The legendary Peter Boulware, hailing from Columbia, South Carolina, redshirted in 1993 when FSU won its first national championship.
In his first taste of action the following year Boulware recorded 37 tackles and five sacks despite only appearing in 8 games, starting none. He even kicked off the 1995 Sugar Bowl with a sack of Florida Gators quarterback Danny Wuerffel, just one month after the Choke at Doak.
FSU would win the rematch outright, 23-17.
The insanity of Boulware’s sophomore campaign at Florida State in 1995 was two-fold. First, the Seminoles’ bench was so deep that Boulware only started two games that year. And yet, he still led the ACC with ten sacks, along with another 46 tackles, eight of which were for a loss. Despite leading the entire conference in sacks at what must have been an inhuman snap-to-sack ratio, Boulware was only named an honorable mention All-ACC player.
So the following season he left them no choice.
Boulware’s nation-leading 19 sacks in ‘96 dusted Ron Simmons’ single-season school record of 12 sacks, set back in 1977. His 34 total career sacks are good for second in school history, just shy of Reinard Wilson’s 35.5. Wilson clocked in at 16 in our top 100 countdown. The 19 sacks accounted for over 100 yards lost for opposing offenses.
But sacks wasn’t all Boulware did that year. He also recorded 20 tackles for loss, and 68 total. Oh, and he blocked a kick:
He was named not only to the All-ACC team but also as the ACC’s Defensive Player of the Year and the National Player of the Year by Football News. Last but not least, consensus All-American honors as the American Football Coaches Association, the Associated Press, Football News, the Football Writers Association, College & Pro Football Weekly, and The Sporting News all named him first team. Sports Illustrated even later named Boulware to the All-20th Century team.
He was selected with the 4th overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens, where he would stay for his entire career. He won the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year award on the back of 11.5 sacks, and then in the following seasons collected four Pro Bowl nods, a second team All-Pro selection, and a Super Bowl ring following the 2000 season. The Ravens defense that year is widely considered one of the greatest in NFL history. The following season Boulware led the AFC conference in sacks. Following the 2005 season after issues with injuries Boulware retired as the Ravens’ all-time sack leader, which stood until 2011.
Boulware was elected to the FSU Hall of Fame in 2004, inducted into the Ravens’ Ring of Honor in 2006, and fittingly named a member of the 2010 ACC Legends class.