So, who made the cut this week?
To help the off-season pass a bit faster, we’ve been determining the top four Florida State Seminoles in school history at each position, constructing and sculpting a positional Mount Rushmore for them as voted on by the Tomahawk Nation community.
On Monday, we posted a poll for the Tomahawk Nation community to choose your top four all-time Seminoles’ interior defensive linemen, 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 defensive tackles.
Who are the top four defensive tackles in FSU history?
Ron Simmons (91.6%)
When he was signed out of Warner Robbins, Georgia, he was one of Florida State’s greatest recruiting victories. Midway through his freshman season Coach Bowden said, “Simmons is turning the program around.” In 1977 he was the difference in his first game at FSU and against North Texas State he was national lineman of the week. Ron made number 50 famous. He was ABC-TV player of the game four times and Football News freshman defensive lineman of the year. In 1979 and 1980 Ron was consensus All-American and in 1980 a Lombardi Award finalist and captain of the Seminoles. This powerful middle guard led FSU to the top of the polls, into two Orange Bowls and a Tangerine Bowl and to four consecutive victories over Florida. For four years Ron Simmons made opposition backs miserable and Seminoles deliriously happy.
Darnell Dockett (74.2%)
Darnell Dockett ended his football career in 2016 after spending ten years with the Arizona Cardinals. He was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and a second team All-Pro in 2009. He also tied the immortal Reggie White for most sacks in a single Super Bowl. He recorded more than 40 sacks in his career, good for seventh all-time with the Cardinals.
His career was remarkable. Not just because it was so good, but because of what Dockett went through to get there. Before everything, before all the tackles and the sacks at the pinnacle of his profession, Dockett walked through unimaginable pain and tragedy. When he was just thirteen years old his mother was murdered. Her killer has never been found. Four months later, his father passed away from cancer, leaving him to be raised by his uncle. Despite this, Dockett was once quoted as saying he doesn’t have any down days, and that he’s always cheerful.
Dockett eventually became one of the best in a long line of elite defensive tackles to don the Garnet and Gold. He was certainly one of the most imposing and ferocious.
In all, Dockett recorded 248 total tackles, half unassisted, with 10.5 sacks, and a staggering 65 tackles for loss (which, again, set a new school career record) and a frightening 70 quarterback hurries. His sacks and tackles for loss accounted for more than two-and-a-half football fields of lost yardage for opposing offenses. Dockett made his mark at FSU and rightfully takes his place in the history books among the best players in Florida State history.
Corey Simon (72.3%)
Corey Simon embracing the 1999 National Championship trophy after the Seminoles had defeated Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl is one of the iconic images of college football. A consensus All-America defensive lineman as a senior in 1999, Simon takes his rightful place as one of the finest players in FSU’s storied football history.
Simon was the defensive leader of FSU’s wire-to-wire national championship team and led the ACC with 21 tackles for loss that season. He finished with 84 tackles as a senior ranking fourth on Bobby Bowden’s only undefeated team. He was a finalist for both the Outland and Lombardi Trophies as a senior. He battled injuries during the early part of his career before his break-out season as a junior when he earned first team AP All-America honors and won the ACC’s Brian Piccolo Award.
Simon was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the sixth overall pick of the 2000 NFL Draft and had an outstanding professional career before being forced to retire in his prime for medical reasons while he was with the Tennessee Titans.
Timmy Jernigan (66.3%)
From 2011 to 2013 the cropped number eight jersey of Timmy Jernigan was at the forefront of opposing offense’s minds as he controlled the line of scrimmage and leaked into the backfields of FSU’s opponents.
The 5-star talent out of Lake City, FL made an instant impact along FSU’s defensive line, playing in 13 games as a true freshman. Jernigan’s 30 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 6 tackles for a loss that year were good enough to earn him First-Team Freshman All-American honors from the Football Writers Association.
Jernigan’s role would increase in 2012 and the sophomore would help the Seminoles to the ACC Championship game, where he put up his best performance of the season.
2013 was a career year for Jernigan. There wasn’t an offensive line he met that could handle him for 60 minutes. Racking up 63 tackles, 11 for a loss, and 4.5 sacks, Jernigan was named a first-team All-American by ESPN and a second-team All-American by the AP and USA Today, among others.
The rest of the top ten:
- Odell Haggins (44.2%)
- Alphonso Carreker (14.1%)
- Brodrick Bunkley (10.5%)
- Eddie Goldman (9.2%)
- Travis Johnson (8.7%)
- Carl Simpson (1.7%)
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
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