The Mt. Rushmore of Florida State football

February, 19, 2009
2/19/09
3:34
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

John in Tallahassee summed up this doozey of a task when he wrote: How could you even begin to choose a Mt. Rushmore for Florida State? ... The list can go on and on.

And it did.

There are a few reasons this one took longer than the others. Warrick Dunn, Chris Weinke, Ron Simmons and Ron Sellers are among them. There was an overwhelming response from Florida State fans in the mailbag, each with a legitimate claim to a name:

Eric in Atlanta wrote: An ACC Mt Rushmore could easily be filled with all Noles! With 2 Heisman trophy winners Florida State has a couple obvious choices with Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke. Add to those the possibility of Deon Sanders, the two Warricks (Dunn and Peter) and Derrick Brooks. FSU could fill up an ACC Mt Rushmore all by itself!

Brian in Charlotte wrote: Heather, For the FSU Mt Rushmore Bobby Bowden, Fred Belitnikof, and Charlie Ward are locks. Then it gets tricky. Deon Sanders, Derrick Brooks, Chris Weinke, Warrick Dunn, Marvin Jones and Peter Warrick are all in the discussion. I think it has to be Deon or Dunn. PS - Burt Reynolds gets honorable mention for his mustache.

Sean, in Tallahassee, Fla, wrote: Great job on the blog Heather. For the Mt. Rushmore of FSU, I would put Bobby Bowden, Charlie Ward, Doak Campbell, and Ron Simmons. The first two are obvious, but Campbell deserves to be recognized for his efforts to develop sports at FSU when it became coed in the 40s. And Ron Simmons always gets overlooked for sexier names, but deserves to be recognized for an outstanding career at FSU.

Justin in Clearwater, Fla., wrote: Heather -- Since Mt. Rushmore can only hold four profiles, I think FSU should have a few bobble-heads placed on top of the mountain. The faces on Mt. Rushmore should be: Coach Bowden, Coach Arison, Charlie Ward, and Chris Weinke. The reasons for Coach Bowden are obvious, Coach Arison is the mastermind of the dominant defenses of the 80's, 90's, and early 00's, and Ward and Weinke are both Heisman Trophy winners who led their teams to the Nat'l Championship. As for the bobble-heads: Warrick Dunn, Peter Warrick, Terrell Buckley, Deion Sanders, and Fred Biletnikoff.

Andrew in Destin, Fla., wrote: Bobby Bowden seems to be a no brainer.

He was.

Here's the final verdict:

Bobby Bowden -- He currently owns a record of 309-91-4 in 33 years, and has led the Seminoles to two national championships (1993 and 1999) and 12 ACC titles. Bowden has also led the Noles to the nation's longest active bowl appearance streak at 27. Bowden has coached 18 seasons with 10 or more wins, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

Charlie Ward -- The 1993 Heisman Trophy winner led the Seminoles to their first national championship and became the program's first Heisman winner in 1993. Ward set 19 school and seven ACC records during his two years as the starting quarterback. He still ranks second in career total offense at FSU with 6,636 yards and has the highest completion rate for a career (62.3 percent) and the lowest interception percentage (2.9 percent). Ward set the FSU record for touchdown passes in a season with 27 in 1993. His No. 17 jersey was retired and he also played in the NBA for more than a decade.

Fred Biletnikoff -- He played wide receiver from 1961-64 under coach Bill Peterson, and was the program's first consensus All-American. As a senior, Biletnikoff ranked fourth in the nation with 57 receptions for 11 touchdowns, and added four more touchdowns in the Gator Bowl. The Biletnikoff Award is presented annually to the nation's best receiver in his honor.

Deion Sanders -- His acrobatic interceptions and remarkable moves as a punt returner made Sanders arguably the best defensive back in FSU history. His 14 career interceptions ranked second all-time when he left in 1988. That year, Sanders won the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation's top defensive back. "Prime Time" also held the career record for punt return yardage when he left with 1,429.

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