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Florida State Mount Rushmore: Who was voted as a top all-time safety?

The Tomahawk Nation community has spoken!

Florida State v Miami Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

So, who made the cut this week?

All summer long, 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’ safeties, 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 safeties.

Who are the top four safeties in FSU history?

LeRoy Butler (84.9%)

He wasn’t a typical child growing up in the Blodgett Homes projects in Jacksonville, Florida. LeRoy Butler struggled with extremely weak bones in his feet causing a misalignment that prevented him from running. Several years in his youth were spent in braces, casts or even a wheelchair for a time. By the seventh grade, LeRoy’s feet had healed and the doors would soon open to a whole new world.

By 1986, LeRoy had become one of the most honored football players in the history on Lee High School. He was named to the Bally and Adidas All-America teams and ranked in Football News’ top 100 recruits.

Bulter became a household name for his role in the punt-rooskie play against Clemson in 1988. His senior season he moved from free safety to cornerback to replace teammate Deion Sanders. That season he had key interceptions in wins over Miami, Syracuse and Virginia Tech, finishing the year with seven interceptions, which to this day still lists him 4th on the Seminoles’ all-time single season record. He was named an NCAA Consensus All-American and in the summer, LeRoy was named MVP of the Japan Bowl after an interception and 67 yard punt return. In 1990, LeRoy was selected in the NFL’s second round and 48th pick overall by the Green Bay Packers.

LeRoy Butler was a feisty fixture for the Packers green and gold and he played 12 seasons with this NFL team. He was a four-time NFL Pro-Bowler and is also known as the originator of the Lambeau Leap, where the players soar into the stands after scoring a touchdown on their home turf.

He was inducted into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 2007. He also was a first-team All-1990s Team selection by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2022 — the fifth Pro Football Hall of Fame selection from Florida State, tied for the 11th-highest total among all colleges nationally.


Jalen Ramsey (71.1%)


Became Florida State’s 36th consensus All-American…started all 13 games at boundary cornerback while also returning kickoffs…finished the season with 52 tackles, four TFLs, one sack, one fumble recovery and a team-high 10 pass break-ups…his 36-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown against Boston College was the Seminoles lone defensive touchdown of the season and helped seal FSU’s first road victory of the season…a Thorpe Award, Bednarik Trophy and Lott IMPACT Trophy semifinalist…named ACC Defensive Back of the Week twice after spectacular performances against USF and Boston College…at No. 1 Clemson, tallied nine tackles, a pass break-up and a sack…returned two kickoffs for 54 yards and one punt for six yards…led the FSU defense to a top-10 finish in total defense, a top-15 finish in pass efficiency defense, and top-25 finish in passing yards allowed…finished his career with 180 tackles (119 solo), 15.5 TFLs, five sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 23 pass break-ups to go along with three interceptions...won the ACC long jump title at the outdoor and indoor championships…won the conference outdoor title with a leap of 26-1.5 (7.96m) and also ran lead-off leg on ACC outdoor champion 4×100 relay (39.28)…added a seventh-place finish in 100 (10.61w)…finished 14th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the long jump after collecting All-America honors with a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a personal-best mark of 26-1.75.


Started all 14 games at the Star position in the secondary, pushing his streak to 28 career starts…captured several All-America honors in addition to All-ACC First Team accolades…ranked fourth among Noles with 79 tackles and second in tackles for loss (9.5)…tied for second on the Noles with 3.0 TFLs…team leader with 12 pass break-ups to go along with two interceptions…ranked second in the ACC with 12 total PBUs and fifth in passes defended per game (1.00)…forced two fumbles…earned three national defensive player of the week honors for his performance at Miami where he registered three tackles, a tackle for loss, forced a fumble on the Hurricanes’ first offensive play, broke up four passes, blocked a kick and sealed the win with an interception


Started all 14 games for the Seminoles third-ranked defense (281.4) and the nation’s top pass defense (156.6) as a cornerback and free safety…made his first career start at Pitt on Sept. 2, becoming the first true freshman to start at cornerback since Deion Sanders in 1985…started first three games of the season at cornerback before moving to safety following Tyler Hunter’s injury…hard-hitting playmaker ranked seventh on the Seminoles with 49 tackles…led FSU with 27 tackles on passing plays…tallied five tackles in the BCS National Championship Game against Auburn…captured several Freshman All-America honors, including recognition from the FWAA.


