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Florida State Mount Rushmore: Staff picks for top four FSU safeties

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

Monk Bonasorte

Who are the top four all-time Florida State safeties?

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 safeties.

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 safeties in FSU history?


Leroy Butler, Monk Bonasorte, Jalen Ramsey, Lamarcus Joyner

This is the hardest position group for me to narrow down. I knew that coming into this series but that didn’t provide any sort of solace. Bonasorte and Butler were easy choices for obvious reasons, but the next two? Whew.

I ultimately chose Ramsey because he may have the best combination of talent and versatility of any Seminole DB in history. That versatility allowed the coaches to get other talented backs on the field without the defense missing a beat and without having to sub Ramsey out. Joyner got the final nod from me because in addition to being a fantastic player, he was an immense part of the shift in both locker room culture and national perception early in Jimbo Fisher’s tenure. There’s really no overstating this: without Joyner choosing to play for FSU, the foundation for 2013 may not have been set.

Leaving off names like James, Jones, and Hope just feels criminal. I am a huge fan of Chris Hope. He is one of my favorite all-time Seminoles. But my goodness, how amazing it is to have such a deep history at safety to be able to have these guys on “second team”.

Matt Minnick:

LeRoy Butler, Lamarcus Joyner, Monk Bonasorte, Chris Hope

I can’t say for sure if this is the hardest grouping yet, but it’s certainly up there. Funny enough, it’s difficult in a very different way than most of the others. For many Rushmore’s there were two or even three locks and then a battle for the 4th spot. However, for the safeties there is only one legend who stands above the rest in my mind and then a massive pile up of great, but not quite legendary, players for spots 2-4.

Butler is the legend. The Puntrooskie is one of the truly iconic plays in the history of this sport, his penchant for clutch plays, and his game-opening interception against Miami in my favorite regular season game ever all make LeRoy an easy choice.

After that it gets very tricky very fast. There are no major award winners, no unanimous All-Americans, and no school record holders. Just a lot of really good ball players. Ferocious hitters with a lot of swag who made our defenses scary.

I gave a nod to Joyner because of his versatility, his leadership on a national title team, and that Clemson game where he absolutely dominated.

Next, I landed on Bonasorte. While he doesn’t hold the school record for season and career interceptions anymore, he did hold them for over a decade before one of the all-time great ball hawks in NCAA history stepped on campus. Plus, Bonasorte anchored a secondary when FSU was just discovering what kind of powerhouse could be, putting the college football world on notice of what was to come.

For the last spot I was still debating between quite a few guys. Jerome Carter, Dedrick Dodge, Chris Hope, Jalen Ramsey, and Stan Shiver were all under serious consideration. I nearly landed on Ramsay for many of the same reasons as Joyner—versatility, leadership, and an epic performance on the road against a rival. In fact, if Ramsey stays one more season he probably solidifies himself as a true legend in the Butler stratosphere. And who knows, maybe in a few years (or days) I change my mind.

But on this day it was Hope who etched his face onto this mountain. South Carolina has long been a talent pipeline for FSU and Hope is a big part of that history. Hope is in a small group of Seminoles who can say they played in three national title games, starting in two of them. His 234 career tackles speaks to his toughness and football IQ, while his 9 INTs (two of which came against UF) and 4 forced fumbles demonstrates his big play ability.

Perry Kostidakis:

LeRoy Butler, Lamarcus Joyner, Jalen Ramsey, Monk Bonasorte

Butler, on multiple levels through multiple ways, made his mark on the game of football overall, let alone at Florida State, and his spot is well-earned. Joyner was essential to the foundation that eventually won earned Florida State another national title, while Ramsey was one of those final pieces needed to earn that championship. A lot of people remember his 2014 performance vs. Miami, for good reason, but one game, and I guess more specifically one play, that will always stick out to me will be 2015 Boston College, and his scoop-and-score to help solidify a 14-0 — yes, you read that right — win.

Bonasorte has the production and such an off-the-field impact that it overpowers the “only consider the on-field production” I’ve tried to maintain throughout it all.

Juan Montalvo:

Lamarcus Joyner, LeRoy Butler, Jalen Ramsey, Terrence Brooks

This tests my “championship matters” mantra to large degree, but I feel good with these choices.

Joyner is obvious. Part of the initial wave to Jimbo’s FSU, he was a playmaker from day 1, and won a title. Ramsey came in as a true freshman and dominated in an away game at Pittsburgh. Brooks is probably the most underrated defensive backs in FSU history, and go look at his NC State interception in MOFC if you don’t believe me. Lambeau Leap may be Butler’s signature, but he was excellent in an FSU defensive backfield of legends.

Jon Loesche:

Leroy Butler, Monk Bonasorte, Jalen Ramsey, Lamarcus Joyner

Butler shared a defense with Deion Sanders and was arguably the better player during his college years.

Monk gets in for his invaluable contributions to FSU off the field just as much for his on the field accolades.

Jalen Ramsey’s performance vs Miami in 2014 alone should get him a spot on the list.

Lamarcus Joyner may not have had the same level of career as others on this list or some who got left off, but as others have said he was the catalyst for bringing together the recruiting class that was the bedrock for the 2013 national championship team.


Leroy Butler, Lamarcus Joyner, Stan Shiver, Jalen Ramsey

Even though I respect everything he did for FSU, and knowing how he practically devoted his life to the Noles, I had to go with Stan Shiver over Monk Bonasorte for my final selection.

Shiver played at FSU when Bowden was developing a national brand and was a big part of helping the Noles reach those never before seen heights. Also, you can’t argue with his career numbers.

Shiver finished his career at FSU with 198 career tackles (122 solo), nine sacks, nine interceptions, three forced fumbles, and two blocked kicks. Shiver’s nine career interceptions have him tied for the 19th in the FSU record books.

I think the other 3, Jalen, Lamarcus, and Leroy are no brainers who belong on this list.

Who are the top four safeties in FSU history?

Previous staff picks


Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Tackles

Interior Offensive Linemen

Defensive Ends

Defensive Tackles



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

Defensive Ends: Peter Boulware, Andre Wadsworth, Reinard Wilson, Derrick Alexander

Defensive Tackles: Ron Simmons, Darnell Dockett, Corey Simon, Timmy Jernigan

Linebackers: Derrick Brooks, Marvin Jones, Sam Cowart, Paul McGowan

Cornerbacks: Terrell Buckley, Deion Sanders, Corey Sawyer, Bobby Butler