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18 days to FSU football: Pair of kickers compete to be Florida State's top No. 18

This one should be a tight vote.

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Just one day after putting a spotlight on arguably the most prolific kicker in Florida State history, a look inside the top 'Noles to wear No, 18 will likely come down to two more Seminole kickers.

Those kickers, for those who may have forgotten, are Derek Schmidt and Dustin Hopkins. What makes this race so interesting is that Schmidt's career award list is significantly more substantial than that of Hopkins but Hopkins has a larger presence in the Florida State and NCAA record books. As such, this could be an extremely close vote so make your opinion known in the poll at the end of the article.

We will first take a look at Schmidt, who wore No. 18 and served as FSU's kicker from 1984 to 1987.Schmidt is the only specialist in Florida State history to earn a national postseason honor in four consecutive seasons.Schmidt was given an array of honorable mentions on All-America teams from the Associated Press and United Press International in 1984, 1985, and 1986 before breaking onto the AP's third team in his final year with the Seminoles, 1987. On the conference level, Schmidt was also a four-time honoree. He was named a first-team All-South Independents player in 1984, 1985, and 1987 and was given a second-team nod in 1986. Schmidt's 116 points scored in that 1987 season is the ninth-most in a single season in Florida state history. He is also No. 3 on FSU's all-time scoring list with 393 points over his four seasons.Schmidt is the second most accurate kicker on extra points in program history, finishing with a 97.75% PAT conversion rate and is the sixth most accurate on field goals (70.2% FG conversion rate). Additionally, Schmidt's career long field goal of 54 yards is tied for fifth best in school history. Schmidt capped off his Florida State career when he was inducted into the FSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997.

Schmidt's main competitor to be crowned Florida State's best No. 18, Hopkins, does have a claim that Schmidt is missing: he is a national record holder. Hopkins' 466 points scored over his four-year career is an NCAA record. Hopkins also has claim to the second most productive season in FSU history, scoring 140 points in 2012, his senior season. Additionally, Hopkins has the most field goals attempted (112) and converted (88) in school history and his 78.6% conversion rate is the third highest in program history. All of that aside, Hopkins' biggest asset was likely his knack for hitting lengthy field goals. His nine converted field goals of 50+ yards and his five consecutive converted field goals of 50+ yards are both Florida State records and he also is tied for the top marks in most 50+ yard field goals in a season and in a single game.

However, Schmidt's advantage over Hopkins is that Hopkins only earned All-American honors in a single season, 2012, when he was named a first-team All-American by CBS and Fox Sports and earned second team honors from the AP and Sports Illustrated. Hopkins also did not break onto an All-ACC team until his junior season but he did earn first-team All-ACC honors in 2011 and 2012. That being said, Hopkins was a four-time Academic All-ACC player and a first-team Academic All-American in 2012. Another thing that Hopkins has going for him over Schmidt is that he was selected in the NFL Draft after his time at Florida State came to an end, going in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft to the Buffalo Bills.

Not to be entirely forgotten behind those two established kickers are a number of other No. 18s who earned honors while at Florida State. Quarterback Clyde Walker earned an All-South Independents second-team nod in 1975, wideout Weegie Thompson was a second-team All-South Independents player in 1983 while donning the 18, and tight end Kent Gaydos was taken in the 12th round of the 1972 NFL Draft after wearing No. 18 at FSU.

The other Seminoles to wear No. 18 are:

  • Buck Metts (1954)
  • Jerry Henderson (1957)
  • Clint Burton (1966-1968)
  • Mark Orlando (1972)
  • Dennis McKinnon (1979)
  • John Davis (1989-1992)
  • Sean Hamlet (1993-1996)
  • Sean Key (1997-1999)
  • Yohance Buchanan (2000-2002)
  • Greg Tony (2001)
  • Lorne Sam (2003)
  • J.R. Bryant (2004-2007)
  • Greg Carr (2008)
  • Christian Griffith (2013-2014)
  • Ro'Derrick Hoskins (2013-present)
  • Auden Tate (2015-present)