Fittingly, this countdown began with a Seminole who was a success on both the gridiron and in the classroom, linebacker Daryl Bush. 20 spots later, the only other Seminole to equal Bush’s career academic achievements keeps the countdown going: safety Chris Hope.
Bush and Hope are the only ’Noles ever to have been first-team Academic All-Americans twice, as well as four-time ACC All-Academic team honorees. It’s a remarkable feat that demonstrates consistency and discipline over four-year careers— and those traits were quite evident on the field as well.
Hope hit Tallahassee by way of Rock Hill, South Carolina as a highly touted high school All-American known for his ability to stick. After working his way onto the field for the better part of 1998 and 1999 as a reserve, Hope began getting the starting nod at free safety late in the Seminoles’ national title campaign of ’99, finishing that season tied for the team lead with four interceptions— and a ring.
In helping Florida State to its third consecutive national championship game appearance, in 2000, Hope began receiving more individual acknowledgement. He was a second-team All-ACC selection and a second-team All-American, per The Sporting News. After Hope’s final season with FSU in 2001, he was named to the All-ACC’s first team. His nine career interceptions remain tied for 19th, all-time, for the ’Noles.
And that helped launch Hope’s very successful pro career. He was a third-round choice of Pittsburgh in the third round of the 2002 NFL Draft. Four years later, he was part of a Steelers squad that won Super Bowl XL, and in 2008, Hope was a Pro Bowl selection while with the Tennessee Titans.