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27 posts from July 2013

July 31, 2013

FSU All-Time Countdown - No. 4 - Peter Warrick


Peter Warrick, WR, 1995-1999

Inducted into the Florida State University Hall of Fame in 2010

Without a doubt one of the most dominant athletes to ever play at Florida State, Peter Warrick was almost always the most dangerous player on the field.

There are players that catch a lot of touchdowns or run fast or make good cuts, but those kinds of descriptions don't do justice to the kind of explosiveness that Warrick brought to a football field. Before guys like DeSean Jackson and Devin Hester were making explosive returns and breaking oppsosing defenders' ankles, Peter Warrick was dropping jaws in Tallahassee.

Born in Brandenton, Florida, Warrick was a Seminole from the time he was in high school starring for Southeastern High (also the Seminoles). He earned national attention from a handful of programs but accepted an offer from Bobby Bowden to come play at Florida State in 1995.

After a redshirt season, Warrick made it on to the field in 1996 and immediately flashed potential with a 21.2 yard average and four touchdowns. He was just getting warmed up. His sophomore encore featured 53 receptions for 884 yards and 8 touchdowns, which got him first team All-ACC honors, put him on the map nationally and got Seminoles fans talking about Warrick as the next great Seminole receiver in the Florida State line.

He didn't disappoint, earning consensus NCAA All-American status in each of his final two season at FSU. As a junior Warrick average 20.2 yards per catch, hauling in 61 passes for 1232 yards and a career-high 12 touchdowns.

The following season Warrick was on pace for his best year when he was suspended mid-year for his involvement in the now-infamous Dillards incident that saw him and teammate Laverneus Coles purchase over 400 dollars worth of designer clothes for just 21 dollars. 

Coles was kicked off the team, Warrick missed three games and in essence lost a shot at a Heisman trophy and several Florida State receiving records.

Warrick still came back to have a major impact during Florida State's 1999 National title campaign, including hauling in the decisive touchdown catch late in the Sugar Bowl against Virginia Tech to seal FSU's second championship in the '90's. The 5-11 195-pound receiver finished 1999 with a career high in receptions (71) and had 934 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. But he missed Ron Sellers career receiving record by just 81 yards when it was all said and done- instead finishing second in school history.

He finished his career at Florida State second all-time in receptions and career yards, but first in touchdowns. Warrick's 32 is the most by any receiver ever at the historically pass-happy university.

But that doesn't tell the whole story. Warrick is not this high on the list for simply being an excellent receiver. In fact the term "receiver" probably diminishes what Warrick really was for Florida State, he was a playmaker. 

No matter where Warrick lined up for Florida State, defenders needed to pay attention to him or he could scorch a whole defense. Warrick didn't just catch passes, 41 times during his career Florida State handed the ball off to him, he scored on four of them. Aside from the fact averaging a TD every ten carries is a nice ratio for anyone, think for a second what that kind of ability does to a defense.

For the last two years Warrick played at FSU in 1998 and 1999, every time FSU even motioned Warrick, or faked a reverse or an end-around or any kind of trickeration where Warrick got the ball behind the line in space, you'd see half a defense get out of position in anticipation of Warrick getting the ball.

That opened up a lot of other things for Florida State on offense, got a lot of other players open, created a lot of mismatches. But even if the defense was right and Warrick did get the ball and they were in position, a lot of times it still didn't matter.

And then there were Warrick's return skills. He averaged 13 yards per punt return and could score from anywhere on the field, going for return TD's of 75 and 90 yards over his career at Florida State. 

This was at a time when Sebastian Janikowski was driving the ball through the uprights regularly on kickoffs and FSU's offense was rarely punting. The field position game against Florida State in those years was not a winnable proposition. Teams were unlikely to start anywhere beyond their own 20 when FSU kicked and they had to kick it to Warrick if they couldn't convert on offense. None of that sounds appealing.

Warrick was arguably the most dynamic player (at least with the ball in his hands) to play at Florida State through the entire 90's. That was FSU's hey-day, and there are certainly plenty of suitable candidates for that title, but nobody had the kind of flash or brought the level of excitement that Warrick could.

Lightning in a bottle is a cliche because of guys like Peter Warrick.


Next on the list is a future c/o 2014 NFL Hall of Famer

For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

July 30, 2013

FSU All-Time Countdown - No. 5 - Warrick Dunn

28 - Warrick Dunn

Warrick Dunn, RB, 1993-1996

Inducted into the Florida State University Hall of Fame in 2002

The smallest player on the countdown might have the biggest heart. Our next player still holds nearly every rushing mark in the Florida State record book, went on to tremendous NFL success and has never ceased to embody the spirit of humility and respect.

