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44 days to FSU football: Who is the greatest No. 44 in school history?

With 44 days left until FSU football, the No. 44 uniform is highlighted. Who was the greatest to don No. 44?

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

There are only 44 days left until Florida State football, which means the No. 44 jersey is on the table for today.

In 1951, Mike Sellers was named an AP All-American Honorable Mention following his final year on campus. The running back wore No. 44 in 1950 and 1951 before leaving the team in 1952 to play baseball for the 'Noles. He would still be drafted however, getting selected in the 12th round of the 1951 draft.

Down the road in 1977, another running back by the name of Larry Key was an AP All-American Honorable Mention. Key made appearances on the All-South Independent team three separate seasons, making the second team in 1974, honorable mention in 1975 and first team in 1977. Key has a sizable footprint that remains on the Florida State record book. His 97-yard run against Virginia Tech in 1976 remains the longest rush in Florida State history. Additionally, Key's 1,117 rushing yards remains the sixth-most in program history and his 2,953 rushing yards over his Florida State career is the fourth-highest total in school history. After wearing No. 44 from 1974 to 1977, Key was drafted in the 10th round of the 1978 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers. He received the highest distinction in the FSU football program when the Floridian was inducted into the Florida State football Hall of Fame in 1984.

Another running back, Ricky Williams, wore No. 44 from 1979-1982, including when he was named an All-American Honorable Mention by the AP in 1982. He would be the last player to be named to a postseason team after wearing No. 44 until linebacker Daryl Bush who was an All-American Honorable Mention by Football News in 1995 and Third Team member in 1997 by the AP. He wore No. 44 in his four final years on campus from 1993 to 1997, being a part of the first ever Florida State National Championship winning team. Bush not only got it done on the field, but in the classroom as well, earning All-ACC Academic honors from 1994-1997.

Running back Hodges Mitchell was a first team All-South Independent member following the 1972 season, his first of two years donning the No. 44. Linebacker Bradley Jennings was also named to the first team All-ACC in 2001. Jennings wore No. 44 from 1998-2001 and was regarded as a draftable NFL prospect until he was shot, which almost cost the Miami native his life, three weeks before the first pick was made. The most recent No. 44, DeMarcus Walker, was named to the second team All-ACC following the 2015 season, and has elected to return to the school next year instead of entering the NFL draft.

Some other notable No. 44s to get drafted following their time at Florida State are running backs William Floyd and Jim Mankins. Floyd was drafted 28th overall in the 1994 NFL draft while Mankins was selected in the 12th round of the 1966 selection process.

Here are some other names to wear the No. 44 at Florida State:

  • Buddy Straus (1948-1949)
  • Bud Leonard (1954-1955)
  • Eddie Johnson (1956-1957)
  • Jim Calhoon (1958-1959)
  • Ed Parker (1960)
  • Marion Roberts (1961-1963)
  • John Pittman (1968)
  • Buddy Gridley (1969-1971)
  • Chuck Wells (1983-1986)
  • Pete Bazos (1985)
  • John Wyche (1987, 1989-1990)
  • Sam McGrew (2002-2005)
  • Marcus Ball (2006)
  • Maurice Harris (2008-2009)
  • Will Tye (2010-2012)
  • Derek Williams (2012)
  • Cameron Ponder (2013)
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