Top 10 Best Florida State College Football Players of All Time
Since 1902, the Florida State Seminoles have been playing football at their university. In that time, they have taken home three National Championships (1993, 1999, 2013). Across all of those years, they have had some incredible players. Below, we will discuss some of the best players in school history in greater detail.
Who Are the Best Florida State University Football Players of All Time?
- Chris Weinke
- Deion Sanders
- Ron Simmons
- Charlie Ward
- Jameis Winston
- Peter Warrick
- Ron Sellers
- Dalvin Cook
- Warrick Dunn
- Derrick Brooks
1. Chris Weinke
- 2000 Davey O’Brien Award
- 2000 ACC Player of the Year
- 2000 Heisman Trophy winner
One of Florida State’s three Heisman trophy winners, the greatest player in school history is quarterback Chris Weinke. Weinke led the team during the last part of the 1990s from 1997-2000. His senior year, in 2000, was certainly his best; in that year, he won the Davey O’Brien Award, the ACC Player of the Year, the Johnny Unitas Award, the Heisman Trophy, and a few others along the way.
On Florida State’s all-time passing lists, Weinke has the most passing yards (9,839) and the most passing touchdowns (79) in school history. In his four years at the school, Florida State went 45-5, and he led them to the National Championship in 1999. He also helped them win the Sugar Bowl in 1997. After his college career, the Carolina Panthers took Weinke in the fourth round of the 2001 NFL Draft. Florida State would eventually retire his number 16 jersey, solidifying his status as a Florida State legend.
2. Deion Sanders
- Two All-American selections (1987, 1988)
- 1988 Jim Thorpe Award winner
- #2 jersey retired by Florida State
One of the best defensive backs in college football history is Deion Sanders. Sanders starred for Florida State in the mid-1980s, from 1985-1988. He was a two-time All-American selection (1987, 1988) and won the 1988 Jim Thorpe Award. Additionally, he anchored a Florida State defense that helped the team to an overall record of 38-9-1.
Despite quarterbacks not often throwing his way, Sanders still managed to rack up 14 career interceptions and three career defensive touchdowns. Those 14 interceptions are good enough for third on Florida State’s all-time lists. Along with this great record, Sanders led Florida State to a Bowl Game victory in all four years he was there. After a senior season that included an eighth-place finish in Heisman voting, the Atlanta Falcons took him with the fifth overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft. Sanders went on to win two Super Bowls back-to-back with two different teams: Super Bowl XXIX with the 49ers and Super Bowl XXX with the Cowboys. His #2 jersey has since been retired by the Seminoles, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
3. Ron Simmons
- Two All-American selections (1979, 1980)
- 2008 College Football Hall of Fame inductee
- #50 jersey retired by Florida State
Another terrific defensive player for the Seminoles was Ron Simmons. A defensive lineman and linebacker, Simmons excelled with the team during the late 1970s, from 1977 to 1980. A two-time All-American (1979, 1980), Simmons eventually had his #50 jersey retired and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
Simmons’ notable numbers include having both the second-most tackles in team history (483) and the fourth-most sacks (25) in team history. His 12 sacks in 1977 are also tied for the ninth-most in team history. Helping Florida State to a 39-8 overall record and three Bowl Game appearances, including a victory in the 1977 Tangerine Bowl. While he had to wait for a while, Simmons still went on to be drafted in the sixth round of the 1981 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. His NFL career did not last long, but he did eventually become a solid player in the United State Football League (USFL).
4. Charlie Ward
- 1993 All-American selection
- Two ACC Player of the Year Awards (1992, 1993)
- 1993 Heisman Trophy winner
Charlie Ward is yet another great, National-Championship-winning quarterback for Florida State. Ward initially started his career as a punter for Florida State in 1989, before taking the 1990 season to turn himself into a quarterback. He then played the position for the Seminoles from 1991-1993, serving as the starter for his final two years. He won two ACC Player of the Year Awards (1992, 1993), was a 1993 All-American, won the 1993 Davey O’Brien Award, the 1993 Johnny Unitas Award, and led the Seminoles to the 1993 National Championship.
