Who are the top four all-time Florida State defensive tackles?
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 interior defensive linemen.
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 tackles in FSU history?
The top four defensive tackles in FSU history that I would put on my Mount Rushmore are:
A) Darnell Dockett because he really pissed off Spurrier by “allegedly” twisting a Gator players knee.
Spurrier said, “The tape didn’t show it clearly, but the guy was doing something down there.
Bowden replied, “In the history of college football, I’ve heard of people twisting an ankle, but how are you going to twist a knee?” Bowden said. “I’m not mad at Steve. Steve might be kidding. But I’m thinking, I’ve heard of twisting an ankle in the pile, but I don’t know how you twist a knee.”
2) Timmy Jernigan because he gave us the gif that keeps on giving of the filthy Cane player that kept going after the play had ended, then Timmy judo flipped his ass in front of the ref, and then he and his quarterback pitifully asking for a flag.
That is a gif that will live on forever.
D) Corey Simon because he was consensus All-American, a 1st teamer by no less than seven different publications. He finished with 193 total tackles, including 44 for a loss, with eleven total sacks and three forced fumbles. The 44 tackles for loss tied the school career record set by the legendary Ron Simmons.
Faarooq) Ron Simmons because just like Ron Simmons, I too was a wrestler (in high school), and us wrestlers have to stick together.
Ron Simmons, Corey Simon, Timmy Jernigan, Odell Haggins
The first three? Easy. Simmons is a household name, an accomplishment that stands out even more impressively given the stature of FSU’s program at that time. Simon is one of the most decorated players in school history, dominating during Florida State’s peak and Jernigan exhibited consistent production throughout his career, a consensus freshman first-team All-American in 2011 alongside multiple first/second/third All-American nods in 2013.
That fourth spot, though? A battle between Haggins and Darnell Dockett and for me, in the end, Odell gets the spot. Legacy outside of the football field hasn’t come too into play so far on my picks, but when you consider the fact that that legacy matches up with what he was able to do in setting up the Seminoles’ dynasty years, a hard choice becomes a lot more obvious.
Ron Simmons, Corey Simon, Darnell Dockett, Timmy Jernigan
Not to say this was easy, but compared to DE and the OL spots, this one took a lot less teeth gnashing.
Big Bad Ron isn’t just the best defensive lineman in school history, he very well could be the best defensive player in school history. He was a legitimate program changer who was the Ndamukong Suh of the era. 12 sacks his true freshman year from the nose guard position? I mean, are you serious? He finished 9th in the Heisman ballot despite FSU being regarded as an upstart, flash in the pan, and he’s a College Football Hall of Famer.
Simon was the best interior defensive lineman in the 1990s for the best program of the 1990s. A two-time All-American, including consensus 1st team in 1999, his 44 tackles for loss don’t even include the 4 he had collectively against Ohio State and Virginia Tech in the 1998 and 2000 Sugar Bowls.
Dockett is the school’s all time leader in tackles for loss and it’s really not close. While defensive stats have only been collected officially by the NCAA since 2000, Dockett’s 65 career tackles for loss are in the top 10 in the nation within that time, up there with names like Aaron Donald (66), Terrell Suggs (65.5), and Derrick Johnson (65). Oh yeah, DD was the 2003 ACC defensive player of the year, the only defensive tackle from FSU to ever win that award.
Those first three were all very easy. The last spot was a bit trickier and came down to Broderick Bunkley and Timmy Jernigan. Bunkley had an incredible 2005 season, registering as many TFLs that season (25) as Jernigan had in his career. But due to injuries and Dockett, that was really the only elite season Bunk had. Jernigan, meanwhile, was a pillar on the great defenses of the early 2010s and was a critical part in bringing FSU back into the national spotlight, ultimately starring on an undefeated national title team. Rings bling and in this case it gets him on the mountain.
Special shout out to Odell Haggins. Emblematic of the fast, aggressive, and ferociously physical Mickey Andrews’ defenses of the late 80s and early 90s, Haggins was not only a key cog in starting the dynasty, he has become an all-time FSU legend for his coaching exploits too, both as an assistant and a head coach. In fact, if we were to just do an “FSU Football” Mount Rushmore that factored in impact on the program overall, it’s possible he gets an honorable mention in that one too. But in addition to all that, Haggins was a childhood favorite of mine. While I can’t prove this definitively, if you asked me about an FSU DL Mount Rushmore in the 1988, it’s pretty likely I would pick the guy who was a big teddy bear around fans like me.
Ron Simmons, Corey Simon, Odell Haggins, Timmy Jernigan
Simmons is the easiest of easy choices among all of the position groups so far for me. He’d definitely have a spot on my Mount Rushmore for FSU players regardless of position. It can easily be argued that as far as players go, no one laid the groundwork for what Bobby Bowden was able to accomplish better than Simmons. He is a pillar of FSU’s program.
Simon was a destructive force that finished his career with outstanding numbers despite having the primary responsibility to eat up blockers to allow others to make plays. His dogged determination to overcome his early injuries made him one of my personal favorite ‘Noles and I firmly believe that FSU does not go wire-to-wire in 1999 without Corey Simon.
Haggins, Dockett, and Jernigan were tougher choices for me as I worked to fill the final two spots. I thought hard about Dockett for his incredible output at a time when the program started showing some major cracks. Jernigan was one of the most significant recruiting victories in the Fisher era, had a tremendous impact on changing the culture in Tallahassee, and was a foundational piece leading to FSU’s third national championship. Haggins was probably the lesser of the three on the field but his impact as a coach has been tremendous, having coached over half of the players on the list. In the end, Haggins and Jernigan nudged Dockett for me. Shout out to Carreker as well. Some incredible work ethics on this list!
Ron Simmons, Odell Haggins, Corey Simon, Timmy Jernigan
Simmons is the free bingo square for this position. The best player during Bowden’s initial run of success at FSU and the first player in FSU history to have his jersey retired, nothing else you can say other than...
Haggins actual playing career probably doesn’t land him a spot on my top 4 but his massive impact as a coach brings him into the Top 4.
Corey Simon doesn’t get talked about enough as a pillar of the 1999 championship team. A concensus 1st Team All-American by every publication worth mentioning, he had just a big a role in Bowden’s lone perfect season as Chris Weinke or Peter Warrick.
Timmy Jernigan was the same kind of pillar for the 2013 championship team. On a defense loaded with future NFL talent he his FSU career stacks up with any of them.
Who are the top four defensive 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
Offensive Tackles: Walter Jones, Alex Barron, Pat Tomberlin, Cam Erving
Interior Offensive Linemen: Rodney Hudson, Jamie Dukes, Bryan Stork, Clay Shiver
Defensive Ends: Peter Boulware, Andre Wadsworth, Reinard Wilson, Derrick Alexander