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5 days to FSU football: Florida State’s most recent Heisman winner leads pack of top No. 5s

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Yet another single digit number has a clear frontrunner.

Boston College v Florida State Photo by Jeff Gammons/Getty Images

5. A number in our countdown that I am sure a lot of commenters have been waiting for with baited breath.

A chance to discuss one of, if not the best quarterbacks in Florida State history: Jameis Winston.

Winston needs no introduction here. After redshirting in 2012 while E.J. Manuel finished out his Florida State career, he snagged the starting job ahead of the 2013 opening game after a spring game performance for the ages. The rest, as they say, is history, well-documented in this case.

Winston began his career with an immaculate 92.9 completion percentage, the highest-such mark in program history, on 25-27 passing with 356 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions at Pittsburgh. The remainder of his 2013 campaign was more of the same as Winston finished with 4,057 passing yards, second most in a single season by a FSU quarterback, 40 touchdowns, the most in a season in school history, and a 184.84 passing efficiency rating, the highest-such mark in a season in program history. For his efforts, Winston was heavily rewarded, earning, among other awards, Florida State’s third Heisman Trophy, the Davey O’Brien Award and the Manning Award as well as a consensus All-American nod. Winston also made conference history when he was the first freshman to be named ACC Player of the Year in the award’s 60+ year history, adding the obligatory first-team All-ACC honor as well. Winston capped off his year for the ages by leading the Seminoles to a BCS National Championship Game win, the third national championship in the school’s history.

Although his 2014 campaign looks significantly less impressive when put up against what he did 2013, it was still a solid season by more realistic standards. Winston threw for 3,907 yards, third most in a season in program history, and 25 passing touchdowns, tied for the fifth-highest season mark in Florida State history. However, his efforts were significantly less appreciated nationally after the 2014 season. The consensus All-American a season ago received only one honorable mention on an All-America team from Sports Illustrated. Winston was, nonetheless, awarded a first-team spot on the All-ACC team for the second straight season.

After that 2014 campaign, Winston did something that had never been done in program history when he was taken first overall in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Winston’s impact on the record books extends far beyond what is discussed above. In two seasons as the starter, Winston racked up 7,964 passing yards, the third-highest career total in school history and trailing behind only Chris Weinke and Chris Rix, two four-year starters at Florida State. His 65 touchdowns is the second most in FSU history, behind only, once again, Weinke. Finally, Winston’s 27 straight games with at least one passing touchdown stands alone as the longest streak in program history.

Winston will surely run away with the poll at the conclusion of this article but there are a number of other Seminoles worthy of mention for their accolades while donning the No. 5.

That list begins with Greg Reid, a player who had exceptional talent but whose Florida State career ended early after a series of off-field incidents. Reid, a cornerback for the Seminoles from 2009 to 2011, earned a number of honors in his first year at FSU including third-team All-American nods from Sporting News and Rivals, an honorable mention on SI’s All-America team and a second-team Freshman All-American honor from Scout. At the conference level, Reid was a three-time All-ACC honoree, earning honorable mentions in 2009, 2010, and 2011. In spite of his impressive play in the secondary, Reid’s biggest impact at Florida State may have been as a punt returner. His three punt return touchdowns over his career in Tallahassee is tied for the most in program history. However, Reid’s off-field issues stacked up and he was eventually dismissed from the team and forced to finish his career at Valdosta State.

Behind Winston, there is another quarterback worth noting who wore No. 5 at Florida State. Chip Ferguson led the Florida State offense from 1985-1988 and received honors in multiple seasons. In his first season as a ‘Nole, Ferguson garnered a pair of second-team Freshman All-American nods from Sporting News and Football News. Ferguson went without recognition over the next two seasons but returned to prominence in his final year in Tallahassee when he was named an honorable mention on the Associated Press and UPI’s All-America teams as well as the All-South Independents second team squad. To this day, Ferguson’s 3,846 career passing yards is the 15th highest total in program history.

A trio of additional Seminoles either earned conference honors or were drafted into the NFL and sported the No. 5. Wide receiver Chris Davis was an honorable mention on the 2006 All-ACC team before he was a fourth-round draft pick in the 2007 NFL Draft and recent linebacker Reggie Northrup was a two-time all-conference player during his time at FSU, third team in 2014 and second team in 2015. Finally, quarterback Adrian McPherson was taken in the fifth round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints after his time at FSU came to an end.

The other Seminoles to wear No. 5 are:

  • Weegie Thompson (1979)
  • Joe Wessel (1982-1984)
  • Kenny Felder (1989-1991)
  • Jason Powers (1992)
  • Jon Stark (1993-1994)
  • Theon Rackley (1995-1999)
  • Travis Chambers (1996)
  • Cornelius Collier (1999, 2001-2002)
  • Preston Parker (2007-2008)
  • Da’Vante Phillips (2015-present)
  • Dontavious Jackson (2016)