Despite only playing quarterback for two full seasons with the team, Ward still has the 12th-most passing yards (5,747) and the seventh-most passing touchdowns (49) in team history. Along with the 1993 National Championship, Florida State went 23-2 in his two years as the starter, and they won the 1992 Orange Bowl the year before winning the National Championship. Rather than enter the NFL, Ward actually turned to basketball, in which he was also an outstanding player, and went on to play in the NBA. Back at Florida State, his #16 jersey was eventually retired.
5. Jameis Winston
- 2013 All-American selection
- 2013 ACC Player of the Year
- 2013 Heisman Trophy winner
The final Heisman Trophy winner to make this list is Jameis Winston. Winston only played two years for the team, in 2013 and 2014, before heading off to the NFL. In his two years, he was named a 2013 All-American, won the 2013 ACC Rookie and Player of the Year Awards, won the 2013 Heisman Trophy, won the 2013 Davey O’Brien Award, and was named the 2014 ACC Athlete of the Year.
As for his numbers, even though he led the team for just two seasons, Winston sits in third place in the passing yards category (7,964) and second in the passing touchdowns category (65). In his two years, he led Florida State to a 27-1 record, winning the 2013 National Championship before suffering his only career loss in the Rose Bowl after the 2014 season. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers then took Winston with the number one overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Winston has had an up-and-down pro career, but he still is playing in the league eight years later, having played quarterback for the New Orleans Saints since 2020.
6. Peter Warrick
- Two All-American selections (1998, 1999)
- Three All-ACC Team selections (1997-1999
- #9 retired by Florida State
Our first wide receiver kicks off the second half of this list in Peter Warrick. Warrick was Chris Weinke’s favorite target during the late 1990s, playing on the team from 1995-1999 (1995 was a redshirt year for him). During that time, he made two All-American teams (1998, 1999), three All-ACC teams (1997-1999), and was named the MVP of the Sugar Bowl that took place after the 1999 season.
As for his all-time receiving numbers at Florida State, Warrick has the most receiving touchdowns in team history, with 32, and the third-most receiving yards in team history, with 3,517. Along with the Sugar Bowl victory, Warrick helped Florida State to a record of 45-4 and helped the team win the National Championship following the 1999 season. Once his time at Florida State was up, the Cincinnati Bengals took Warrick with the fourth overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, and he proceeded to play five seasons for them and one for the Seattle Seahawks before leaving the NFL and playing for a number of smaller arena and indoor football leagues. Like many others on this list before him, Warrick had his #9 jersey retired by the Seminoles.
7. Ron Sellers
- Two All-American selections (1967, 1968)
- 1977 Florida State University Hall of Fame inductee
- #34 retired by Florida State
Another great wide receiver for the Seminoles was Ron Sellers during the late 1960s. Sellers was a part of the team’s receiving corps for three years, from 1966-1968. He made two All-American teams in those three years (1967, 1968), and he went on to be inducted into the Florida State Hall of Fame and have his #34 jersey retired by the team.
Sellers’ career with the Seminoles currently has him at number two all-time in receiving yards (3,598) and number seven in receiving touchdowns (23) in program history. From 1966-1968, Florida State posted a respectable record of 21-10-2 and qualified for a Bowl Game each season. In the 1969 NFL Draft, the Boston Patriots selected Sellers with the number six overall pick in the Draft. He went on to have a solid career in the NFL that included a Super Bowl victory with the Miami Dolphins in 1973.
8. Dalvin Cook
- 2016 First Team All-American
- 2015 Second Team All-American
- Three All-ACC selections (2014-2016)
The greatest running back in Florida State history is also one of their most recent stars in Dalvin Cook. Cook led the Florida State backfield for three seasons from 2014-2016 before forgoing his senior season to enter the NFL. In his three years, he made an All-ACC team each season and was selected to two All-American teams (2015, 2016).
