Chris Weinke, QB, 1990-2000
Inducted into the Florida State University Hall of Fame in 2011
Let's get something out of the way right up front. A lot of people may look at Weinke sitting sixth and immediately blurt out, "that's low."
Yes and no. He's one of just two Heisman trophy winners and one of just two National Championship quarterbacks in the entire history of the program. He was also 27 and 28 years old when he won those two things.
Now granted, I'm not begrudging the talent or the success. But at a time when most quarterbacks are expected to be reaching their prime in the NFL, Weinke was playing in college against players that were still waiting to turn the legal drinking age. Weinke originally came to Florida State in 1990 out of St. Paul, Minnesota. He spent all of four days on the campus in Tallahassee though before deciding to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays to play professional baseball.
He came back to Florida State in 1997 at the age of 25 years old and proceeded to re-write the record books of a historically pass-happy school. He was the first three year starter at quarterback for Bobby Bowden and had a 32-3 career record at FSU– narrowly missing a second national championship in the 2000 season.
Weinke saw limited action as a redshirt freshman in '97 before taking over as the starting quarterback in 1998. In his first season he completed just over half of his passes (145-286) for 2487 yards, 19 touchdowns and just six picks.
The next season Florida State became the first and only wire-to-wire national championship team in the BCS era, Weinke along with guys like Peter Warrick, Ron Dugans and Snoop Minnis helped FSU pound teams that season as the Seminoles collected Bowden's second and last national championship. Weinke finished the year with 25 touchdowns passes and 3103 yards. Both were good enough for third all-time in a season at FSU.
The following year Weinke turned in his finest performance as a collegiate athlete. He broke Florida State records for touchdowns in a season, yards in a season and shattered virtually every career mark in school history.
His 33 touchdowns and 4167 yards are still season records at FSU, and that year the marks were good enough to help him practically sweep the post-season awards circuit. Weinke was named to five All-American teams, won the Unitas and Davey O'Brien awards and became just the second Seminole in school history to win a Heisman trophy.
Had the Seminoles fared better against Heisman runner-up Josh Heupel and the Oklahoma Sooners in that year's BCS title game, Weinke would likely be in the top three of this list.
As it stands Chris Weinke still holds every major Florida State passing record over a decade after his career at FSU finished. Touchdowns in a career (79), touchdowns in a season (33), Career completions (650), Lowest interception percentage for a career (.0289), Most yards for completion (15.14), Yards for attempt (8.9), Most yards for career (9893), Most yards in a season (4167). He also threw for more TD's and yards in a game than anyone in Florida State history.
He was drafted in the 4th round by the Carolina Panthers and played a seven year NFL career.
Weinke's legacy at Florida State is without a doubt one of the most impressive of all-time, but I would also be remiss not to have mentioned his age and experience playing professional baseball.
If being a former baseball player made you a great college quarterback by itself, Brandon Weeden would have been a national champion. So that's not to say it's easy to do what Weinke did. Far from it.But had he done it at 21 he would be in the top five, making a strong case for the number one spot.
Age however, does not discount the fact he is the most prolific passer in the history of one of college football's most notorious passing programs. Nor does it stop him from being one of the ten greatest Florida State Seminoles of All-Time.
Next up is the top five...
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