Warrick Dunn was one of the greatest players to ever wear the Garnet and Gold, but perhaps more importantly than that, he's also one of the best men to ever graduate from Florida State.

Of course FSU can't take all the credit for producing someone possessed of Dunn's virtue, the vast majority of Dunn's character can be attributed to the influence of his mother, Betty Smothers.

That's where Warrick Dunn's story starts.

Born on January 5, 1975 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Dunn was the oldest of six children in a single-parent family. His mother was a police officer who took a second job working private security just to make ends meet.

As a child Warrick showed immediate potential on the football field. By the time he was a sophomore he was leading his high school to the first Louisiana 4A State Championship in its history. By the time he was a senior he was a highly-touted recruit receiving offers from major D-1 programs. 

The joy of that success was short-lived though. Betty Smothers was gunned down in an armed robbery while off-duty on January 7, 1993- just two days after Warrick's 18th birthday. He was now the head of his own household and would have to finish raising his five younger siblings.

It would have been easy to crack under the pressure of that moment, but Dunn thrived. He'd be the first to admit he didn't do it alone though.

'The minute that I found out his plight, when he had lost his mother in the middle of his senior year and I met him for the first time, I just immediately fell in love with him" Bobby Bowden told the New York Times back in 1997. "I wrote him a letter when he signed with us: 'Son, I'm going to do my best to take care of you, to give you the leadership, even more than the other players.' ''

With the city of Baton Rouge kicking into help support Dunn's family via a memorial fund and Bobby Bowden's paternalistic support in Tallahassee guiding him, Warrick blossomed.

He earned freshman All-American honors on the Seminoles' 1993 National Championship team after rushing for 511 yards and four touchdowns with a 7.5 yard average. Then he went on to assault the Florida State record books, rushing for over 1,000 yards each of the next three seasons and finishing with the top career rushing mark in school history (3959) and three of the top five single season rushing performances ever at FSU.

Dunn's 1242 yards in 1995 are still the most in Florida State history, as are his 21 career 100+ yard games. His 37 career rushing touchdowns are second all-time. But Dunn was also quite proficient catching the ball as well, in his four years as a Seminole he hauled in 132 receptions for 1314 yards and 12 touchdowns. Dunn's overall total of 49 touchdowns is the most in school history.

But that doesn't capture it all either. While Warrick Dunn was at FSU the Seminoles were absolutely dominant. Winning a national title in 1993 and narrowly missing a second one in 1996. Bowden himself once told Malcolm Moran, ''The Warrick Dunn era is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me."

Dunn became a crowd favorite in Tallahassee- and everywhere else he played- almost instantly, to this day he's still the all-time favorite Seminole of many Florida State fans. At 5-9 180 he was almost always the smallest guy on the field and almost always the most electrifying.

He was drafted 12th overall by the Buccaneers in 1997 and played a 12 year career in Tampa and Atlanta that saw him run for over 10,000 yards. 

But Dunn's true legacy is much more than football. It all ties back to that fateful January night in 1993 when Warrick lost his mother. That moment and those feelings have lived on with him for the past 20 years. The grief he felt, the burden his mother endured that required her to work two jobs in the first place and the support he and his siblings received in their hour of need inspired Dunn.

Warrick Dunn used his life experiences and the platform football gave him to help others in similar situations rise up too. Plenty of athletes form foundations, talk about charity or like spout off about their religious beliefs. Warrick Dunn quite literally has put his money where his mouth is. 

Since Dunn's rookie season in 1997, his foundation has built 127 houses for single parents, helping 344 children in the process. Each house comes furnished and ready to live in, the charity is called "Home for the Holidays."

Doing this reminds Dunn of his mother.

Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

Warrick Dunn is more than deserving of his place as one of the top five Seminoles of all-time simply based on merit alone. Based on what Dunn accomplished on the field there's no denying he's one the greatest to ever wear Garnet and Gold. But there's something else about him too. 

When Seminole fans like to think of the quintessential Bobby Bowden player, a talented young man that lives up to the ideals Bowden embodied, you can't find a better example than Warrick Dunn.


Next on the countdown is the greatest receiver in Florida State history...

For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

July 29, 2013

FSU All-Time Countdown - No. 6 - Chris Weinke


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...

For all the latest Florida State news and update follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

July 27, 2013

FSU All-Time Countdown - No. 7 - Marvin Jones


Marvin Jones, LB, 1990-1992

Inducted into the Florida State University Hall of Fame in 2000

Like so many other players on this list, the lone thing standing between Marvin Jones and a spot closer to the top is the fact he left college a season early.

