This ESPN Mt. Rushmore thing is excellent. I like it because it's not simply the best four players in a state, but it really represents the four people who contributed the most to sports in that state.
So, carrying this to FSU football means we don't necessarily rank players by ability, but by what they meant to the university.
Obviously, Bobby Bowden should be a unanimous choice for FSU's Mt. Rushmore. Regardless of your feelings on what has happened in the 2000s, his legacy at Florida State is unassailably secure.
But what about the next three?
Here is my take:
2) Ron Simmons. You have all heard me preach and post about Simmons before. I won't repeat the stories of him tackling all three options in the veer -- IN ONE PLAY -- or his sick TFL stats. He was, simply put, the greatest defender to ever play at FSU. And he earned that title during the crucial years when Florida State football morphed into a national power -- in the late 1970s.
3) Charlie Ward. He was the first Heisman trophy winner and first national championship quarterback in school history. But perhaps even more than that, he brought a "cool" factor to FSU football we had really never had. It's kind of like Stephan Curry right now in basketball -- you just HAVE to watch when he plays because you know he's at a level of artistry nobody else can touch.
I think there is drop off from 3 to 4. Freddy B. is a possibility. So is Doak Campbell, Bill Peterson deserves consideration. And most people will put Deion Sanders here Deion was one of a kind, but frankly, I think he belongs on the "Deion Sanders Mr. Rushmore" more than FSU. By that I mean, he was about bringing attention to himself. He has not been a distinguished alum and I don't think he belongs on the mountain, even though he was probably the best pure cover corner in college football history. Another player I feel really strongly about is Rohn Stark, the greatest special teams player in FSU history.
Nevertheless, I'm going to hop out of the box and instead go with ...
4) The Puntrooskie play: Yes, it's a play and not a person (put Leroy Butler's mug up there if you feel that strongly about it), but this play, in my opinion, set the tone for the rest of the decade in which FSU's dynasty was in its heydey. The message it sent to the college football world was: If you come play here, it's going to be fun, we're going to play big games and we're not afraid to try anything. Call me crazy, but I think if we punt it away and lose that game, the program would have really suffered.
By the way, if this were FSU SPORTS, not just football, some other names to consider:
Dave Cowens, Buster, M. Martin, Hugh Durham, Deckerhoff, and probably lot of others.