Lamarcus Joyner (68.3%)


Was the first Seminole defensive back to be named a consensus first team All-American since 2000…just the seventh DB in FSU history to garner consensus first team All-American honors joining players like Deion Sanders, LeRoy Butler and Terrell Buckley…named a first team All-American by eight different groups…led the `Noles with 5.5 sacks and was second on the team with 69 tackles…no defensive back in the country had more sacks than Joyner… versus Clemson recorded eight solo tackles, one sack, an interception and forced two fumbles that led directly to 17 points, more than Clemson scored the entire game…named Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week, Jim Thorpe Defensive Back of the Week, FWAA Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week, Lott IMPACT Player of the Week, CFPA National Defensive Back of the Week and ACC Defensive Back of the Week (among others) for his performance at Clemson…had five tackles and 0.5 sacks in the BCS National Championship game… leader on nation’s top-ranked pass defense (156.6 ypg)…also helped the `Noles lead the nation in scoring defense (12.1 ppg) and interceptions (26), and ranked third in total defense (281.4 ypg).


Started all 14 games on the season…had the third-longest interception return of the season when he took a pick back 33 yards versus Boston College, his sixth of his FSU career…recorded multiple tackles in 12 of 14 games… added his second TFL in the Orange Bowl against Northern Illinois…led FSU in kick returns, kick return yardage and had the longest kick-off return of the season…returned five kick-offs for 185 yards including a 90 yarder versus Clemson in a top-10 win for the Seminoles…named ACC Specialist of the Week following his performance against Clemson… in the seven games in which he returned a kick, he had a return of 30 or more yards in three of those contests. …helped Florida State’s defense lead the nation in yards allowed per play (3.86), rank second nationally in total defense (254.14 ypg) and rank in the top six nationally in scoring defense (14.71 ppg), rushing defense (92.29 ypg), pass defense (161.86 ypg), pass efficiency defense (95.43) and opponent three-and-outs (6.29 per game).


First-year starter at safety who returned to his natural position during spring practice and went on to start all 13 games…earned All-ACC second team honors after ranking fourth on the team with 54 tackles adding two tackles for loss, one sack and three pass break-ups…closed his sophomore season with a memorable performance in the Champs Sports Bowl win over Notre Dame tallying seven tackles and snagging his team-high fourth interception…also added a career-long 77-yard kickoff return against Notre Dame, which was also the third-longest in FSU bowl and Champs Sports Bowl history…tied for fourth in the ACC in interceptions (4)…also led the team in kickoff returns (13) and kickoff return yards (397) while averaging 30.5 yards per return


True freshman cornerback who played in all 14 games and finished with 23 tackles, two pass break-ups and one interception…made an impact on kickoff returns and added five returns for 74 yards at Oklahoma and four returns for 112 yards in the ACC Championship Game against Virginia Tech…named fourth team All-Freshman Defense by Phil Steele.


Derwin James (54.5%)


Started in all 12 games during the regular season, totaling 84 tackles, 5.5 TFL, two interceptions, 11 pass breakups, a blocked kick and a sack…earned first-team All-America honors from the FWAA and second-team All-America honors from Walter Camp, Associated Press, Sporting News and AFCA…named first team All-ACC…named to the preseason Bednarik Award, Maxwell Award, Nagurski Award and Thorpe Award watch list…finished the season on a dominant note, totaling 47 tackles, four tackles for loss, two interceptions and a blocked kick in his last six games.


Arguably the nation’s top defensive player, suffered a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee against Charleston Southern in Week 2…missed the rest of the season following the injury and received a redshirt…collected ACC Defensive Back of the Week honors after totaling a team-best eight tackles and his first career interception against No. 11 Ole Miss in the season-opening comeback win…interception came on Rebels’ quarterback Chad Kelly – one of the nation’s top signal-callers…named a preseason All-American by nearly every publication…remained a team leader and traveled on nearly every road trip despite the injury.


Lived up to the recruiting hype and proved to be one of the best freshmen in the country, finishing with 91 tackles, 9.5 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, five pass breakups, three quarterback hurries, two fumbles forced and two fumble recoveries…earned All-ACC third team honors from the media and All-America Honorable Mention accolades from…named a Freshman All-American by Sporting News, USA Today and…nation’s only returning player with 90+ tackles and 9+ TFLs…appeared in all 13 games, making eight consecutive starts to end the year…finished his freshman campaign ranked second on the team in tackles, tackles for loss, sacks and fumbles recovered, tied for second in forced fumbles and tied for third in QBH and pass break-ups…his 91 tackles tied for the 14th most in the ACC and second highest tally among freshmen in the league…it also marked the third highest tackle output all-time by a freshman at Florida State (behind only Marvin Jones and Ron Simmons) – the next-best total by a freshman under Jimbo Fisher was 58 stops by Xavier Rhodes in 2010…in his eight starts tallied 76 tackles, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, 9.0 TFL, and four sacks


The rest of the top ten:

  • Monk Bonasorte (32.6%)
  • Dexter Jackson (15.6%)
  • Myron Rolle (13.6%)
  • Stan Shiver (10.5%)
  • Chris Hope (9.9%)
  • Terrance Brooks (7.6%)

So there you have it, folks.

What do you think about these choices?

Let us know in the comments and get ready to end things on an exciting note next week as we cover the most important position in the game — kicking specialists.

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