Had it not been for his decision to leave following the 1992 season Marvin Jones likely would have returned to FSU to preside over the Seminoles' national championship winning '93 defense. He could have become a three time consensus NCAA All-American, had a shot to challenge for the school record for tackles and would likely be the unchallenged selection for the greatest Seminole linebacker (possibly defender) of all-time.

As it stands, Jones can make one heck of a case for himself to be the greatest linebacker in Florida State history without that extra year. He was that good in just three.

Born in Miami, Jones graduated from Miami Northwestern before accepting a scholarship from Florida State to play under Bobby Bowden. He wasted no time making an impact, notching 133 tackles and an interception playing as a true freshman in 1990.

But his path there had hardly seemed like an obvious one just a few years earlier in Jones' life. At the age of 11 his world was rocked when the deaths of his mother, grandmother and a sister all came within months of one another. Two men stepped up to help Marvin through it, his father Nathaniel and his older brother Fred.

With his father working to support the family, Marvin's older brother Fred (a linebacker himself at FSU in his day) set about molding the shy young man into an athlete. Slowly Marvin's attitudes about his forced early morning workouts went from begrudging to accepting to excited. He went from pretending to be asleep as his older brother would try to pull him from bed to go work out, to beating his older brother up in the morning.

And the results were rapid. By 8th grade Marvin was dunking. By 16, he was making a name for himself on the highly-competitive South Florida high school football scene. By the end of his freshman year at Florida State he was a third team All-American in the eyes of the Associated Press.

Then, over the next two seasons Jones made running the ball up the middle against the Florida State defense a nightmarish proposition. From 1991-1992 he recorded 236 tackles, including 19 for loss and five sacks. 

As a sophomore in 1991 Jones finished the season as an NCAA Consensus All-American and was nominated to the All-American teams of seven different publications and media outlets. Then he had arguably the greatest season- at any position on the defensive side of the ball- in Florida State history as a junior in 1992.

How good was Jones in 1992? He was once agains selected an NCAA Consensus All-American, made 10 other All-American teams, won the Butkus Award, the Lombardi Award AND he finished fourth in Heisman voting. 

By the time he turned pro following the 1992 college season, he was considered the top linebacker in the whole country.

In a Sports Illustrated article titled, "Made in the Shade," written in April of 1993, Sally Jenkins summarized Jones' dominance by writing:

"By the end of the afternoon, in the face of enormous expectations, Jones, a 20-year-old junior linebacker out of Florida State, had succeeded in dazzling the scouts: He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 seconds; he bench-pressed 225 pounds 20 times; and he ascended to 38½" in the vertical leap. "He met the eyeball test, mentally and physically," says Charley Armey, the director of player personnel for the New England Patriots, who have the first pick but seem more in need of a quarterback than a linebacker.

"But beyond his numbers, the sheer weight of his presence on the field made him the most-feared player in the college ranks. The mobility Jones demonstrated as a Seminole was such that even at the pro level he will have to be reckoned with from sideline to sideline and in all situations. "He's an every-down player," says Armey. "You don't have to take him off the field on third-and-long or fourth-and-a-foot."

Jones was as intimidating a college player as has ever played at Florida State. He hit people with malice, made momentum-changing tackles in key moments and once broke a Duke quarterback's jaw with a forearm that could've made a UFC brawler blush. 

He was everything that made fans gravitate towards Florida State's defenses in that day- all wrapped perfectly into one NFL-ready package. 

The Jets took Jones fourth overall in the 1993 NFL Draft and he went on to play ten seasons- all in New York- earning All-Pro honors in 2000. 

Jones' 369 career tackles is still 8th best all-time at Florida State. He was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 2000 and could be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in the near future. He's easily one of the greatest Seminoles of all-time.


Next on the list is the most prolific quarterback in school history...

For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

July 26, 2013

FSU All-Time Countdown - No. 8 - Ron Sellers


Ron Sellers, WR, 1966-1968

Inducted into the Florida State University Hall of Fame in 1977

In Ron Sellers' day he was arguably the most dangerous receiver in all of college football. The tall, lanky receiver overcame perception and convention to achieve his status as one of the most dominant players to ever play the receiver position in college history by the time he was a senior at Florida State.

He also rewrote the Seminole record books along the way and still sits atop almost ever major receiving category to this day.

Born in Jacksonville, Florida, by the time Sellers was fielding college offers he had helped his high school win a state basketball championship and most people thought his athletic future would unfold on the hardwood. At 6-4 180, he was– by conventional standards– the wrong build to be a football player.

