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25 days to FSU football: Legendary WR leads list of top ‘Nole No. 25s

Three-quarters of the way through the countdown.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony
Fred Biletnikoff

Welcome to the vote for the best Florida State football player to wear No. 25— which is something that hasn’t happened since the Johnson administration. That’s because the garnet and gold 25 has been retired, due to the success that receiver Fred Biletnikoff had in Tallahassee while wearing it.

One of the eight Seminoles in the College Football Hall of Fame, Biletnikoff was FSU’s first consensus All-American in 1964, the second of two years that he led the ‘Noles in receiving. His 182-yard receiving game against Virginia Tech in ‘64 is still tied for the 20th highest total at Florida State, and he certainly punctuated his career by hauling in four touchdowns in the Gator Bowl. His 987 receiving yards that year account for the 15th highest total as a Seminole, and his 5.7 catches per contest are 10th all-time. Biletnikoff’s 16 receiving scores are tied for 18th in FSU history, and his seven 100+ yard receiving games are tied for ninth. He's even near the top of the board for a defensive record: in '63, Biletnikoff returned an interception 99 yards for a TD against Miami-- tied for the second-longest in FSU history.

Biletnikoff’s star continued to rise as a pro. He was drafted by the Oakland Raiders, with whom he was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and the MVP of Super Bowl XI, which the Raiders won. Biletnikoff was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988.

Usually this is where others to capture accolades wearing 25 would continue. But due to Biltnikoff’s greatness -- and the fact that its been retired since 1985, we now move on to the short list of others to wear No. 25 for the ‘Noles:

  • Ted Hewitt (1948-1949)
  • Joe Holt (1954)
  • Pat Verspille (1956)
  • Gerald Philp (1957)
  • Fred Pickard (1957)
  • Carl Meyer (1958, 1960)
  • Charlie Thomas (1961)
  • Maury Bibent (1962)

Landslide time: