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Former FSU tight end Nick O’Leary has joined Seminoles coaching staff

A familiar face is coming back to Florida State football

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 29 Florida at Florida State Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A familiar face is coming back to Florida State.

Nick O’Leary, who played for the Seminoles from 2011 to 2014, has joined the Florida State football staff as a Student Assistant Coach on offense, per the 2023 FSU Media Guide.

O’Leary finished his time in Tallahassee as the most prolific tight end to ever don the garnet and gold, winning the 2014 John Mackey Award (the first-ever FSU player to do so) and etching his name in the record books as the Seminoles’ all-time leader in receptions (114), yards (1,591) and touchdowns (18) by a tight end.

He spent five years in the NFL (three with the Buffalo Bills, two with the Miami Dolphins, one with the Jacksonville Jaguars) following his Florida State career, recording 53 catches, 668 yards and four touchdowns.

Perhaps most prestigious of all his accolades — O’Leary was recently the highest-earning vote-getter in Tomahawk Nation’s Mount Rushmore for Florida State tight ends.

His FSU bio:

Wrapped up his career as the most prolific tight end in Florida State history, capturing the 2014 John Mackey Award and ending his career as FSU’s all-time leader among tight ends in receptions (114), yards (1,591) and touchdowns (18).


Became the first Seminole to win the John Mackey Award given to the nation’s top tight end and captured several First Team All-America honors in addition to First Team All-ACC honors from the league’s coaches and media…devastating blocker who developed into a top pass-catching threat, ranked second on the Seminoles in receptions (48), yards (618) and receiving scores (six)…FSU’s all-time leader among tight ends in career receptions (114), yards (1,591) and touchdowns (18)…his 17 touchdown receptions are tied for the second most in ACC history…had three receptions for a season-best-tying 97 yards and a 46-yard score – all in the first half – against Georgia Tech in the ACC Championship Game…had four catches for 52 yards and two second-quarter touchdowns against Florida…caught three passes for 59 yards and a touchdown versus Boston College…had four receptions for 42 yards at Miami and six receptions for 76 yards at Louisville…Florida State trailed 21-0 in the second quarter against the Cardinals until O’Leary recovered a fumble in the end zone for FSU’s first score 33 seconds before halftime, igniting the biggest comeback victory in school history…had a career-best eight receptions for a season-best 97 yards and a touchdown at Syracuse…had six receptions for 77 yards versus Clemson…totaled five receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown against The Citadel.


Was one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award, given to the nation’s top tight end…had 33 receptions for 557 yards and seven touchdowns…averaged 16.9 yards per catch – a mark that led all tight ends in the nation…his seven scores tied for the second-most by a tight end, nationally…27 of 33 receptions went for a touchdown or a first down…the three-year starter is already the FSU career record-holder for touchdown catches by a tight end (11)…also a punishing blocker and runner…his blocking and receiving talents helped the Noles set FSU and ACC records for single-season total offense (7,267 yards), points per game (51.6) and yards per play (7.67) and the national record for points (723)…the Noles led the country with 94 touchdowns…set Florida State records for a tight end with 161 receiving yards and a 94-yard reception in the Noles’ 51-14 victory at then-No. 3 Clemson…opened the season by scoring three touchdowns at Pitt…added two receiving touchdowns against Maryland…had scoring receptions against NC State and Syracuse…caught three balls for 52 yards at Florida and hauled in three passes for 48 yards versus Duke in the ACC Championship Game…his 66 receptions and 973 yards for his career both rank second for tight ends in Seminole history behind Gary Parris (1970-72), who had 82 receptions and 1,125 yards.


Second-year sophomore starter at the tight end position, where he became a key contributor in both the passing and running game for the Seminoles…appeared in 13 games with 11 starts in 2012…established new single-season highs for receptions (21), yards (252) and touchdowns (3)…it’s the most productive season for an FSU tight end for receptions and yards since 2006 and most touchdowns since 1994 (Melvin Pearsall, 5)…scored in three consecutive games with a two-point conversion reception at Virginia Tech, followed by touchdown grabs at Maryland and against Florida…established a new career-high with four receptions at USF.


True freshman tight end who played in all 13 games and registered a pair of starts – his first career start coming on the road at Clemson and another start at Duke…led all FSU tight ends with 12 receptions and 164 yards (13.7 ypc)…had a pair of three-reception games which included the 38-7 win at Boston College, when he finished with a team-leading and career-high 87 receiving yards…hauled in a career-long 58-yard reception against the Eagles which was the longest by an FSU tight end since Lonnie Johnson in 1993…earned ACC Rookie of the Week honors after his performance at Boston College…also collected three receptions in his first start at Clemson…had two catches in the opening quarter of the game against No. 1 Oklahoma…did not record a reception in the home win over Miami, but his recovery of a game-sealing onside kick was called the “play of the game” by coach Jimbo Fisher…first career touchddown reception – a three-yard catch – came on the road at Duke….voted a Top Newcomer on offense at the team’s annual banquet.


The top-rated tight end prospect in the country as senior in high school, who presented matchup problems with his athleticism…as a senior, caught 51 passes for 875 yards and 12 touchdowns in helping lead Dwyer to the 2010 Class 4A state football semifinals…helped Dwyer win the 4A title in 2009…U.S. Army All-American…Rivals ranked him as the No. 1 tight end and No. 33 player overall while had him the No. 3 tight end and the 62nd best player in the nation…rated a five-star prospect, the No. 1 tight end and the No. 16 overall player in the nation by 247Sports…All-USA Second Team offense by USA Today…No. 20 on the ESPNU 150 and rated the No. 2 tight end prospect…No. 74 on Tom Lemming’s 2011 Top 100…Sun Sentinel Super 11 selection…No. 1 on the Sun Sentinel’s Top 32 Broward County Seniors…No. 3 on Bill Buchalter’s 2011 Florida Top 100 for the Orlando Sentinel…No. 39 on Mobile Press-Register Super Southeast 120…First Team All-Palm Beach County by Sun Sentinel…also excelled as a punter and special teams player…member of the Florida Times-Union’s Florida Super 75 where he was rated as the No. 1 tight end…Palm Beach Post All-Area First Team…No. 10 on the SuperPrep Florida 110…Grandson of legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus…born August 31, 1992.

2014 Honors

— John Mackey Award Winner

— Consensus All-American

— All-ACC First Team (Media, Coaches)

— AFCA All-America First Team

— Associated Press All-America First Team

— Walter Camp All-America First Team

— Sports Illustrated All-America First Team

— All-America First Team

— USA Today All-America First Team

— All-America First Team

— All-America First Team

2013 Honors

— John Mackey Award Finalist

— All-ACC Second Team

— Coaches All-ACC Second Team

— All-America Third Team

— Lindy’s All-America Third Team