticism he displayed in his time at Florida State.
There are players at every level of football that earn their distinguished spot in the sport's history through sheer statistical blunt force. At the NFL Hall of Fame level you could argue that at no point in his impressive career was Emmitt Smith ever the most talented running back in the NFL (that distinction usually belonged to guys like Barry Sanders and Terrell Davis). But his numbers were the most consistent and eventually ended up being the best. Nobody questions his inclusion in top players lists or the Hall.
Gale Sayers would be the antithesis of that kind of player, a guy with a short, brilliant career that leaves anyone who saw it forever in awe.
I'm certainly not saying Amp Lee was Gale Sayers, but you could definitely argue he was one of, if not the most, talented players to ever carry the rock under Bobby Bowden.
Think back to one of the most impressive running plays in the past ten years... It's hard not to mention Reggie Bush's run against Fresno State– the one where he basically dekes out an entire defense.
It's hard not to be impressed by that, but now take a look at this run by Amp Lee about 14 years earlier in 1991 and try not be amazed by the similarities...
One of the biggest differences between those runs is that Reggie Bush goes allegedly goes "behind-the-back" on that run, which is great because that was at home against a team that would finish 8-5 in the Mountain West. Lee's 44-yard run (the longest of his career) came against a Michigan team that finished the season ranked third in the country in front of a sold out crowd on the road at the Big House.
But other than the disparity in competition and the behind-the-back thing, those are pretty similar runs. That's the sort of athlete Amp Lee was.
Lee would go on to be drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2nd round, 45th overall, in 1992. His NFL career lasted until 2000, he played for four teams (49ers, Vikings, Rams and Eagles) and found his niche in the league as a receiving back.
Lee made just 14 starts in 124 games and finished his career with 388 carries, 1,512 yards and seven touchdowns. But he had 335 receptions for 3,099 yards and 15 touchdowns out of the backfield in that time. In 1997 he had the best year of his career, going over 900 all-purpose yards and being voted offensive MVP by the Rams.
He currently coaches running backs for the Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL.
Join us tomorrow when we reveal number 23 on the list of All-Time Seminole greats...
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