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The top 100 FSU football players: No. 24— offensive lineman Clay Shiver

There are worse things than blocking for a Heisman Trophy winner

The younger brother of former Seminole Stan Shiver arrived at FSU in 1991 from Tifton, Georgia, slightly less than two hours from Tallahassee. Clay Shiver stood 6’3 tall and weighed in at just 255 pounds. He’d redshirt, of course.

As a greenhorn redshirt freshman in ‘92 Shiver would start five games, sharing center duties with senior Robbie Baker. The team went 11-1 and earned a trip to the Orange Bowl.

By the time 1993 rolled around Shiver weighed a very determined and yet somehow still lightweight 265 pounds. But he could snap the ball into the shotgun and a certain quarterback by the name of Charlie Ward was very good operating from the ‘gun. Over the span of 13 games and more than 700 offensive snaps that season Shiver allowed just 12 a sack. Yes, you read that correctly. One-half. That’s .0007 sacks per snap, right?— sorry, I don’t recall telling you there would be no math.

Anyhoo, here’s Shiver direct snapping the ball to running back Warrick Dunn in the shotgun on a big third down against Miami early in the second quarter:

Dunn picks up 27-yards and a first down and FSU would go on to score a touchdown that drive and take a two touchdown lead into halftime. The ’Noles would go on to win 28-10. Miami would go on to do what they always do, which is collapse late in the season after playing Florida State.

Shiver would again direct-snap the ball to Dunn later that month against Wake Forest. Dunn obliged by ripping off a 63-yard touchdown run. It was just that kind of team.

The Seminole offense would score 40 or more points eight times that year, going 12-1 — dropping just a one-score game to Notre Dame — and winning a National Championship after besting Nebraska 18-16 in the Orange Bowl. Shiver was named a first team sophomore All-American by Football News, an Honorable Mention All-American by the United Press International, and to the All-ACC team. It’s not every day you get to say you snapped the ball to a Heisman Trophy winner, but that’s exactly what Shiver probably said to all the ladies after Charlie Ward won it.

But here’s the thing — Shiver wasn’t done, and over the next two seasons he would rightfully become known for far more than just snapping to Ward.

Constant, grueling 5am workouts paid dividends for the rising star, and the junior center entered the 1994 campaign at a noticeably heftier 275 pounds. This time he blocked for quarterback Danny Kanell. FSU would finish 10-1-1 as Shiver helped the Florida Gators choke on the turf in Tallahassee. He would be named a consensus All-American; four publications named him a first team All-American and the Associated Press would name him second team. He was also named to the All-ACC team again, and he won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the best blocker in the entire ACC Conference.

Then as an absolute unit 280-pound senior in 1995 and one of the best blockers in the country on one of the best offenses in the country, he did it all again. FSU went 10-2 with the third best offense in the country, beat Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl, and set a single season school record for offensive points in a season. Shiver was again named a consensus All-American — making him a two time All-American — with multiple first and second team honors, All-ACC — a 3x selection —, and back-to-back winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy.

FSU went 31-1 vs ACC opponents during Shiver’s collegiate career. He never lost at home in Doak Campbell Stadium. Former head coach Bobby Bowden described Shiver as, “the best center that I’ve coached in 20 years at Florida State.” He was drafted 67th overall by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1996 NFL Draft, the first Seminole off the board that year. He’d play in 44 games in three seasons, starting 25 of them before injuries derailed his career.

In 2001 Shiver was inducted into FSU’s Athletics Hall of Fame. He is currently the high school head coach of Boca Christian.