"Funny," Sellers said in a 1968 Sports Illustrated article, "but if I hadn't been so thin I probably would have gone to college on a basketball scholarship. But people kept telling me I was too light to play football; that I'd get killed. It made me mad and I decided I'd show everybody. And so when FSU offered me a football scholarship, I took it."

In an article titled, "Jingle Joints Should be Judged by His Cover," Pat Putnam waxed poetic about just how jarring Sellers' ability was in comparison to his physique.

"People see Sellers for the first time, standing around or warming up, and invariably they are confused. How could this guy be so good? For sure, with his long, skinny bowed legs and thin frame, he's the most unlikely looking player on the field. Sellers can run 50 yards in 5.5 seconds, but always he looks as though at any moment his arms and legs will go flying off in entirely different directions. A Houston defensive back nicknamed him "Jingle Joints.""

After the pregame jokes, Sellers and the Seminoles were typically the only ones laughing though. In his first season on the field in 1966, Sellers broke out with 55 receptions for 874 yards and three touchdowns. 

Then over his next two seasons he caught more passes for more yardage than anyone else in the nation over that span. As a junior in 1967 Sellers hauled in 70 balls for 1228 yards and 8 touchdowns. He was named a consensus NCAA All-American and six different media outlets and publications named him to their All-American teams. 

For his encore he turned in the greatest single season receiving performance in FSU history. He caught 86 passes for 1496 yards and 12 touchdowns– all school records. Somehow though, despite being named to nine different All-American teams, he wasn't a consensus NCAA selection that year. 

Sellers' record for receiving yards that season still stands to this day though. In fact, most of Sellers' records still stand to this day. His single season yardage and receptions marks from '68 are both Seminole records 45 years later. Sellers' 212 career receptions is also tops in Florida State history even to this day, as are his 3598 career receiving yards. 

How good was Sellers? Four of the top five single game receiving totals in Seminole history belong to Sellers. He played 30 games at FSU over his career and went over 100 yards receiving in 19 of them. He went over 200 yards receiving in five games. That Houston team that called him 'Jingle Joints?' 14 receptions, 214 yards and a score. 

Sellers was drafted in the first round, sixth overall, by the Boston Patriots in 1969 and went on to achieve modest NFL success. As a rookie in 1969 in the old AFL he caught 27 passes for 705 yards and six touchdowns. Over five seasons with three teams he ended up with 112 receptions for 2184 yards and 18 touchdowns.

He won a Super Bowl as a reserve on the 1973 Miami Dolphins in his final year of professional football.

People commented earlier in the countdown that Fred Biletnikoff should have been higher. Ron Sellers is the reason he's not. Biletnikoff played just a few years before Sellers, from 1962-1964, while Sellers played from 1966-1968. 

The numbers aren't even close. In the same number of seasons Sellers had more touchdowns, two and a half times as many yards and the teams he played on were better. That's not to discredit Biletnikoff, Bill Peterson was just getting a hold of the program at Florida State in his era wheras a lot of things had turned around and were working in Sellers' favor by the time he got to FSU in the latter half of the '60's.

But while Fred Biletnikoff is more famous for what he did in a celebrated NFL career, Ron Sellers is without a doubt one of the greatest college receivers of all-time. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and still presides over most of the receiving categories in the Florida State University record books to this day. 

His number 34 was just the second number ever retired at FSU. They didn't even wait a year to do it, retiring it the year he graduated– 1968.


Next on the countdown is one of the greatest linebackers in college history...

For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

July 25, 2013

TE Christo Kourtzidis Transferring from FSU


Florida State's tight end situation is looking dicier by the day. Shortly after finding out that starting tight end Nick O'Leary had been in a motorcycle crash, sophomore tight end Christo Kourtzidis' father confirmed to several Florida State news sites (Tomahawk Nation, Warchant) that FSU would be losing Christo to a transfer.

Kourtzidis had been rehabbing a torn labrum that would have kept him out until mid-season and after burning his redshirt season in 2012 on just a handful of plays, opted to leave Florida State rather than burn his second year of eligibility trying to come back from his most recent shoulder injury.

This move essentially decimates the Florida State tight end corps. Kevin Haplea, who transferred from Penn State last season, is already set to miss 2013 with a torn ACL and Jeremy Kerr is an incoming freshman who many feel is destined to become a tackle. That leaves Nick O'Leary- who just slid 150 feet on the pavement after a motorcycle crash that could have killed him- as the ONLY HEALTHY TIGHT END. 

Per what Kourtzidis' father told Tomahawk Nation, coaching turnover- specifically the loss of TE's coach James Coley to Miami- played a large role in the sophomore's choice to move on. Kourtzidis will take the year off before accepting a scholarship closer to home (in California) for the 2014 season.

