So, who made the Mount Rushmore for the all-time legendary players on defense?
Earlier this week, the Tomahawk Nation community determined the top four all-time Seminole offensive legends.
Yesterday, we posted a poll for the Tomahawk Nation community to choose your top four all-time defensive Seminoles players, and today we present to you the results.
Voting will begin for the Mount Rushmore of FSU Legends on Friday, based on the results on offense and defense. The only players who will be considered for the final Mount Rushmore are those who earned a place on the all-time offense and defense Mount Rushmore’s, respectively.
We’ll reveal the final results on Sunday after the four greatest Seminole players of all time are decided.
Without further ado, we present to you the Mount Rushmore of FSU Defensive Legends.
Who are the top four defensive legends in FSU history?
Linebacker Derrick Brooks (84.9%)
Derrick Brooks came to Florida State as one of the most heralded recruits ever and left FSU having set a new standard for his outside linebacker position.
A two-time consensus All-American and an NFL first round draft choice in 1995, Brooks was a dominating linebacker who was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year as a junior in 1994 and was a three-time All-ACC first team selection during his career. His ability to run like a receiver and make plays like a defensive back made him one of the most exciting players in all of college football.
Brooks earned four varsity letters (1991-94) and was the defensive leader on Florida State’s first national championship team in 1993. He recorded 274 career tackles and was a finalist for the Butkus, Lombardi, and Football Writer’s National Defensive Player of the Year as a junior and senior.
Brooks was also a top scholar-athlete who won an NCAA post-graduate scholarship and earned Academic All-America honors following his senior season. He was a GTE Academic All-American second team selection and named the ACC All-Academic team as a junior.
He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with the 28th overall pick of the 1995 NFL Draft, and eventually was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2002 when he again led Tampa Bay with 173 tackles, registered a career-high five interceptions (three of which were returned for TDs), 15 passes defensed, one fumble recovery, and one sack. He was a major contributor in the Bucs’ victory in Super Bowl XXXVII where he had three tackles, one pass defensed, and one interception returned 44 yards for a TD against the Oakland Raiders.
Defensive back Deion Sanders (69.6%)
If there was a quintessential athlete, a guy everybody wants, someone who is so unique that his nearly indescribable, then that athlete would be Deion Sanders.
Deion proved from the start at Florida State he would be something special. As a freshman, Sanders started in the Seminoles’ secondary, played outfield on the baseball team which finished 5th in the nation, and led the track team to its 10th conference championship.
Sanders, who won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back as a senior in 1988, is considered by many to be the finest cover corner in the history of college football. Sanders’ man-to-man coverage skills and propensity to make the game changing play were so pronounced that over much of his junior and senior seasons he rarely was challenged in the passing game. Sanders finished 9th nationally with five interceptions in nine games as a senior and that does not include his dramatic final career play in which he intercepted an Auburn pass in the FSU end zone to preserve the Seminoles win over the Tigers in the Sugar Bowl.
Sanders is still tied for second on FSU’s career interception list with 14 and had three more in bowl games that did not count in career totals at the time. He had four career interception returns for a touchdown that still remains tied with Terrell Buckley for the school record. Sanders was also one of the finest punt returners in NCAA history. He led the nation in punt returns as a senior averaging 15.2.
Earning letters in track and field, baseball and football, Sanders is one of the greatest athletes in NCAA history. He earned All-America honors as a sprinter on FSU’s 4X100 relay team and played in the College World Series as an outfielder on the baseball team. Florida State retired his #2 football number in 1995 making him the fourth in Seminole history to be so honored.
Sanders signed a baseball contract with the Atlanta Braves prior to his senior year in football and eventually played in the 1992 World Series with the Braves hitting .533 despite playing with a broken bone in his foot. He played in two Super Bowls one each with the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys.
Linebacker Marvin Jones (62.1%)
Marvin Jones was one of the finest linebackers in the history of college football. In 1992, Jones became the first Florida State player to capture two national awards in the same year when he earned both the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker and the Lombardi Award signifying the nation’s top linemen.
A stunning combination of speed, strength, and instinct, Jones terrorized FSU opponents. He was called the finest linebacker in college football history by a number of experts over his FSU career. Nicknamed “Shade Tree” after resting under one following an early FSU practice his freshmen year, Jones went on to become such an intense competitor that opposing offenses all but conceded running the ball up the middle on the Tribe.
Jones tallied 111 tackles and seven tackles for a loss as a junior in 1992, while leading the Seminoles to an 11-1 record. He made 10 or more tackles in nine games and finished fourth in the balloting for the 1991 Heisman Trophy. Jones finished his career a two-time Consensus All-American and a first team All-ACC choice in 1992.
Jones was selected with the fourth pick of the 1992 draft following his junior season by the New York Jets. At that time, it was the highest an FSU player had ever been selected in the NFL draft.
Defensive lineman Ron Simmons (58.4%)
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.
The rest of the best:
- Defensive lineman Peter Boulware (53.9%)
- Defensive back Terrell Buckley (37.4%)
So there you have it, folks.
What do you think about these choices? Let us know in the comments and be sure to vote for the final Mount Rushmore of Seminole Legends as we wrap up this series.