The late 80s were a time of excess. And just as shoulder pads were abundant both off and on the gridiron, so did that excess translate to Florida State football, as “more” became the rule. As the Seminoles’ dynasty began, prodigal winning became all the rage in Tallahassee, and at no position did the ’Noles establish their dominance more than that of cornerback. This was, like, totally the beginning of DBU.
The rundown of FSU DBs to earn consensus All-America honors began in the late 80s and is remarkable:
- Deion Sanders (1987, 1988)
- LeRoy Butler (1989)
- Terrell Buckley (1991)
- Corey Sawyer (1993)
That impressive run leads us to today’s entry in the countdown and 1994 consensus All-American cornerback, Clifton Abraham. The Seminoles plucked Abraham from Dallas’ D.W. Carter High School in 1990, when he made his way to Tallahassee and redshirted with — obviously — plenty of talent to learn behind. He saw action in 1991, and blocked a punt (that’s foreshadowing).
In his redshirt-sophomore campaign of 1992, Abraham got the start at corner opposite the All-American Sawyer, a truly formidable tandem. But Abraham continued to make his own name, tallying a career-best three INTs. He also returned a blocked punt for a score against Tulane, a game in which he contributed a pick six, too.
1993 saw Abraham’s real rise, as he joined Sawyer as an All-ACC first-teamer and wasted little time announcing to the nation that while he may have played the role of understudy, he was far from an afterthought.
Witness the diminutive Abraham’s starring role in the legendary goal-line stand the Seminoles authored against Kansas to begin their title campaign. This is called playing way bigger than 5’9 (as well as knowing how to get behind those aforementioned big-ass 80s shoulder pads).
Abraham also scored on a blocked punt in the opener against the Jayhawks, along with another two games later against Clemson, included in these highlights:
The 57-0 beatdown of a ranked Clemson team featured a goal-line stand too, one during which Abraham actually played with his hand in the ground on the edge:
Continuing to play well in the biggest game, Abraham had 10 tackles, a career high, in a win over Miami. And he capped the ’93 campaign by registering five tackles, and a career-high two for loss, against Nebraska in a national-title clinching victory for FSU. Abraham earned ACC All-Academic Team honors as well.
With Sawyer gone for the pros after 1993, the 1994 season saw Abraham’s running mate at corner shift from one great Cory to another, as Cory Fuller stepped in as his counterpart. But this was now Abraham’s secondary, and he did not disappoint in leading it.
Against Wake Forest, Abraham scored on yet another blocked punt, and his four career scores off blocked punts remain a record at Florida State. After a lockdown season, Abraham was once again named a first-team All-ACCer, as well as a consensus All-American, following first-team nods from the AP, the UPI, Walter Camp, Football News, the American Football Coaches Association, Kodak, and The Sporting News. He also garnered an honorable mention from Scripps Howard.
Abraham was a fifth-round selection of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1995 NFL Draft. In 2008, he was inducted into the Florida State Hall of Fame.