So, who made the cut for the kicking specialists?
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’ specialists, and yesterday, presented the choices from some of our staff and contributors.
Today — for the last time this summer — the results. The Tomahawk Nation community has spoken!
Without further ado, we present to you the Mount Rushmore of FSU specialists.
Who are the top four specialists in FSU history?
Sebastian Janikowski (91.3%)
Sebastian Janikowski came to Florida State in 1997 from Daytona Beach where the strength of his leg was legendary. A soccer star at Seabreeze High, Janikowski grew up in Poland moving to the U.S. just before the 10th grade.
Janikowski played three seasons for the Seminoles and by the time he left, his name was all over the FSU record book and he had completed a collegiate career that placed him among the best in the history of the game. He won the Lou Groza Award given to the nation’s top placekicker as both a sophomore (1998) and junior (1999), but Florida State fans appreciate even more the 1999 National Championship Trophy he helped deliver.
Janikowski was a two-time consensus All-American and left as the ACC’s all-time scoring leader and co-holder of the FSU record for field goals in a game with five against NC State as a junior. As remarkable as he was as a field goal kicker where he averaged a 76% career success rate, the value of his booming kickoffs to the Seminole defense were nearly equal. In 1999 alone, 68.7% of his kickoffs were not returned and a fair number of those sailed into the stands.
The then-Los Angeles Raiders made a rare move of selecting a kicker in the first round of the NFL draft when the picked Janikowski in 1999. He spent 18 years with the team, ending his career with the Seattle Seahawks.
Graham Gano (73.3%)
Graham Gano signed with Florida State in 2005 out of Tate High School in Pensacola and became one of the greatest special teams players in Seminole football history.
Gano handled kickoffs for the Seminoles as a freshman in 2005 and was FSU’s starting punter and kickoff specialist as a sophomore and junior. He averaged 40.8 yards per punt as a sophomore in 2006 and posted his career-high average of 43.4 yards as a junior with 16 punts over 50 yards.
He entered his senior season as a preseason All-American and Ray Guy Award watch list member and was slated to become the first player in school history to handle all kicking duties (punt, KOs and field goals). A preseason injury forced coaches to limit him to field goals. After missing the first two games, he became the best kicker in the country, winning the 2008 Lou Groza Award. He led the FBS in field goals made (24 ), field goals made from 50 yards or more (5), and field goal percentage (92.3). Remarkably, he capped his career as the Most Valuable Player in FSU’s Champs Bowl win over Wisconsin when he added punting duties and kept the Badgers pinned all day, dropping four punts inside their 10.
Roberto Aguayo (72.2%)
Became FSU’s second, three-time first team All-American in school history joining Deion Sanders…named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award…finished the season 21-for-26 on field goals, hitting his two longest (45 and 51 yards) against Florida in the regular season finale in Gainesville…connected on all 49 PAT chances during his redshirt junior season…finished second on the team in points with 112…ranked fifth in the ACC in field goal percentage (.808) and field goals per game (1.62) and sixth in scoring (8.6 ppg)…wrapped up the season ranked in the top 35 nationally in field goals per game, field goal percentage and scoring.
Solidified himself as one of the greatest kickers in college football history with another spectacular season…after winning the 2013 Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top kicker, he was arguably better in 2014, capturing consensus All-America honors and All-ACC First Team accolades, while making 27 of 30 field goals and going a perfect 55 of 55 on extra points…his 90.0 field goal percentage ranked first in the country (minimum 20 made), while his 136 points ranked eighth in the country overall and second among kickers…led the ACC in kicker scoring and ranked second overall…made the second-most field goals of anybody in the country…his 9.7 points per game was tied for 13th nationally…was a finalist for the Lou Groza Award
Redshirt freshman kicker had one of the most prolific kicking seasons in FSU, ACC and college football history…became the third Seminole to win the Lou Groza Award given to the nation’s top kicker…collected several All-America honors and All-ACC accolades…broke the national record for points by a kicker in a season with 157 points…old mark was 156 by Oklahoma State’s Quinn Sharp in 2012…set new record for single season scoring in both FSU and ACC history…outscored eight of FSU’s 14 opponents by himself…made 115 of his 116 kicks (.991)…went 94-94 on extra point attempts to set the NCAA record for most extra points made in a season without a miss….the highest scoring kicker in the nation and the third-highest scoring player overall (11.2 ppg)… made 94 extra points to set a new ACC and FSU record for single-season PATs (old record – 67, Scott Bentley, 1995)…converted the first 70 kicks of his career – 12 field goals and 58 PATs – setting a new FSU record for consecutive kicks made to begin a career before missing a 43-yard field goal at Wake Forest…converted 21 of 22 field goal attempts…kicked a career-long 53-yard field goal against Syracuse…named ACC Specialist of the Week after kicking two field goals and five PATs against Nevada…scored a career-high 15 points on six PATs and three field goals at Clemson…named the Lou Groza Star of the Week on Oct. 21…scored 14 points on a career-high and ACC-record-tying 11 PATs and a field goal against Idaho…made three field goals at Florida including 49- and 40-yarders…scored nine points versus Duke in the ACC Championship Game, nailing a 45-yard field goal and drilling six PATs…drilled a 35-yard field goal in the first quarter to give FSU a 3-0 lead in the BCS National Championship Game against Auburn…also connected on a 41-yard field goal in the third quarter and made all four of his point after attempts to tally 10 points…his PAT following Kelvin Benjamin’s game-winning touchdown with 13 seconds left in the game gave him sole possession of the national record for single-season points by a kicker.