Jimbo Fisher recently said the team has no plans to move another player to tight end.


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

July 24, 2013

FSU All-Time Countdown - No. 9 - Peter Boulware


Peter Boulware, OLB/DE, 1993-1996

Inducted into the Florida State University Hall of Fame in 2004

In terms of numbers and impact, Peter Boulware is the greatest pass-rusher in the history of Florida State University. 

Boulware was born in Columbia, South Carolina but opted to leave the state and attend Florida State University starting in the Fall of 1993. He redshirted that first season but practiced, watched film and learned the ropes of being a college athlete on a national championship defense that year. Then he put it to work over the next three seasons.

He didn't get his first full year as a starter until he was a junior in 1996, but that didn't stop him from tallying 15 sacks- in primarily a reserve role- during his first two seasons (94-95).

As a redshirt freshman playing mostly inside on the 1994 campaign, Boulware pulled down 37 tackles and five sacks. He followed that by shifting outside and picking up another ten sacks in his sophomore season despite making just two starts the whole year. 

Seemingly poised for a breakout year in 1996, Boulware did more than just break out. He shattered things like opposing quarterbacks' bones and the Florida State record books. Boulware made 68 tackles as a junior, including 20 for loss, but what made the nation sit up and take notice was his jaw-dropping 19 sacks. 

Those 19 sacks were good enough to get Boulware selected to seven All-American teams, including earning him consensus NCAA All-American honors. He was also named the national Defensive Player of the Year for obliterating Ron Simmons' previously held school record of 12 sacks. 

Had Boulware returned for a senior season he would have likely crushed Reinard Wilson's school record for career sacks too. He finished just a sack and a half back of Wilson (who notched 35.5 over a four year career at FSU that also spanned from 1993-1996).

Wilson never redshirted though and instead recorded two sacks in his true freshman season during 1993. Those two sacks made all the difference in terms of ensuring he got the record.

With another year of eligibility remaining, Boulware could have easily crushed that mark if he chose to come back.

But he didn't.

He turned pro, was drafted 4th overall by the Baltimore Ravens and proceeded to win Defensive Rookie of the Year his first season in the league. He pulled down 12 sacks that season after moving to outside linebacker. Chances are Reinard Wilson's record wouldn't have lasted long if Boulware had stuck around Tallahassee for another year.

Boulware played in the NFL for nine years, from 1997-2005, and spent his whole career with the Ravens. All nine of them next to future Hall of Famer, Ray Lewis.

Much like he did in Tallahassee when he arrived and walked into Derrick Brooks' lockerroom as a true freshman, Boulware found himself in a similar position in Baltimore. The year before the Ravens had spent the 26th pick of the draft on Lewis. He was already established as a starter and was entrenching himself as the leader of that unit (and later the whole defense) by the time Boulware showed up in 1997. 

The two teamed up to lead one of the most dynamic defenses of the late 90-s-early 00's. He was four times named to the Pro Bowl, was an All-Pro in 1999, won a Superbowl in 2000 and lead the league in sacks in 2001. He finished his career with 403 career tackles and 70 career sacks.

Those 70 NFL sacks are the most recorded by any Seminole at the pro level. It's actually the 74th most in NFL history.

During his career at Florida State, Boulware turned in the greatest single season any pass rusher has ever had. Considering the sheer volume of NFL-caliber defensive linemen to come through FSU, that's no small feat. 

Boulware is the greatest defensive lineman in Seminole history to many fans, but there can be debate about that title with several other players making solid cases themselves. But the greatest defensive line era in Florida State history was between 1994-1996. That's without a doubt.

While Boulware was tearing through offensive lines at a clip of 34 sacks in three seasons, Reinard Wilson had 33.5 over the same period. They combined for 19 in 1995 before Boulware was even a full-time starter. The year that both started in 1996 they combined for 32.5 sacks, Boulware matched the previous year's combined total by himself and both DE's broke Simmons' FSU single-season sack record. 

In 1996 FSU had the greatest tandem of pass rushers in its history and held opposing offenses to just 59 rushing yards per game. There were a combined 16 NFL seasons in the duo's future, both were picked in the first round of the 1997 draft. On one end of the line was the school's all-time career sacks record holder and on the other was the school's single season sacks record holder nipping at his heels for the career lead. 

Wilson entered 1996 just three sacks behind Ron Simmons' career record of 25. Boulware was ten back. By year's end only a sack and a half divided them as both were vying to set the new career mark at FSU- at the expense of opposing quarterbacks and offensive lines.

