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53 days to FSU football: Who is Florida State’s best No. 53?

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53 is a truly illustrious number in Florida State history.

Clay Shiver Florida State

As we near the halfway point of our countdown of the greatest Seminoles to wear each number, today marks 53 days until Florida State’s 2016 season opener. As such, let’s take a look at the best players to wear No. 53 at FSU.

53 is a positively loaded number in Florida State history. In all, five ‘Noles have earned a national honor of some sort while donning the 53, as many as FSU has at any other number.

The first No. 53 of note is former Florida State defensive tackle Corey Simon. Simon wore for four years at FSU (1996-1999) and was a full-time member of the defensive front for his final two years. Over his career at FSU, Simon racked up 44 career tackles for loss, third most in FSU history. Simon earned an All-American honor from the AP in addition to a first-team All-ACC nod in his junior season but his most productive year at FSU was his final year. In 1999, Simon finished with 21 tackles for loss, the fourth-highest TFL total in a single season by a Seminole. Simon was rewarded for that exceptional season by being named a consensus All-American as well as a finalist for the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy and, unsurprisingly, a second straight All-ACC honor. Simon capped off his collegiate career as a member of Florida State’s 1999 national championship team and was taken with the 6th pick of the 2000 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2010, Simon was welcomed into the FSU Athletics Hall of Fame.

In spite of all Simon’s success, he is not the only No. 53 to be named a consensus All-American. Offensive lineman Clay Shiver was the first 53 at FSU who earned a consensus All-American honor, doing so in 1995, his final year with the team. Shiver sported No. 53 for his entire five-year career in the garnet and gold (1991-1995) and was also an All-American from various outlets in 1993 and 1994 as well as a three-time first-team All-ACC honoree. Shiver was a third-round selection in the 1996 NFL Draft and was inducted into the FSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001.

Not to be forgotten after the pair of consensus All-Americans who wore No. 53 are a trio of additional Seminoles. Odell Haggins was a force on the defensive line over his career at Florida State, earning numerous honorable mentions and second-team All-American nods in 1987 and 1988 before breaking onto the first team of the American Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp, and Kodak in 1989. Haggins was a ninth-round selection in the 1990 draft but returned to FSU shortly after, where he been on the coaching staff since 1994, currently serving as the defensive tackles coach for the Seminoles.

Jerry Mordecai, a guard for the Seminoles, was among FSU’s earliest All-Americans when he was recognized as an All-American for non-D1 programs from the Associated Press in 1949. Last but not least, linebacker Paul Piurowski was an AP second-team All-American in addition to a second-team All-South Independents honoree in 1980 before going in the eighth round of the 1981 draft to the Dallas Cowboys.

The other players to wear No. 53 at Florida State are:

  • Ed Fox (1948)
  • Bill Cullom (1954)
  • Stuart Keith (1956-1957)
  • Ron Clark (1957)
  • Ramon Rogers (1958-1959)
  • Lamar Elton (1960)
  • Orrin Cope (1961)
  • Bill Daly (1962-1963)
  • David Pitts (1964-1965)
  • Randy Cassady (1968)
  • Jay Stokes (1969-1971)
  • Danny Greene (1972)
  • Brian Schmidt (1973-1976)
  • Gerald Riopelle (1981-1984)
  • Dulack Guerrier (1990)
  • Devaughn Darling (2000)
  • A.J. Nicholson (2002)
  • Sterling Lovelady (2011-2013)