We're now 20 days into our countdown to the beginning of the 2016 Florida State football season. I've penned the majority of these pieces to date, and I can honestly say that I'm not sure I've seen a more loaded jersey number debate than the one that centers on 'Noles who have worn the garnet and gold No. 80.
A couple of earlier Seminoles earned Honorable Mention All-American selections wearing No. 80. End Tony Romeo in 1958 secured those honors from both the AP and UPI in 1958, ahead of being picked by Washington in the 19th round of the 1961 NFL Draft, while outside linebacker Terry Warren got the AP nod in 1987. Warren was a first-team All-South Independent honoree in both '87 and '88.
But about a decade earlier, another Warren -- defensive end Scott Warren -- made a strong claim to being the top 80 in FSU history. How about three straight years as an All-American? Moreover, a first team selection? Warren was a Churchman's first-teamer in 1977, 1978, and 1979, while also earning an AP Honorable Mention in '79. Warren also nabbed first-team All-South Independent honors in 1979, when he was a first-team Academic All-American.
Most tend to think of 80 as a receiver's number, and some great pass catchers have worn it at FSU. Tamarick Vanover was a first-team All-American as just a freshman, per The Sporting News, and a Freshman All-American according to Football News in 1992. Vanover was the Seminoles' leading receiver that year, with 42 catches for 581 yards and four touchdowns. He was also a gifted kick returner, and that same season, he returned a pair of kicks for scores, which still has him tied for the most single-season and career kick-return TDs at Florida State. Vanover still has the highest one-game kick return average in FSU history, as his three returns against Florida in '92 totaled 181 yards, for an average of 60.3 yards per return in a 21-point 'Nole win over the Gators. He was a 1992 second-team All-ACC selection in the Seminoles first year in the conference.
A consummate big-play threat, Vanover's 86-yard TD reception from Charlie Ward against Virginia in Florida State's title season of 1993 remains tied for the ninth-longest in program history. Vanover was named to the All-ACC third team in '93, and he's currently sixth in FSU history at 3.96 catches per game, coming in just ahead of E.G. Green and teammate Andre Cooper. He was taken by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round of the 1995 NFL Draft and was a consensus All-Rookie choice that season.
But when most present 'Noles think of the FSU No. 80, they probably associate it with one player: receiver Rashad Greene. And for good reason. Greene, after all, is Florida State's all-time leader in catches (270) and receiving yardage (3,830), and trails only Peter Warrick in career TD grabs, with 29. Greene's 99 2014 catches is the most ever in a single season for the 'Noles, and his 76 in FSU's title season of 2013 is the third-highest one-year total. In those years, he averaged 7.07 and 5.43 receptions per game-- third and 14th best in Seminole history, respectively. Only Ron Sellers has posted more receiving yards in a season than Greene's 2014 total of 1,365, and the latter's 2013, with 1,128, is seventh on the list as well. 2013 was the bigger TD year for Greene, though; his nine that season have him tied for 15th on the single-season list.
Greene is the only 'Nole ever to serve as the team's leading receiver for four straight years (2011-2014), a big reason he holds the program record for most consecutive games with a catch, at 43. Only Sellers has more 100-yard receiving games than Greene's 15 at FSU, and Greene's 192 points for the Seminoles is the 14th most at Florida State. He and Bobo Wilson were the last two Florida State players to each have 100+ receiving yards in a game, vs. NC State in 2014. Greene is also the last 'Nole to catch double-figure passes in a game, which he did against UVA in 2014. And a reliable punt returner, Greene returned two for TDs in 2012.
Greene was well decorated for his accomplishments. College Football News made him a 2011 Freshman All-American Honorable Mention, and he was also an ACC All-Academic honoree that year. He was an Honorable Mention All-ACC selection in 2012, but the accolades really began pouring in the following years, when he was an All-ACC first-team pick in both 2013 and 2014. Greene's senior campaign saw him earn second-team All-American honors from the AP, the FWAA, Scout.com, The Sporting News, and an Honorable Mention nod from SI.com. Greene was a fifth-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015.
Several other 'Nole 80s have garnered all-conference (or the equivalent thereof) inclusion as well, while on their way to the League. Defender Charlie Hunt was an All-South Independent Honorable Mention in 1971 before the San Francisco 49ers made him a 10th-round pick in 1973. Tight end Reggie Johnson was a second-teamer in 1990, and the Denver Broncos made him a second-round pick the next year.
But the only FSU No. 80 to ever be a first-round NFL Draft pick? That would be receiver Javon Walker. Walker's 2001 total of 944 receiving yards is the 18th-highest in 'Nole history, bolstered by his 195 vs. Virginia Tech that year, the 13th-best single-game total at Florida State. Walker was a second-team All-ACC choice and the Seminoles' leading receiver that year, with 45 grabs and seven scores. Walker has as many 100-yard games at FSU as Fred Biletnikoff (7) and was selected 20th overall by the Green Bay Packers in 2002.
Other 'Noles drafted after wearing No. 80 include receiver Ron Dugans, whose 84-yard TD catch from Chris Weinke in 1999 is the 11th-longest in FSU history. Dugans, who may have the best hands of any receiver I've seen at Florida State, was a third-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2000 after helping the 'Noles to their second national title. And we'll close our featured looks at key 80s with the very first FSU No. 80, end Ron Schomburger. After earning second-team Academic All-American honors in 1957, Schomburger was taken by Washington in the 23rd round of 1958's draft.
Three of the Florida State greats above have earned a spot in the FSU Football Hall of Fame, to date: Romeo (1988), Schomburger (1994), and Scott Warren (1997).
The other 'Noles to wear No. 80:
- John Wachtel (1961, 1963-1964)
- Rod Luce (1962)
- Stan Croley (1965)
- Doug Gurr (1966-1968)
- Steve Beville (1969)
- Pat Booth (1972)
- Joe Thomas (1973-1974)
- Billy McPhillips (1975)
- Keith Lester (1980)
- Orson Mobley (1981)
- Lonnie Johnson (1990)
- David White (1991)
- Jesse Moore (1991)
- Scott Scharinger (1994)
- Lorne Sam (2002)
- Joslin Shaw (2005-2007)
- Jarmon Fortson (2008-2009)
- Nyqwan Murray (2015-present)
So who's your favorite FSU No. 80?