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

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

Pat Carter

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 tight ends in FSU history?


A) Nick O’Leary is at the top because he did not wear gloves.

2) Pat Carter because he was the first FSU TE to be named first-team All-American, he started 44 games in a row (that would be 4 straight years back then, and that does not include bowl games), and he never lost a bowl game. He basically owned the TE record book until O’Leary came along.

D) Gary Parris’ career numbers are just short of Nick O’Leary’s numbers, but Parris did it in only 29 games and he accomplished this fifty (50) years ago.

Also, “Parris helped start a Florida Flag Football dynasty by playing with the Palace (WCTV) team from Tallahassee, which won their first state championship in 1971. The team went on to win four consecutive championships. To date, this record has not been surpassed.”

6) Jim Tyson-”During Tyson’s career at FSU, he caught 80 passes for 1204 yards and nine touchdowns. Those numbers are not too shabby for a Seminole tight end in the late 60’s.” Also, that was accomplished in only 3 years because back in those days freshmen could not play.

Matt Minnick:

Pat Carter, Nick O’Leary, Gary Parris, Melvin Pearsall

Similar to wide receiver for me, there’s two guys who clearly stand above the rest and that’s Pat Carter and Nick O’Leary.

Let’s start with O’Leary. The Mackey Award winner holds the school record for receptions, yards, and TDs by a tight end, and oh by the way he was a bully of a blocker too. And he did it all without wearing gloves. It just feels right that this All-American is being featured on Independence Day.

Speaking of All-Americans Carter is also one. Consider this: Carter played on an offense with one of FSU’s best offensive tackles of all time, Pat Tomberlin, and there was talk that he was an equally adept blocker. And he also shared targets with the Fab Four and was arguably the most reliable pass catcher on the team too. If Danny McManus gets his two-point conversion pass to the back corner of the endzone where Carter was wide open, Carter might be one of the most fondly remembered players in school history.

After those two it’s step down to a tier with 5 or 6 guys vying for the final two spots. Parris earns one of them due to the combination of his prodigious stats and overwhelming athleticism. Seriously, this guy in his prime would fit in well with our team today.

The last spot goes to Pearsall. First team All-ACC is a pretty good indication of the value he brought to what was possibly the best team in college football in 1997. At the time his career in garnet and gold wrapped up he was the school’s leader in touchdowns by a tight end with 11. And when you consider he played with super redzone threat Andre Cooper and two different guys named Warrick who could take it to the house from anywhere on the field, it seems like this could have easily been 15 or 16 if he played a few years later. On top of that, his blocking was an integral part of some dynamic rushing attacks during the mid-90s.

Jon Marchant:

Nick O’Leary, Pat Carter, Gary Parris, Jim Tyson

O’Leary is the obvious first choice. Not a deep bench here so the rest seemed just as obvious, again going numbers-wise.

(Oh, what could have been Brandon Warren.)

Perry Kos:

Nick O’Leary, Pat Carter, Melvin Pearsall, Lonnie Johnson

For the first time in this series, there was only one obvious choice for me — Mr. Nick O’Leary, conqueror of buses and Clemson defenders, hater of gloves.

From there, I continued upon the same highly productive/national champion combo. Lonnie Johnson, member of the 1993 championship squad, was FSU’s all-time career touchdown leader before that record was broken by Melvin Pearsall, a first-team All-ACC selection in his redshirt senior year in 1997. (O’Leary, of course, is FSU’s all-time leading tight end in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.

The fourth spot — though not necessarily in any order other than the way my thought spurted out as I wrote this, is Pat Carter, who helped elevate the profile of the position in Tallahassee as the Seminoles built the foundation for the eventual dynasty years.

Juan Montalvo:

Nick O’Leary, Pat Carter, Ed Beckman, Gary Parris

I’ll echo NT&T’s thoughts on this position group - this was a learning experience for me. FSU doesn’t have obvious, well known fan favorite options past O’Leary and Carter. It has been cool to learn about the guys pre-dynasty who don’t normally come up in these discussions, and the TE position likely has the most, as is appropriate for a generally less-celebrated position.

The top spot is obvious. Beyond using his elite ninja-acrobat body control demonstrated by just incredible catches, he threw a motorcycle at a car while doing a double tuck. Carter was part of the mid-80’s teams that laid the foundation for the dynasty and future success. Beckman was a pleasant surprise for me, and I chose him in part because he was a massively critical piece for Bobby Bowden’s first team in Tallahassee. As much as Carter and guys like Deion Sanders laid the foundation for the 90’s, Beckman helped ground a program that had seen a couple years of turmoil before Bobby arrived. Parris was second leading receiver behind only Barry Smith - a south Florida pair who put up big numbers.


Nick O’Leary, Pat Carter, Gary Parris, and Jim Tyson

Doing this series has been a lot of work for the TN staff, but it’s been a lot of fun as well. I consider myself fairly well-versed in Seminole lore (though I’m no Matt Minnick!) but I learn new things each week as we go through the position groups. This week was awesome because I only knew about two-thirds of these names.

O’Leary and Carter were easy picks but things got trickier for the final two spots. Heading into this week I would’ve rounded things out with Lonnie and Reggie Johnson. After learning about Parris and Tyson though, I respect the hell out of their career numbers and want to highlight both of those guys.

Who are the top four tight ends in FSU history?

Previous poll 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

Previous staff picks


Running backs

Wide Receivers