To help the off-season pass a bit faster, Tomahawk Nation is running our new Mount Rushmore series, determining the top four Florida State Seminoles in school history at each position.
On Monday, we posted a poll for the Tomahawk Nation community to choose your top four all-time Seminoles’ tight ends and yesterday, presented the choices from some of our staff and contributors.
Today — the results. The Tomahawk Nation community has spoken!
Without further ado, we present to you the Mount Rushmore of FSU Tight Ends.
Who are the top four tight ends in FSU history?
Nick O’Leary (91.1%)
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.
Pat Carter (69.4%)
Tight End from Sarasota...an outstanding blocker with fine hands...a four-year letterman and starter...1st Team All-South Independent in 1986 and 87...earned AP All-American Honorable Mention in 1986 and 1st Team All-American from The Sporting News and AP 2nd Team All-American in 1987...had seven career touchdowns and caught two two-point conversions...caught 71 passes for 777 yards in his career excluding the bowl games...spent 10 years in the NFL with the Lions, Rams, Oilers and Cardinals.
Lonnie Johnson (47%)
Taking over the tight end mantle from Reggie Johnson, Lonnie Johnson finished his career with 43 catches for 555 yards and 10 touchdowns from 1990-1993.
His breakout season came in 1991, when he caught 22 balls for 293 yards and four touchdowns.
His final season coincided with FSU’s first National Championship, seeing Johnson haul in 13 catches for 182 yards and four touchdowns. He also blocked a punt against the Kansas Jayhawks, which Clifton Abraham recovered for a touchdown
Melvin Pearsall (34.5%)
Melvin Pearsall earned All-ACC honors in two consecutive seasons under Bobby Bowden, as an Honorable Mention in 1996 and a first-team choice the following year.
“Pearsall is a talent,” FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. “He really can catch the ball and run with it.”
Pearsall was a significant red-zone weapon. By the time he left Tallahassee, his 11 touchdown receptions set a then-FSU record for career scores among tight ends.
O’Leary, who pretty clearly established himself as the greatest tight end in Florida State history during his time in Tallahassee, had the largest margin between the second-highest vote-getter so far, 21.7% — for quarterbacks, the difference between Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke was 4.5% and for running backs, it was even closer at 2.4% between Warrick Dunn and Dalvin Cook. Wide receivers Peter Warrick and Fred Biletnikoff previously had the tightest margin at 16%.
The rest of the top 10
- Ryan Izzo (27.1%)
- Reggie Johnson (19.4%)
- Gary Parris (19.2%)
- Ed Beckman (16.3%)
- Camren McDonald (9.2%)
- Jim Tyson (8.5%)
Sidenote: Zeke Mowatt managed to get around 1.4% off write-in votes — the highest so far for a write-in candidate. Mowatt caught 40 passes for 378 yards and three touchdowns over his Florida State career, leading to a nine-year NFL career mainly spent with the New York Giants, with whom he won a Super Bowl in 1986.
So there you have it, folks. What do you think about these choices? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to vote each week for your top four choices for each position group.
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