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The top 100 FSU football players: No. 51— quarterback Danny Kanell

The former Seminole signal caller had the unenviable job of following Charlie Ward, and he did it well.


Nowadays when your hear the name Danny Kanell you think of his stints previously on ESPN , FoxSports1, & currently on CBSSports as a college football analyst with his crazy, hot takes. Pretty sure most of SEC country hates his guts. But before he was a hot-take artist; Danny Kanell was a damn good college football player.

After arriving in 1992 from Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Always nice to pull an All-American from Miami’s backyard); Kanell became FSU’s first freshman back-up qb since 1985. In 1993 when a Charlie Ward injury threatened to derail FSU’s national title chances, Danny stepped in and the offense didn’t miss a beat.

Kanell threw for 327 yards & five TDs in a 49-20 victory over Maryland.

He was a back-up for two years before being tasked with something many considered impossible: following Charlie Ward.

In 1994 FSU was 9-1 entering the game against fourth-ranked Florida and to be frank Kanell’s stats were not yet impressive. He entered the game with 16 TDs, 12 INTS, & just under 60% completion on the season but then something incredible happened. Something that will be talked about for as long as the institution that is FSU football exists:

The Choke at Doak.

UF entered the rivalry in 1994 pissed off. Having lost six of the last seven vs. FSU; Steve Spurrier was tired of losing in Tallahassee. Florida jumped out to a 31-3 lead; they were waving bye to the Seminole faithful in the crowd on the reasonable assumption that the game was over...assumption.

Danny Kanell would lead a furious comeback that would see FSU score 28 fourth quarter points and just when it looked like FSU would secure the winning field goal time ran out. A tie. That’s right Gen Z’ers; college football games used to end in a tie. It went down as a tie in the record books but everyone knows Florida lost that game. Danny ended up completing 75% of his passes that game throwing for 421 yards and a TD. When FSU needed it most he couldn’t miss.

When they met six weeks later in the Sugar Bowl promptly called the Fifth Quarter in the French Quarter FSU would emerge victories 23-17.

1995 would prove to be Kanell’s most decorated year as a Seminole. First-team All-ACC; honorable mention All-American and if FSU hadn’t gotten robbed vs. Virginia (Dunn was in) he might’ve added a couple more accolades to the trophy case.

After an Orange Bowl victory over Notre Dame; Danny graduated from FSU with 57 career TDs in 31 games played. He was drafted by the New York Giants in the fourth round of the 1996 NFL Draft. The year before he was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 25th round of the MLB Draft after previously being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 19th round out of high school. Kanell ultimately chose professional football.

Primarily a back-up QB Danny spent eight in years in the NFL (playing minor league baseball during a lay-off from football in 2001) before transitioning to broadcasting.

In 2012 Danny Kanell was elected to FSU’s Hall of Fame and he’s one of a handful of FSU athletes (with kicker Scott Bentley) to grace the cover of SportsIllustrated:

What a ’Nole!