Dustin Hopkins (61.2%)
Set a new NCAA career scoring record for kickers (466 points)…established new NCAA, ACC and FSU records with 88 career field goals…his 88th career field goal in the Orange Bowl win over Northern Illinois pushed him past Georgia’s Billy Bennett (87, 2000-03)…posted 140 points to set a new ACC all-time single season scoring mark… single-handedly outscored five of FSU’s opponents this season (Murray State 15-3, Savannah State 7-0, Wake Forest 10-0, Boston College 15-7 and Duke 12-7)…ACC scoring leader among kickers with 10.0 ppg...became the Seminoles’ all-time leader with 290 career kicks made (202 PAT’s and 88 FG’s)…is one of only four kickers in school history who has made 200 or more kicks and the only one who has made 250 or more kicks…his 202 career PAT’s are a new FSU mark, established after his final conversion in the Orange Bowl…set new career-highs in FG made (25) and attempted (30)…has kicked at least one field goal in 46 career games to set the all-time NCAA record, previously held by Blair Walsh of Georgia (45, 2008-11).
Third-year starter who converted 22 of 27 field goal attempts, establishing a new personal-best 81.5 percent single-season conversion rate…finished 44-of-44 on PAT conversions, extending his school record streak to 130, which tops all active FBS kickers and is the second-longest streak in ACC history…near-unanimous choice as first team All-ACC kicker…selected as one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award, presented to the nation’s top placekicker…completed his undergraduate degree in media/communications studies in spring 2012 after just three full years at FSU…also chosen as a finalist for the Danny Wuerffel Trophy, presented to the Division I player who best exemplifies excellence in the community, classroom and on the field
Sophomore kicker who was a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, which is presented to the nation’s top placekicker…a two-year starter, who handled all of the kickoff, field goal and PAT kicks for the Seminoles…scored a career-high 119 points, which led the team and the ACC and was the third-most in a single-season in FSU history…became just the 10th kicker in FSU history to score 100 points in a season and the 12th player overall to eclipse the century mark…converted 22 of 28 field goal attempts and 53 of 53 PATs…had at least one field goal in 13 of 14 games…his career-long field goal of 55 yards came as time expired in a 16-13 victory over Clemson, which is the longest walk-off winning kick in ACC history…Hopkins’ game-winner – which was also the longest field goal in the ACC in 2010 – came after he missed a potential game-winner a week earlier from 40 yards against North Carolina...Hopkins’ 41 touchbacks ranked second in the country and was the most by an FSU kicker since All-American Sebastian Janikowski in 1999 which makes him a valuable contributor in the field position game…he and the Seminoles led the ACC in net kickoffs with a 47.1 average and opponents starting on average just shy of the 22-yard line…in all 41 of his 86 kickoffs (47.7 percent) went unreturned
True freshman who won the starting job in preseason competition with James Esco and handled all of the kicking duties…led the Seminoles in scoring with 97 points; the most prolific freshman campaign by a kicker in program history…converted four of five field goal attempts to set an FSU bowl record in the 33-21 Gator Bowl win over West Virginia…converted his first collegiate field goal attempt from 52 yards against Miami…selected to Sporting News ACC All-Freshman squad…one of three Seminoles selected to the ACC All-Academic Football team.
The rest of the top ten:
- Rohn Stark (50.6%)
- Bill Capece (9.9%)
- Derek Schmidt (6.4%)
- Shawn Powell (4.3%)
- Gary Cismesia (2.9%)
- Cason Beatty/Sean Liss (2.6%)
So there you have it, folks.
What do you think about these choices? Let us know in the comments and thanks for voting each week for your top four choices for each position group. It’s been an amazing time running through these major names in Florida State football history and reminiscing on them alongside you all, and it’s been even more amazing seeing the reaction to the poll each week — both the “yes, I was right!” and the “how could that even happen???” have been lifelines keeping us all afloat as we waited for the season to arrive.
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