Stop me if you’ve heard this before: FSU went into Miami’s backyard again to grab another FSU Hall of Famer. This time it was defensive lineman Andre Wadsworth. Although you can’t really put 100% of the blame on Miami for that one because technically FSU didn’t offer him a scholarship either.
After being named All-Dade in both football and basketball Wadsworth did not receive a single division one scholarship. Chuck Amato saw him and said ‘Why don’t you come walk-on at Florida State University?’ and the rest is history. Oddly enough Wadsworth won’t be the last former walk-on you see on this countdown.
If you look at Andre Wadsworth’s first three seasons you’d not only be wondering why he’s this high in the countdown but why he’s even in the countdown at all? After his first three years as a back-up defensive end and starting nose guard Wadsworth had seven career sacks with 14 tackles for loss. Then 1997 happened.
In 1997 Andre Wadsworth would explode for 16 sacks and 19 tackles for loss.
It was a season in which he would record three sacks in a game three separate times. It was the second most dominant pass rushing season in FSU history. At 6’4 280lbs he was probably the biggest edge rusher of those 90s, nascar Mickey Andrews defenses and his combination of speed, size, power, and pad level made him unblockable.
He was named a first-team All-American by five organizations making a consensus All-American. He also became one of only seven ACC players to be named ACC Defensive Player of the Year and ACC Overall Player of the Year.
The last person to be named both ACC DPOTY & ACC POTY was Maryland linebacker EJ Henderson and with the way that football has geared towards a more offensive game it’s not unlikely that Andre Wadsworth will be the last the Seminole to accomplish that illustrious feat.
Wadsworth was widely considered to be the best NFL Draft prospect in the 1998 NFL Draft class. He was selected third overall by the Arizona Cardinals and after making the All-Rookie team in ‘98 with five sacks it looked like he was about to live up to his lofty draft status. But the injury gods decided otherwise. Four knee surgeries (three on knee including microfracture surgery) abruptly ended his NFL career before it could even get started.
If only the medical advancements of the 21st century were a decade earlier; he might’ve been even higher on this list. Wadsworth was selected into the FSU Hall of Fame in 2004.