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26 days to FSU football: Who is Florida State’s greatest No. 26?

Is it one of Florida State’s best running backs or a Seminole with a prolific NFL career?

BCS National Championship - Florida State v Auburn Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With fall camp now underway, football really does feel like it’s just around the corner. As such, our countdown of the greatest players to wear each number at Florida State gains steam as the 2016 season nears and the excellent Seminoles who wore some of the smaller numbers are showcased.

In fact, one of those yet unmentioned special ‘Noles wore No. 26: running back Greg Allen.

Allen is a rare breed of Florida State player who earned some sort of postseason national honor in each of his four seasons in Tallahassee. His freshman season, 1981, he was included on Football News’ Freshman All-America team as well as receiving an honorable mention on the Associated Press’ All-America team. 1982 brought another honorable mention from the AP. 1983, his best season as a ‘Nole, earned him a consensus All-American nod, the first-such honor for a FSU running back, and his senior campaign in 1984 saw him notch first-team spots on Football News’ and Walter Camp’s All-America teams. Allen’s honors do not stop there, however, as he was also a four-time all-conference player, breaking onto the All-South Independents second team as a freshman before three straight first-team appearances in his final three seasons. After his career at Florida State ended, Allen was a second-round selection in the 1985 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns.

To this day, Allen has an overwhelming presence in the Florida State record books. His 20 rushing touchdowns in the 1982 season and 44 career rushing touchdowns remain program records and he has the most rushing yards in a single game in school history as well, accumulating a ridiculous 322 yards against Western Carolina in 1981, his freshman season. Allen’s 3,769 rushing yards over his four years is the second-most in school history, behind only Warrick Dunn and 1,070 yards ahead of Dalvin Cook’s current mark. Speaking of Cook, Allen held the FSU freshman rushing yardage record (888 yards) for 31 years until Cook’s historic 2014 freshman season supplanted Allen atop the list.

Not to be forgotten in Allen’s shadow are a pair of additional Seminoles who earned national honors while sporting the 26. J.T. Thomas donned the No. 26 jersey for FSU from 1970 to 1972, earning an honorable mention on the AP All-America team in 1971 before breaking onto a trio of All-America first teams in 1972. Thomas was also a three-time all-conference player, racking up first-team All-South Independents honors in 1970 and 1971 as well as an honorable mention in 1972. Thomas finished his collegiate career with 10 interceptions, tied for 15th-most in program history, with six of those coming in his first year with the team, putting him in a tie for the seventh-most picks in a single season in FSU history. Thomas was also the highest drafted of all Florida State’s 26s, going 24th overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1973. Professionally, Thomas was a key part of three Super Bowl wins for the Steelers, giving him more Super Bowl rings than any other former Seminole, and was a one-time Pro Bowler in 1976.

More recently, P.J. Williams represented FSU while wearing the No. 26. Williams received national and conference honors in multiple seasons as a Seminole, earning an honorable mentions on College Football News’ Sophomore All-America team and the All-ACC team in 2013 before becoming a first-team All-ACC defensive back, in addition to a second-team All-America spot from USA Today and an honorable mention from Sports Illustrated in 2014. After his time at Florida State, Williams was a part of FSU’s incredible 2015 NFL Draft class when he was drafted in the third round by the New Orleans Saints.

Also of note, two more former ‘Noles were drafted into the NFL after donning the garnet and gold 26 despite never garnering so much as a conference honor. Wide receiver Willie Reid was a third-round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft after a four-year career in Tallahassee and running back Keith Kinderman was a two-time draftee in 1963, going in the third round of the AFL Draft to the San Diego Chargers and then in the eighth round of the NFL Draft to the Green Bay Packers.

The other Seminoles to wear No. 26 are:

  • Jack Turner (1948)
  • Dan Mady (1949)
  • Charlie Jacobs (1954)
  • Billy Weaver (1955-1957)
  • Bud Whitehead (1958-1959)
  • Dick Thompson (1961)
  • Ronnie Reed (1961)
  • Bill Hammond (1963)
  • Bill Campbell (1964-1966)
  • Hal Hodges (1967)
  • Mike Harder (1972)
  • Donnie Holley (1973)
  • Hector Gray (1975)
  • Joe Joyner (1976)
  • Jessie Forbes (1977)
  • Wade Wallace (1978-1979)
  • Carl Armstrong (1980)
  • Anthony Williams (1985)
  • Alphonso Williams (1986-1988)
  • Efferin Macon (1989)
  • Errol McCorvey (1990-1991)
  • Harold Battles (1992-1996)
  • Jeff Chaney (1997)
  • Atrews Bell (1998-2001)
  • Anthony Leon (2007)
  • A.J. Alexander (2009)
  • Johnathan Vickers (2015-present)