To help the off-season pass a bit faster, Tomahawk Nation is continuing our new Mount Rushmore series, where we’ll be determining the top four Seminoles at each position.
Yesterday, we posted a poll for the Tomahawk Nation community to choose their top four Seminoles at this week’s position group, and we’ll share the final poll results on Wednesday to reveal that position’s Mount Rushmore as chosen by you, Tomahawk Nation.
Today, we present to you the choices from some of our staff personalities below. These guys have delved into their considerable knowledge about Florida State Seminoles football, or quite possibly just threw darts at a board with Perry’s face on it* (we may never know).
Agree? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts on their picks in the comments and if you haven’t voted yet, hop into the poll below.
*Editor’s note: this board was not created for voodoo-related activities — rather, it was this year’s staff Christmas gift.
Who are the top four offensive tackles in FSU history?
Alex Barron, Walter Jones, Pat Tomberlin, Cam Erving
When it comes to Alex Barron, the accolades speak for themselves — one of FSU’s few two-time consensus All-Americans, Barron exhibited a level of excellence at the offensive tackle position that has arguably yet to be seen since.
Once again, accolades come into play for Tomberlin, who was a four-time All-American, including earning honorable mention nods from the AP as a freshman. He helped serve as a key part of an FSU team looking to solidify its spot on the stage, setting up the program as it started its run of top-five finishes.
While Walter Jones only spent one year in Tallahassee, his success at the position in his season with FSU and for the first time in this series, I’m giving post-FSU career consideration to add to his case on the mountain.
As for Erving, his role during the Seminoles' run from 2011 to 2014 can’t be understated — while he did switch to center during 2014, he earned first-team All-American honors as a tackle in 2013 as part of arguably the most prolific offense in college football history.
Ken Lanier, Pat Tomberlin, Alex Barron, and Brett Williams
Ken Lanier is the quintessential choice for a Mount Rushmore honor. He was not only a superb player, he came along at a time when FSU desperately needed some mammoth shoulders that would support the champions of the future. And Lanier certainly delivered that. We all love the stories about Wally Jim Jordan, Larry Key, and Mark Lyles, but without Lanier, those guys would have had a lot fewer highlights. In the four seasons prior to Lanier’s arrival, FSU went 9-35. The Seminoles won 10 games in Lanier’s freshman season alone, and over his four-year career posted a 39-8 record.
Pat Tomberlin is similar to Lanier, just a few years younger. His technique was off-the-charts good and his toughness embodied the unconquered spirit that started a Dynasty. During an era when Independents ruled college football (in 1988, four of the AP end-of-year top five teams were independents), Tomberlin was 1st team All-South Independent 3 straight years, with the last of those years being a consensus All-American.
Alex Barron is a two-time consensus All-American. This is a no-brainer. Fun story, my stepdad was a professor at FSU, and one year he said he had a student who couldn’t make the drive home for Thanksgiving and that we’d be setting out a plate for him. That student turned out to be Barron and while it technically was one plate, it was filled with food about 4 times. He was a delightful guest and the only thing bigger than his appetite was his smile.
The first three were relatively easy for me, but this 4th spot was brutal. At one point I had Roderick Johnson’s name typed in this spot. I also strongly considered Walter Jones, even if he did only sport the garnet and gold for one season. But ultimately I settled on Brett Williams. All three of them were All-Americans, but Williams has something neither Jones or Johnson have—a national title. Add in back-to-back Jacobs Blocking Trophies and he’s the guy. Yes, Big Rod had those two Jacobs Trophies too, but Williams’ played an extra season and capped off the Dynasty run. It was really really close though.
A) Alex Barron: Only because Mel Kiper thought highly of him, and he got his locker sealed
2) Ken Lanier: ”Lanier started 46 straight games for the Seminoles” and he earned some awards too.
D) Pat Tomberlin: ”It’s not often that you get to type these words: four-time All-American.” ‘Nuff said.
Ocho) Brett Williams: “In his five years on the Florida State roster, the Seminoles captured four ACC crowns.” He also got some trophies during his time.
Pat Tomberlin, Ken Lanier, Alex Barron, Brett Williams
Now we’re getting to the position groups that are truly difficult to narrow down, but that’s also part of the fun!
It was hard to leave off Walter Jones and Tra Thomas. Really hard. I surprised myself leaving off Jones in particular. But I think that Tomberlin, Lanier, Barron, and Williams were more crucial to the sustained success of their squads. I mean, I played high school football in Colorado and I remember the OL coach showing his guys film clips of Brett Williams because of his incredible technique.
Pat Tomberlin: 4x All American
Alex Barron: First FSU OL to get his locker sealed
Walter Jones: Like Fred Biletnikoff, a legendary NFL career helps solidify his spot amongst the greats at the position. His one season in Garnet & Gold was arguably the most dominant performance of any FSU lineman.
Brett Williams: Anchored the offensive line during the peak of the Dynasty Era
Alex Barron: This one is a no-brainer. When you give enough time for Chris Rix to look good on a football field, you’re doing a great job as a tackle - even if Rix sleeps through the plays. And other things.
Brett Williams: I’ve been sticking with high praise for key players in championship seasons throughout this series. I’ll do the same here.
Pat Tomberlin: The career speaks for itself. Tomberlin helped build the dynasty and broke open holes for an FSU offense that had not yet transitioned to the Fast Break, quarterback-heavy pass fest that defined the best program of the 1990s. Dexter Carter doesn’t have the cache to deposit a flag on a Miami player’s head without a four-time all-American blocker.
Cam Erving: One of my favorite Noles of all time. The most notable moment of his freshman year was being the ******** who received a personal foul on the sidelines in Norman as the Noles got blown out. He matured, and so did that team - he played tackle for FSU’s first ACC championship team of the 2010s and then maturely gave up the tackle spot to play center for arguably the best pro-style offense of that decade. Jameis Winston doesn’t have his success without the selfless move inside by Erving. Another history tidbit: a very FSU-friendly coach in Moultrie refused to give tape on the then-three-star defensive tackle before he came to Tallahassee. Jimbo Fisher owes that fella 10 million free meals a year.
Honorable Mention: Tarlos Thomas. Tra is the Thomas that gets the most mention in FSU lore, because of a stellar NFL career, but Tarlos was a key piece of the wire-to-wire 1999 team. Keeping Chris Weinke upright was critical, given that he had as much mobility as 50-year-old Brad Johnson. Weinke missed him for most of the 2000 season, and if the pair were healthy, Bob Stoops may not have taken that win from Bobby.
Who are the top four offensive tackles in FSU history?
Previous staff picks
Quarterbacks: Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke, Jameis Winston, Jordan Travis
Running Backs: Warrick Dunn, Dalvin Cook, Greg Allen, Amp Lee
Wide Receivers: Peter Warrick, Fred Biletnikoff, Rashad Greene, Ron Sellers
Tight Ends: Nick O’Leary, Pat Carter, Lonnie Johnson, Melvin Pearsall