Oh, and future third overall pick Andre Wadsworth was collapsing offensive lines from his spot in the middle of that '96 defensive line.

That's a dangerous trio, but none went on to have the kind of NFL success Boulware did.

His 19 sacks in a season is a mark that may take decades to break. His 34 sacks in three years is still second all-time. 

And at least as far as this list is concerned, Boulware is the greatest pass-rusher in Seminole history.


Next up, the countdown's second oldest player...

For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

July 23, 2013

FSU All-Time Countdown - No. 10 - Terrell Buckley


Douglas Terrell Buckley, CB, 1989-1991

Inducted into the Florida State University Hall of Fame in 2003

If not for a guy named Deion Sanders, the next entry on the countown would be the top defensive back to have ever come through Florida State.  In fact, I'd go out on a limb and say Terrell Buckley would likely be the top DB in the history of about 110 other D1 schools around the country too.

Buckley was a stud corner who did more statistically in just three football seasons than any other player to ever play in the FSU secondary.

Born in Mississippi, by the time Buckley was fielding college offers he was one of the most decorated high school football players in the state's history. A two-time first team All-State pick, Buckley averaged 30 yards a punt return (including seven return TD's) and netted a HS-record 30 interceptions in his time at Pascagoula High School. 

He chose to attend Florida State- where a dynamic player named Sanders had just electrified the country as a three-sport star athlete for the Seminoles- and proceeded to become one of the ten greatest players in the history of that program.

I mention Sanders because the two corners are forever linked. Just a season after Sanders had left, Buckley was already in the Seminole secondary making a difference. But in a lot of ways coming in right after Sanders hurt Buckley from a historical perspective.

FSU had just had a brash playmaker in their secondary intercepting passes and returning kicks. Then a year later here was this three-sport star with confidence to spare returning kicks and intercepting passes. The similarities likely overshadowed just what a once-in-a-generation sort of player Buckley was in his own right.

That Sanders and Buckley came back to back and both played alongside Leroy Butler is almost an anamoly. Programs can play 100 years and not get three defensive backs of that caliber. FSU got three within seven years.

And while Primetime became an icon and would go on to become a Hall of Famer and arguably the greatest NFL cover corner of all-time. At FSU, T-Buck blew Primetime's numbers out of the water.

In one fewer year, Buckley had 50% more picks. Buckley's 21 interceptions in three seasons stands as a school record to this day. The next closest is Monk Bonasarte with 15 in a career. Sanders sits third with 14.

Punt returns? Buckley had a better career average and they each had three touchdowns. Both played the outfield for Mike Martin on FSU's baseball team (and made it to a college world series). Both lettered in track. Buckley's only crime was he didn't do it first.

After seeing considerable playing time as a true freshman in 1989, Buckley became one of the most dominant corners in the country from 1990-1991. He was selected a 2nd team All-American by three different publications in '90, then turned in the best performance by any defensive back in Florida State history in 1991. 

You just didn't throw on Terrell Buckley in '91. His 12 interceptions that seasons is still a school record at FSU. Put it this way, FSU finished second in the country in total defense last season and had one fewer interception as a unit than Buckley did on his own during the '91 season. The performance was good enough to win him a Thorpe award, consensus NCAA All-American honors and nine other All-American nominations from various outlets and media publications. 

21 picks in three seasons doesn't even tell the whole story. Buckley returned four of those picks for interceptions and totaled over 500 interception return yards in his career. That yardage mark is an NCAA record. 

Had Buckley opted to return for a senior season he could have put even more distance between himself and the next closest players in FSU's record books, but instead he turned pro and was selected fifth overall by the Green Bay Packers in the 1992 NFL Draft.

He had 50 interceptions over his NFL career, notching at least one in ever season he played- 13 consecutive years. He is also the youngest player in NFL history to return a punt for touchdown.

Terrell Buckley is one of the most dynamic players, not just in FSU history, but in college football history. He was a brash, ball-hawking corner who wouldn't hesitate to talk some trash and had all the tools to back it up. 

There have been some great corners in the history of Florida State, but few if any had better careers in the Garnet and Gold than Buckley did. 21 picks, seven non-offensive touchdowns, 500+ yards on interception returns. 

Terrell Buckley is without a doubt one of the best to ever play at Florida State University.


Next on the list is the greatest defensive lineman in school history...

For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

July 22, 2013

FSU All-Time Countdown - No. 11 - Ron Simmons


Ron Simmons, NG, 1977-1980

Inducted into the Florida State University Hall of Fame in 1986

To today's generation of football fans Ron Simmons is best known for his Hall of Fame professional wrestling career. He was the first black heavyweight champion in both WCW and WWE history and has enjoyed extensive success over a four decade career that has seen him wrestle under both his given name and the ring name "Farooq Asad." 

