Recruited as a linebacker out of Bartow, FL, Odell Haggins arrived in Tallahassee in 1985 and would redshirt his first year on campus.
As a redshirt-freshman, Haggins saw his first playing time at inside linebacker, but It wouldn’t take long for him to develop into the monster in the trenches that he is remembered as.
Coaches soon realized Haggins’ skill set might be utilized better elsewhere, and the redshirt sophomore made the transition to nose guard where he would tally 73 tackles and 8 sacks, earning an honorable mention in the All-American vote. Not bad for his first year at the position.
Coming off the success of the previous year, FSU was ranked no. 1 in the country heading into the 1988 season and confidence was at an all-time high. So much so, that prior to the season, the world was gifted with “Seminole Rap.” Haggins was not only one of the best defensive linemen in the country, but a hip hop icon:
The first game of the season wouldn’t bode well for FSU, but following that mishap, they wouldn’t drop a game the rest of the year.
Putting his rap career permanently behind him, Haggins was a force to be reckoned with in the trenches. The junior finished the year with 68 tackles, 3 sacks, 2, force fumbles, and a pick-six in FSU’s largest ever win over the Florida Gators, helping him to a second-team All-American nod.
Haggins’ senior year would be his best yet, notching 100 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and 4 TFLs, finally earning him first-team All-American recognition. That would be his last year as a player, but his story in the garnet and gold doesn’t end there.
After being taken in the 9th round of the NFL draft, Haggins spent three years in the NFL before returning to Tallahassee as a coach on Bobby Bowden’s staff.
Spending the better part of the past 25 years coaching FSU’s defensive line, Haggins has become one of the most highly regarded defensive line coaches in the nation, sending many lineman to the NFL, including multiple first round draft picks.
Odell Haggins is the definition of what it means to be a Seminole and after devoting his life to FSU, Haggins was named interim head coach of his beloved alma mater, becoming the first African American Head Coach in school history.
Going 2-0 as head coach, Haggins has the highest winning percentage of any FSU coach and will likely hold that record forever.