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55 days to FSU football: Pair of ‘Nole legends lead best to wear No. 55

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Some big names top the list.

Marvin Jones Kills WR
Marvin Jones

The debate over the top Seminole No. 58 featured our first matchup of two consensus All-Americans, and today’s installment of the countdown to 2016 Florida State football brings another first. No ‘Nole with a retired jersey has been chronicled— until now, and that means discussing legendary FSU linebacker Marvin Jones. But he has some stiff competition with regard to the top 55 in Seminole history.

Jones was a force of nature in Tallahassee. A Butkus and Lombardi Award winner in 1992, "Shade Tree" Jones also finished fourth in 1992’s Heisman voting. Jones’ 27 career tackles-for-loss place him 20th, all-time, in ‘Nole history, and his 369 tackles from 1990-1992 have him eighth in total tackles at FSU. Those numbers, which saw him record north of 100 tackles in each of his three seasons in garnet and gold, helped Jones to consensus All-American honors in both 1991 and 1992, after being a third-team AP selection in his freshman year of 1990. And he was a first-team All-South Independent pick in ‘90 and ‘91, while garnering a first-team All-ACC nod in the Seminoles’ first year in the conference, in ‘92. In 1993, Jones was drafted fourth, overall, by the New York Jets. 2000 saw him inducted into the FSU Football Hall of Fame.

Seems like a no-brainer, right? Tell that to Reinard Wilson, the all-time sacks leader in Florida State history. Wilson, a defensive end often overshadowed by Peter Boulware, was a ridiculous force off the edge. He registered 35.5 QB takedowns between 1993 and 1996 and is the only player in ‘Nole history to post three single-season top-20 sack years: 11 in 1994, 9 in 1995, and 13.5 in 1996. A 1997 first-round choice of the Cincinnati Bengals, Wilson was an FSU Football Hall of Fame inductee in 2009.

But there’s no lack of depth at 55. Center Gil Wesley was a third-team Football News All-American in 1976 and a first-team AA per Churchman’s the following year. He was also a ‘77 Football News Sophomore third-team All-American. 1978 and 1979 also saw Wesley nab first-team Churchman’s All-American honors.

And not to stray too far from the Joneses, let’s recall FSU LB Fred Jones (the first incarnation, and brother of Marvin). This ‘Nole backer secured a 1986 AP All-American Honorable Mention and was also a second-team All-South Independent honoree in 1986. Other All-South Independent mentions went to center Allen Dees, who grabbed first-team honors in 1970, and linebacker Brian Allen, who was a second-team All-ACC backer in ‘99 and ‘00. Allen was also drafted out of FSU, when the Rams selected him in the third round of the 2001 NFL Draft. Defensive end Eric Moore was another ‘Noles No. 55 drafted, after he earned second team All-ACC honors in 2003 and an Honorable Mention nod the next year. The New York Giants made him a sixth-round pick in 2005. Current 55 Chad Mavety hopes to build on last year’s campaign, when he garnered an All-ACC Honorable Mention. He and the latest Fred Jones are wearing No. 55 at present; but barring exception, they’ll be the last.

The other Florida State 55s:

  • Jug Coleman (1948)
  • Loren "Duke" Maltby (1949)
  • Melvin Pope (1957)
  • Jim Worthington (1958)
  • Jack Edwards (1962-1964)
  • Robert Urich (yes, the actor: 1965)
  • Ted Mosley (1966-1968)
  • Phil Jones (1972)
  • Milton Wilkerson (1973-1974)
  • Mike Stewart (1976)
  • John Houston (1980-1982)
  • Phillip Ferrel (1987)
  • Chris Nicolas (1988)
  • Sterling Palmer (1989-1990)
  • Derek Nicholson (2005-2006)
  • Jamar Jackson (2007-2009)
  • Jacobbi McDaniel (2011-2013)

Who gets your vote for the top No. 55?