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63 days to FSU football: Who is Florida State’s best No. 63?

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A Florida State first is among the program’s most illustrious No. 63s.

Florida State v Florida Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Only 63 days separate us from Florida State’s 2016 season opener against Ole Miss in Orlando’s Camping World Stadium. As such, here’s a look at the best 63s in program history.

63 presents itself as an intriguing number in Florida State lore. Four different ‘Noles have worn No. 63 while earning an All-American or All-Conference honor but, somehow, no one who has donned No. 63 at FSU has ever been drafted. That being said, it’s still a talented group full of viable contenders to be named the single greatest No. 63 in Florida State history.

Gene McDowell is the first No. 63 of note in our countdown. In fact, McDowell, who played both guard and linebacker, was a trendsetter for the Seminoles. He sported the 63 for his entire three-year career at FSU (1960-1962) and in his senior season, McDowell earned a third-team All-American honor from the Associated Press, making him the first player to be named to a full-fledged All-America team in school history. After his playing career was over, McDowell spent time elsewhere before returning to FSU to serve as the defensive ends and linebackers coach for the ‘Noles from 1974-1984. His Florida State career was capped off when he was inducted into the FSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1985, the same year he was named the head coach at UCF, a position he held for 13 seasons.

Defensive tackle John Thames is the next No. 63 worthy of recognition. Thames wore No. 63 from 1973-1976 and worked his way through the ranks throughout his time at in Tallahassee, ending his collegiate career with an honorable mention from the AP’s All-America team in 1976 as well as a first-team All-South Independents nod.

Two additional Seminoles earned various honors while sporting the Garnet and Gold No. 63. Ricky Render, a defensive lineman who transitioned to the offensive line before his junior season, wore the 63 for his last two years with the team (1981 and 1982) and earned a second-team All-South Independents spot in his senior season. Center David Castillo donned No. 63 for the entirety of his five-year Florida State career from 2001-2005. He was a two-time All-ACC team member, making the second team in 2003 and earning an honorable mention in his final year with the team, and received academic recognition on multiple occasions as a three-time All-ACC Academic team member (2003, 2004, 2005) and even making the Academic All-America second team in 2005, an honor attained by only 15 players in program history.

The other Seminoles to wear No. 63 are:

  • Jimmy Trado (1954)
  • Patsy Monaco (1957)
  • Terry Moran (1958-1959)
  • Lamar Elton (1961)
  • Bill McDowell (1963-1965)
  • Richard McLean (1966-1967)
  • George Montgomery (1969)
  • Steve Macaulay (1970)
  • Vic Rivas (1972)
  • Tom Coll (1977)
  • Lee Adams (1978-1980)
  • Jason Kuipers (1984)
  • Mark Salva (1985-1987)
  • Reggie Dixon (1987)
  • Jason Dillaberry (1988-1991)
  • Matthew Siner (1993)
  • Dennis Green (1996)
  • A.J. Ganguzza (2007-2010)
  • Chase Underwood (2012)