That he has reinvented himself and continues to bring recognition to Florida State in his post-football career- much as Lee Corso and Burt Reynolds did- is worthy of acknowledgement in and of itself. But unlike Corso and Reynolds, Simmons was a two-time consensus All-American.

By the time Simmons left Florida State he was arguably the greatest player to have come through the program up to that point. Fred Biletnikoff had gone on to achieve great success at the NFL level by that point, but in terms of what was done on the field for the Seminoles while playing in college it's hard to find a better career over the first 35 years of FSU's history.

Born in Perry, Georgia in 1958, Simmons would grow up to star as a tight end and linebacker on the Warner Robbins HS football team. By 1977 he was one of the most highly touted recruits in the country. He chose Florida State, which was a coup at the time for second-year head coach Bobby Bowden. 

In his very first game, as a true freshman in 1977, Simmons announced his presence by winning national lineman of the week honors for a dominating ten tackle performance against Southern Miss. That season from his middle guard position on the Seminole defensive line Simmons collected 128 tackles and 12 sacks.

In his first season Simmons had broken the single season school sack record, that record stood another 19 years until Reinard Wilson and Peter Boulware both broke it in 1996.

Simmons shifted to the nose for his final three seasons where he pulled down another 13 sacks over those three years to finish with 25 for his career. That mark also stood as a school record until it was broken by both Wilson and Boulware in 1996. Simmons is still third all-time at Florida State in sacks to this day.

His 483 career tackles were good enough for second all-time at Florida State in 1977 and that is where Simmons sits to this day as well. Second all-time in tackles, third all-time in sacks. 

Over his four year career Simmons was recognized on 19 different All-American teams and was an NCAA consensus All-American as a junior and senior. 

As Simmons' profile was rising nationally, so too was Florida State's. The Seminoles went 39-8 over his four seasons. After a Tangerine Bowl win during FSU's 10-2 1977 season, the Seminoles went 8-3 in Simmons' sophomore season and missed a bowl bid (this was back before the days of Emerald Nut Bowl and San Diego Credit Union Bowl when not every team went). But in 1979 and 1980 the Seminoles went to back-to-back Orange Bowls- finishing a then-school best fifth in the nation following the 1980 season. The 6-1 230-pound defensive tackle also never lost to Florida. 

After being drafted in the sixth round by the Browns in the 1981 NFL Draft, Simmons played a season in Cleveland before making CFL and USFL stops in Ottawa and Tampa. Then he hung up the cleats and put on the wrestling tights, embarkinging on a professional wrestling career that started in 1989 and continues to this day.

Simmons was inducted into the Florida State University Hall of Fame in 1986, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008 and the WWE's Hall of Fame in 2012. 

In the era right before Florida State's 14-year run from the late 80's into the early 00's, Simmons was one of the players helping to raise the Seminoles' national profile and put FSU squarely on the map.

Granted, in today's game a 6'1 230-pound defensive tackle could never even play at Florida State. Tim Jernigan is the lightest defensive tackle (likely to see playing time) on this year's Seminole roster- his weight is listed at 294 pounds.  If Ron Simmons played today, he would likely be left as a linebacker or maybe asked to play defensive end- provided he had the foot speed.

But in his time at Florida State, Simmons was one of the most dominant defenders in the entire nation. And without a doubt he was the best defender to have ever played at Florida State up to that point- evidenced by the fact Simmons' number 50 was the first defensive number ever retired at the school.

It was a different era, but Ron Simmons dominated that era. His place in the Seminole record books is still secure over 30 years after he graduated. He's one of the greatest Seminoles of all-time.


Next we break into the top 10 of the countdown...

For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

July 21, 2013

FSU All-Time Countdown - No. 12 - Reinard Wilson


Reinard Wilson, DE, 1993-1996

Inducted into the Florida State University Hall of Fame in 2009

Over a four year career at Florida State University, Reinard Wilson won a national title, teamed up with another All-time Seminole great to form the most dynamic pass-rushing duo in school history and shattered the FSU career sack record in the process, setting a new mark that stands to this day.

A whopping 35.5 sacks.

Reinard Wilson's career sacks record at Florida State could take decades to fall. It might not ever be broken, period.

Even with teams playing more games per season in this era, a multitude of factors in the evolution of the game have made notching even 25 sacks in a career a tall order. Not that getting 25 was ever easy, but 35.5? Bjoern Werner was as dominant as any defensive lineman FSU has had in the past decade and he would have needed another 12 if he had returned as a senior just to tie Wilson's mark.

