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Florida State Mount Rushmore: Staff picks for top four FSU defensive ends

Tomahawk Nation contributors give their versions of the Mount Rushmore of FSU greats, position by position.

Peter Boulware

Who are the top four all-time Florida State defensive ends?

Yesterday, we posted a poll for the Tomahawk Nation community to kick off the debate, with the final poll results coming Wednesday to reveal the Mount Rushmore of FSU defensive ends.

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 defensive ends in FSU history?

Perry Kostidakis:

Peter Boulware, Reinard Wilson, Derrick Alexander, Andre Wadsworth

I’m not the first to say this and won’t be the last but this one was hard to narrow down. No matter what criteria you threw out — stats, significance, accomplishments, accolades — you could still find yourself with 5-6 names left and forced into the position of really getting to the nitty gritty.

Really, the hardest name for me to leave off which I didn’t expect heading in was DeMarcus Walker. His 2016 season was ridiculous — 16 sacks, 21.5 tackles for loss and most importantly, executing perhaps the funniest defeat of Miami we’ve seen in the Block at the Hard Rock.

Matt Minnick: Willie Jones Sr, Reinard Wilson, Peter Boulware, Derrick Alexander

Forget picking a top 4, I struggled just to help Frank and NT&T pick where the cut-off line for voting consideration was. Probably the only thing worse than picking between these legends was having to line up against them.

The “easiest one” for me was Willie Jones Sr. Sure 20 career sacks isn’t an eye-popping number now, but in 1978 there was one QB in the country who threw for more than 3,000 yards. Charles White, out at USC, had more rushing attempts than all but three QBs. The reality is that among his peers, Jones was a man amongst boys. Hence, being an All-American, a two-time 1st team All-South Independent, and the MVP of the Senior Bowl (back when that was a huge deal). On top of all that, he was a keystone piece of the foundation built by Bobby Bowden, helping transform this program from the dark days of Darryl Mudra to a 10-2 season with a Tangerine Bowl win and top 15 ranking in the polls. That’s quintessential “Rushmore” material.

After that, I started trying to narrow down by trying to poke holes in guys’ resumes. Maybe Boulware and Wilson were only elite because they played with each other? Maybe Alexander benefitted from playing with guys like Brooks and Shade Tree, just like Reynolds was able to bring fire off the edge because Corey Simon was soaking up blockers in the middle? Werner didn’t win a title, and Walker only did by playing spot duty on a 2013 team that had NFL players at every position.

However, the more I tried to eliminate, the more ridiculous I sounded in my head. All of these guys were freaking studs and I was picking nits off of gnats.

In the end I shut my computer, quit playing YouTube highlights on my phone, and asked myself one question: when I close my eyes and picture myself standing and yelling on a big 3rd down from the same seats I’ve enjoyed in Doak since 1986, who do I envision screaming off the corner to rip the QB’s head off? Reinard Wilson, Peter Boulware, and Derrick Alexander, in that order.

Alexander was a stalwart on FSU’s first national title team and was equally adept at rushing the passer or setting the edge against the run—which came in pretty handy playing teams like Nebraska and Miami. Consider that part of the reason Boulware redshirted in 1993 is because Alexander was on the team.

Speaking of Boulware, he was a freak athlete who made plays all over the field and his 1996 season very well could be the best by any FSU defensive lineman ever.

Wilson is the leading sack artist in school history whose ferocious hits struck legitimate fear into happy-footed QBs all over the ACC.

Special tip of the cap to Jermaine Johnson. In the NBA and NFL, guys who contribute to a championship season earn rings even if they were traded away mid-season. Should FSU somehow find themselves as ACC or national champs this season, Coach Norvell should send Johnson a ring.


A) Jamal Reynolds because he was an unanimous All-American in 2000, as well as the winner of the Lombardi Award, given to the best defensive player in the country regardless of position.

2) Andre Wadsworth because he was a Consensus All-American, a Lombardi Award finalist, an Outland Trophy finalist, some other stuff, and named one of the 30 Greatest ACC Players by College Football News.

D) Reinard Wilson because he accumulated a school record 35.5 sacks and 234 total tackles during his career at FSU. Also, he was also a monster.

Toyota) Peter Boulware because he owns a car dealership and I think he will give me a discount on a new car if I vote for him. Also, because he played good and won some awards.


Peter Boulware, Reinard Wilson, Jamal Reynolds, Andre Wadsworth

This was easily the most difficult Mount Rushmore to date for me. It’s incredible to look back through the defensive ends at FSU and think of how many studs didn’t even make the ballot. It hurt to leave off names like Jones, Werner, Burns, Alexander, and Johnson, but these four guys were all just on another level.

Who are the top four defensive ends in FSU history?

Previous staff picks


Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Tackles

Interior Offensive Linemen

Previous results

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

Offensive Tackles: Walter Jones, Alex Barron, Pat Tomberlin, Cam Erving

Interior Offensive Linemen: Rodney Hudson, Jamie Dukes, Bryan Stork, Clay Shiver