Who are the top four all-time Florida State specialists?
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 specialists.
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 specialists in FSU history?
Graham Gano, Sebastian Janikowski, Rohn Stark, and Dustin Hopkins
Honestly, this one was pretty easy for me. Gano is, in my opinion, the best all-around specialist we have ever had. And his senior season is legitimately one of the top 10 seasons (relative to their positional peers around the nation) of any player at FSU.
Sea Bass was an intimidating weapon who was nearly an automatic touchback machine back when that actually meant something (you see, kids, they used to kickoff from 5 yards further back and you weren’t rewarded for fair catching a kickoff). He didn’t actually make all his field goals, but you never had to worry about him when it really mattered. Plus, how many kickers will win you a bar fight?
Rohn Stark is the best punter FSU has ever had, getting comparisons to the great Ray Guy. He also was a left footed punter, which made his kicks even more difficult to field.
Dustin Hopkins is the school’s all time leading scorer and also one of the biggest weapons from beyond 50 yards the school has ever seen. Which, to me, is what I really need my kicker doing. All of these guys could make extra points, and I honestly don’t want my team attempting a lot of 25 or 35 yard field goals. If we are inside the 20, I want us going for it on 4th and anything less than 5 or 6. However, if a guy can consistently make kicks from 48-55 yards out, now you have a real game changer. Hopkins was 9-15 from beyond 50 in his career at FSU, including a game winner from 55. Those 9 makes from outside 50 are the same number of 50+ kicks made by Roberto Aguayo (5), Gary Cismesia (3), and Bill Capece (1) made combined.
Honorable mention to Shawn Powell for his senior season. Punters aren’t talked about much but that dude helped FSU win games when the offense was really struggling.
A) Rohn Stark. I have been to one or two football games in my lifetime, and I have never again heard the sound that the ball made when coming off Rohn Stark’s punts. Reggie Roby and Janikowski’s kickoffs are the only two I can remember that had that boom factor.
Rohn Stark and Bill Capece were nicknamed “Thunderfoot and Lighting.” When ever one would go on the field to do their job, the lame ass scoreboard we had at the time would put up their nickname on the board.
2) Sebastian Janikowski does not require explanation.
D) Graham Gano was a triple threat (FG’s, punting, and Kickoffs) and All-American who did not miss inside the 50, and outside the 50 too.
Turntle) Roberto Aguayo by the time he left FSU, he had broken and set many, many school and national records.
Sebastian Janikowski, Roberto Aguayo, Graham Gano, Rohn Stark
Easy peasy, though Dustin Hopkins should have his face up there too.
Sebastian Janikowski, Graham Gano, Dustin Hopkins, Rohn Stark
Janikowski was one of the easiest picks throughout this series, but admittedly as a fellow Seabreeze Sandcrab, I am a bit biased.
Gano’s Champ Bowl performance is arguably one of the most elite pound-for-pound performances ever put up by an FSU player, and Stark still is the greatest to ever do it punting-wise in Tallahassee.
So why Hopkins over Aguayo, even though the latter was part of a title team? It was close — really close, to the point that I have deleted and retyped this paragraph enough times that I realized that I couldn’t find a reason to convince myself otherwise. Hopkins has the stats and he has the moments — a 55-yarder walk-off winner vs. Clemson chief among them. Aguayo did his job when it came to being automatic in 2013, but when it came to stepping up to the plate, 2014 vs. Boston College is all that stands out. He is thiscloseaway from earning a spot, but Hopkins gets the nod from me.
Sebastian Janikowski, Roberto Aguayo, Graham Gano, and everyone’s favorite punter, Rohn Stark
The Polish Powder Keg. Sums it up. Janikowski went yard on the field and off the field in Tallahassee. After eons of kicking misery, Scott Bentley kicked a game winning field goal for a national title, and in the following years very little “wide _____” followed, especially when Seabass joined the Noles.
Roberto Aguayo broke every record there was, and won in Pasadena. Dustin Hopkins will always have that Clemson kick, but the title pushes Aguayo to the front of this list - flags fly forever.
Graham Gano did it all. Punted when he had a bit of spare time, to substantial impact most notably in the Champs Sports Bowl. Set plenty of records. And he is still doing it on Sunday over a dozen years after he played in Tallahassee.
I am a noted advocate for the forgotten punters of the past. Unsung heroes who don’t get opportunities to win games, largely stymied in the four-down mentality of recent years, punters don’t get the credit they deserve. This is, of course, why Shawn Powell and Cason Beatty (seriously, his last couple years were excellent after a sputtering first half-career) should get on a Mount Rushmore. But Stark was one of the few notable memorable punters for a reason - in an era before Bill Peterson discovered the forward pass in an obscure corner of the rule book, Stark helped FSU win games.
Rohn Stark, Sebastian Janikowski, Graham Gano, Roberto Aguayo
It feels terrible to leave off the all-time leader in points (Dustin Hopkins) and an outstanding punter (Shawn Powell), but I can’t justify leaving off three Groza winners and the best FSU punter of all time.
Who are the top four specialists 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
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
Safeties: Leroy Butler, Jalen Ramsey, Lamarcus Joyner, Derwin James