It's a record that will require more than just talent if it's ever to be broken. It will require staying healthy and a little bit of luck in addition to elite athleticism just to even get close to 35.5 sacks again at Florida State.

Born in Gainesville, Reinard Wilson grew up and played high school football in Lake City, Florida before accepting a scholarship from Florida State. 

In his first year in Tallahasee Wilson saw time as a reserve defensive tackle, collecting 24 tackles and a couple of sacks as the Seminoles won their first national title. Then in 1994 Wilson slid outside to defensive end where he would unleash 33.5 sacks (just over 11 per year) over the next three seasons. As a sophomore he hauled down 40 tackles and 11 sacks, eye-opening numbers from a second-year player but not enough to garner him any postseason attention.

That all changed over the next two seasons though.

From 1995-1996 Florida State had the most dominant defensive line in the school's history. With Andre Wadsworth in the middle and Peter Boulware and Wilson rushing from either side the Seminole front lived on the other side of the line of scrimmage for two seasons. Over that time the trio combined for 55 sacks in two years, 50.5 of which came from Boulware and Wilson alone.

A heart-breaking Sugar Bowl loss was all that stood between the 1996 Seminole defense and taking a place in college football history as one of the most dominant units of all-time. That '96 defense allowed an average of just 59 rushing yards per game and the ends (Wilson/Boulware) combined for 32.5 sacks that year. 

Wilson was a cornerstone on both of those lines. After earning three honorable mention All-American nominations for his nine sack campaign as a junior, 13 more sacks as a senior earned him consensus NCAA All-American honors and All-American honors from six different media outlets in '96. 

He was drafted that Spring in the 1997 NFL Draft 14th overall by the Bengals and played a seven-year NFL career. 

On its face, Wilson's career sacks record could be worthy of his inclusion in the school's all-time top-5 just on its own. The most prolific sack-artist in the history of a school that's largely earned its national reputation on getting to the passer? That's a no-brainer for the top 15, but it doesn't tell the whole story either.

In a lot of ways Reinard Wilson's all-time FSU career sacks record is like Emmitt Smith's all-time NFL rushing record in terms of what they represent. Does Wilson's sack record mean he's one of the greatest Seminoles of all-time? Absolutely. Does having it make him the best ever though? No. 

Emmitt Smith is without a doubt one of the greatest NFL runners of all-time, he is not the best though. Whether you give that honor Walter Payton or Barry Sanders or someone else, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone that isn't a Cowboys fan that would even say Smith was the most talented back in his era. Most prolific? Yes. Best? No.

A lot of Smith's success came from his ability to stay healthy and the fact he played on offenses that were so good you couldn't afford to pay him extra attention. With Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin (both in the Hall of Fame) stretching out defenses for most of his career you couldn't afford to put extra men in the box to stop the run against Dallas. It didn't hurt running behind Moose Johnson either. 

The point is not to diminish Emmitt Smith, he had to go make the plays and be opportunistic and use his ability to reach the numbers that he did, but it would be crazy to discount the other things that helped get him there. 

Now jump back to Florida State and sack totals, Reinard Wilson is not so unlike Emmitt Smith. More than anything Wilson's sack record is a testament to his consistency.

Wilson was never the best player on that D-Line. Peter Boulware finished a sack and a half behind Wilson (34 total) in one less season at FSU, his 19 sacks in 1996 is still a school record.

And going by the inexact science of NFL scouting, Wilson was likely considered the third best player on those FSU lines as both Boulware AND Wadsworth were drafted higher.

Reinard Wilson profited from playing during FSU's heyday on defenses that had so much talent up front that opposing offenses had to pick their poison because they just couldn't block everybody. In 1996, offensive lines had a choice between paying extra attention to FSU's all-time single season sack leader, their all-time career sack leader and the highest NFL pick in FSU history. 

None of that is meant to be an indictment on Wilson though, he helped those other two out as much as they helped him. In fact, Wilson had his repuation first. His 11 sack 1994 season got him on the map before Boulware and Wadsworth were know quanitities. Peter Boulware saw his share of favorable matchups because Reinard Wilson was causing a ruckus on the other side of the line and vice versa.

The point was simply that this wasn't one guy from one side of the line doing it all by himself either. The numbers look a little better because the guys playing around him were elite too.

The unfortunate part, for Seminoles fans at least, is that the product of Boulware, Wadsworth and Wilson's dominance, that 1996 defense, doesn't get remembered outside of Tallahassee in the way it probably should be. 

But that doesn't change the fact that Reinard Wilson is one of the greatest Seminoles of all-time.


Next up is an All-Time great from the 1970's...

For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...



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