A do-it-all fullback that set the standard for future versatile Seminoles in the backfield like Lonnie Pryor, Edgar Bennett was a force to be reckoned with at Florida State.
Hailing from Jacksonville, Fla., Bennett was a tri-sport athlete at Lee High School, coming to Tallahassee as part of the 1987 FSU recruiting class alongside names like quarterbacks Casey Weldon and Brad Johnson. Though he played halfback in high school, Bennett transitioned to fullback in a crowded backfield that including running back Amp Lee and fellow fullback William Floyd.
The skilled and speedy (Bennett reportedly ran a 4.5 40) fullback began to make his mark his freshman year, recording 389 all-purpose yards, but a broken hand two games into the 1988 season sidelined him for the rest of the year. He was granted a medical redshirt int he aftermath, and returned in 1989 with 490 all-purpose yards, setting a standard of nearly equaling his rushing total (277) with his receiving (213) that he’d consistently achieve through the rest of his time in Tallahassee, though his four touchdowns that season all came via the ground. The first score of his career came in a 31-21 upset of No. 21 LSU, earning the clinching touchdown on a seven-yard run.
In 1990, Bennett doubled his scoring output, putting up nine total touchdowns (five rushing, four passing) while rushing for 302 yards and catching 19 balls for 397 yards. His two touchdowns vs. No. 5 Florida helped give Florida State its fourth straight win over the Gators, good enough for a 9-2 record and a berth in the newly-named Blockbuster Bowl vs. Penn State, who they’d go on to defeat 24-17.
With FSU starting 1991 as the No. 1 team in the country based off the success of the season before, Bennett kicked off his redshirt senior season with his best game in the garnet and gold: a three touchdown, 163 all-purpose yard game vs. No. 19 BYU. He played a part (albeit a minor one) in that season’s program-defining win against Michigan, answering the question about the Seminoles’ ability to compete with the blue-bloods of college football.
“I really feel Florida State has something to prove,” Bennett said before the matchup with the No. 3 Wolverines. “People say Florida State can’t win the big games against the big competition. This can prove them wrong.”
“Most people look at Michigan as being a big team,” he said. “Very physical. Most people try to say we’re not aggressive.”
“That’s not true. If you look at the films, you’d know we went head-to-head with a lot of the big teams.”
”It’s not just size or speed. It’s what you find in a player’s heart. This team lives off of heart.”
Unfortunately, FSU’s status as the No. 1 team in the country would come to a halt with consecutive losses to Miami and Florida, denying Bennett a chance at a national championship and instead, providing a grand finale in the Cotton Bowl vs. No. 9 Texas A&M, a game that FSU would win 10-2 to finish fourth in the polls.
The Seminoles, inching closer and closer to a national title, went 53-8 during Bennett’s career, never finishing lower than fourth in each of his five years in Tallahassee. He put up 20 touchdowns (13 rushing, seven receiving) and over 2,300 all-purpose yards for Florida State, stats good enough to not only get drafted in the fourth round by the Green Bay Packers as a running back (whom he’d win a Super Bowl and also start his coaching career), but also for induction in the FSU Hall of Fame as part of the 2005 class.
One of Bennett’s two touchdowns in a 22-14 win vs. Auburn in 1989.