The National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame announced Tuesday the 78 players selected for contention to enter in to the College Football Hall of Fame, and amongst those names are three former Florida State football players: linebacker Marvin Jones, kicker Sebastian Janikowski and wide receiver Barry Smith.
Here’s a brief bio on all three:
“The ultimate hit for me would be [one] where they had to call in the trauma helicopter.” —Marvin Jones
In his very first collegiate game, Jones led the Seminoles in tackles with 10, despite not getting the start. Leading the team in tackles would become a common occurrence. Coming off the bench...not so much.
Just a couple games later against Virginia Tech, Jones would register a whopping 20 tackles, 15 of which were unassisted and 4 were for lost yardage. When Jones’ freshman season was complete the results were a mind boggling 133 tackles, eight of them for loss. This earned Shade Tree a third team AP All-American distinction and served notice to the rest of the college football world of what was about to happen.
The next two years were fury on a football field. Dennis Erickson, who called him the best linebacker he’s ever seen play in college football, summed it up well when he said, “Marvin gets to the ball in a hurry and he’s not in a good mood when he gets there.”
Back-to-back 1st team All-American nods, consensus in 1991 and unanimous in 1992
236 tackles, 19 for loss, in just 22 games (bowls not included), leading FSU in all three years he played
His 369 tackles (in just 33 games) in his career rank 8th all-time in FSU history and he’s the only guy in the top 10 who played less than four seasons
1992 Butkus Award winner, and when presented the award, Butkus himself told him, “thanks for being yourself and playing the game the way it should be played.”
1992 Lombardi Award winner, becoming FSU’s first football player to win two national awards in the same season
4th place finish in the 1992 Heisman Trophy voting
Sebastian Janikowski (1997-1999)
Sebastian Janikowski arrived in Daytona Beach, Fla. his senior year from Poland, a soccer player who never once had tried to kick a diamond-shaped ball through a yellow post. He showed up one day at Seabreeze High School, curious and eager to try his foot at the sport.
“I was learning as I went,” said Janikowski in 2018. “I couldn’t even figure out how to put shoulder pads on.”
Within his first few weeks of playing football he had hit 53 and 60-yard field goals, nearly converting a 65-yarder, and colleges were instantly infatuated. He’d receive offers from Miami, Florida, Michigan and Tennessee, as well as ones to play professional soccer, but instead he opted for Tallahassee, where he’d aim to change the kicker legacy of a school constantly burdened by them.
In the three years leading up to his swan song, the 1999 title game vs. Virginia Tech, Janikowski covered 65 of 83 field goal attempts (78.3%), four of which were longer than 50 yards. 57 of his 83 kickoffs were touchbacks, with four going 75 yards through the uprights at the opposite end of the field. His 27 field goals in 1998 are still tied for first in Florida State school history.
Against Tech, he’d go five-for-five on extra points, tacking on a modest 32-yarder to effectively help put the game out of reach, earning a title and helping put a bow on an illustrious college career. He had made his intentions of leaving for the draft early clear prior to the game, and as a result, was one of the more intriguing prospects to have ever entered into the NFL’s annual selection pool (he could bench 395 pounds, and reportedly run a 4.6 40 with a 33-inch vertical.)
Barry Smith (1970-1972)
Florida State has produced many great wide receivers and Barry Smith’s career puts him with the best of them. From 1970-72, Smith snatched the football for the Seminoles with remarkable precision.
As a senior in 1972, Smith caught 69 passes for 1,243 yards and 13 touchdowns. He caught 11 passes against Kansas and 10 against Virginia Tech and Florida, and was named first team All-American on squads selected by several groups including the annual Football Coaches team. Smith would finish his FSU career second in virtually every receiving category with 2,535 yards on 127 receptions and 27 touchdowns. Smith went on to play with both the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has remained a loyal supporter of FSU athletics. The office complex housing the FSU softball and soccer offices is named after him and his wife.