As we delve even deeper into our countdown to 2019 Florida State football and the greatest Seminoles to ever suit up, consensus All-Americans are going to become more the rule than the exception— and today’s entry is further proof, as we feature defensive back Tay Cody.
Cody was one of FSU’s many fantastic pulls from South Georgia, as the ’Noles plucked him from Blakely, GA, just east of the Alabama line. He redshirted during his first year on campus in 1996, learning Mickey Andrews’s defense and putting on 15 pounds of good weight in preparation for the ’97 campaign.
When Cody did hit the field for the 1997 season, he didn’t disappoint, immediately seizing a starting role that he would rarely relinquish throughout the rest of his career in garnet and gold. He picked off three passes as a redshirt-frosh and was awarded with a first-team Freshman All-American nod from The Sporting News.
Cody continued to improve therefrom— as did the Seminoles. He helped the ’Noles to the national title game in ’98, while garnering second-team All-ACC honors. Cody factored in prominently to FSU’s undefeated national championship run in 1999, when he earned an All-ACC honorable mention selection; but his inclusion at this lofty spot on such an illustrious list of Florida State legends is due largely to his amazing season the next year.
In 2000, Cody registered one of the best seasons ever turned in by a Seminole DB. He doubled his interception total, picking off six balls, one for a score against Phillip Rivers, all while opposing offenses sought to avoid him. Those half-dozen INTs in 2000 have Cody tied for the eight most in a single campaign in FSU history. Cody really closed out his ’Nole career in style, picking off six passes in the final five games of his career— including two against Florida in a 30-7 beatdown of the Gators.
But Cody was more than just a ballhawk. Because of his anticipation and impressive upper-body strength, he was also a fierce tackler. His all-around game culminated in consensus All-America recognition after the 2000 season, as the first-team All-ACC choice was also a first-team All-American for The Sporting News, College Football News, and the American Football Coaches Association. Cody also earned second-team All-America recognition from Football News and the AP; and he was an ACC Champion in every year he played at Florida State.
Across his FSU career, Cody tallied a dozen picks, tied for sixth in program history. Accordingly, Cody was a third-round choice of the San Diego Chargers in the 2001 NFL Draft. In 2015, he was inducted into the Florida State Hall of Fame. Included below is video of some of Cody’s impressive highlights.