On Florida State’s career rushing leaderboards, Cook comes in at number one in both rushing yards (4,464) and rushing touchdowns (46). While he was at the school, the Seminoles posted a cumulative record of 33-7 and made a Bowl Game each year, capping off his tenure with a victory in the 2016 Orange Bowl. A few months later, in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings took Cook with a second-round pick. Cook has had an incredible NFL career so far, earning four Pro Bowl selections, and he still plays for the Vikings today.
9. Warrick Dunn
- Three All-ACC selections (1994-1996)
- 1996 All-American selection
- 1993 national champion
The penultimate player on this list is the second-straight running back in Warrick Dunn. Dunn was Charlie Ward’s running back for the 1993 National Championship team, leading the Florida State backfield from 1993-1996. In his four years, he made three straight All-ACC teams from 1994-1996 and was selected as a 1996 All-American team member.
When it comes to his numbers, Dunn’s 3,959 rushing yards are the second-most in team history, and his 37 rushing touchdowns are good enough for third in program history. Along with the 1993 National Championship victory, Dunn was a key part of Florida State going 43-5-1 from 1993 to 1996. The team won two Orange Bowls (1993, 1995) and the 1994 Sugar Bowl as well. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers then took Dunn with the 12th overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft, and he went on to play in four Pro Bowls, also earning the 1997 NFL AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, the 1997 NFL PFWA Offensive Rookie of the Year, and the 2004 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. His #28 jersey was eventually retired by the Seminoles to honor his great career.
10. Derrick Brooks
- Two All-American selections (1993, 1994)
- 1993 ACC Defensive Player of the Year
- 1994 Jack Lambert Trophy winner
The final player to round out this list is linebacker Derrick Brooks. Brooks was a four-year player with the Seminoles from 1991 to 1994. He was selected to two All-American teams (1993, 1994), won the 1993 ACC Defensive Player of the Year Award, the 1994 Jack Lambert Trophy, and helped Florida State win the National Championship in 1993.
An all-around talent, Brooks registered 274 tackles, 8.5 sacks, and five interceptions during his career with the Seminoles. In the early 1990s, with Brooks a major part of the defense, Florida State went 44-5-1, including the aforementioned 1993 National Championship. They also were victorious in four straight Bowl Games. Towards the end of the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took Brooks with the 28th overall pick, and he went on to have a Hall of Fame pro career, including 11 Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl win with the Buccaneers in 2002. Along with having his #10 jersey retired by Florida State, he is a member of both the Pro and College Football Halls of Fame.
While the players listed below did not quite make the top 10, they still deserve some recognition as honorable mentions. They are listed in alphabetical order by last name.
- Greg Allen
- Fred Biletnikoff
- Peter Boulware
- Terrell Buckley
- Aaron Carter
- Sebastian Janikowski
- Marvin Jones
- Danny Kanell
- Jamal Reynolds
- Bjöern Werner
Who is the best Florida State quarterback of all time?
Doubling as the greatest overall player in Florida State football history, the best quarterback ever for the Seminoles is Chris Weinke. Weinke led the team during the late 1990s from 1997-2000. His senior year was certainly his best, as he won the Davey O’Brien Award, the ACC Player of the Year, the Johnny Unitas Award, the Heisman Trophy, and others. He also led the team to the National Championship the year prior, in 1999.
Who is the best Florida State wide receiver of all time?
In Florida State history, the best wide receiver is Peter Warrick. Warrick played with the great Chris Weinke in the late 1990s, as he was on the team for five years from 1995-1999. In that time, he made two All-American teams (1998, 1999), three All-ACC teams (1997-1999), and was named the MVP of the Sugar Bowl that took place after the 1999 season. He also helped the team win the 1999 National Championship.
Who is the best Florida State running back of all time?
A current star in the NFL, the best Florida State running back of all time is Dalvin Cook. Cook was a key player for the Seminoles in the middle of the 2010s from 2014-2016 before heading off to the pros. In his three years, he made an All-ACC team all three seasons and was selected to two All-American teams (2015, 2016). He also is the team leader in both rushing yards (4,464) and rushing touchdowns (46).