The Daily Nole

Former FSU Teammates Remember Bobby Meeks

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Florida State teammates remember Bobby Meeks for his quickness on the football field and his infectious personality off of it.

“He was a kind guy, soft spoken, humble and down-to-earth,” said Bryant McFadden, a cornerback who played with Meeks at FSU from 2000-04. “It’s a tough loss. Clearly, he loved Florida State. He was a Nole through and through.”

Meeks passed away this week from complications from surgery. A former guard from Aldine, Texas, Meeks played for the Seminoles from 2000-04.

“Our class was pretty close,” said former defensive tackle Travis Johnson, who played with Meeks for the duration of his career. “We really leaned on each other. We were close from the beginning. We were from so many places, so many walks of life and we were always together.”


Meeks appeared in 27 career games and made 20 starts over the course of his career. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 299 pounds as a senior, Meeks was on three ACC championship teams.

“The first thing that comes to mind when you mention Bobby Meeks was he was one of the quicker offensive linemen we had,” McFadden said. “Bobby Meeks was one of the smaller guys, but he was quick. His first step was real quick. Back then, Florida State was always in the national championship conversation. For FSU to bring him in at 280 pounds, he had to be special.”

Johnson said he lined up against Meeks regularly at practice. Johnson thinks Meeks would have had a productive NFL career if he played in today’s era where offenses are more spread out and linemen need to be quick.

“My issues were mostly with the bigger, stronger guards,” Johnson said. “Bobby was made in the image of a Denver Broncos’ offensive lineman. He was quick, he could move, he could pull. Today, Bobby would be great in the NFL. He reminded me a lot of Jeff Saturday. If you were a slow-footed first-step guy, Bobby was always going to get you.”

Kyler Hall, a former safety who played with Meeks from 2001-04, recalled Meeks being able to mesh with anyone on the team.

“I just remember what a great teammate he was,” Hall said. “He was well-respected across the whole team. He was a good player, a tough player and a really smart player. You didn’t want Meeks to get a hold of you. He was certainly one you were glad was on your team.”


Johnson said he had many memories of Meeks. The two, he said, had the same surgery on the same day two years in a row. In 2002, it was to repair a tendon and in 2003, both had rotator cuff surgery on the same day.

“He had an infectious laugh,” Hall said. “Meeks was a guy who didn’t care what position you played or where you came from, he was always happy to talk to you. People who hadn’t seen him in a long time still had a lot of great things to say about him. When it’s someone you shared time with, went through adversity with, it’s always hard.”

Johnson recalled Meeks’ girlfriend in college owning a 1987 Mazda station wagon. Johnson remembers players cramming into it to go on trips across town.

“All the brothers were piled in it to go to Governor’s Square (Mall),” Johnson said. “I don’t know how, but we had 12 people. Alex (Barron) was 6-8, Ray (Willis) was 6-6, but we got in there.”

For McFadden and Johnson, Willis is the second member of their recruiting to pass. Linebacker Devaughn Darling died in 2001 during what the program referred to as “mat drills”.

“After Devaughn died, it made us all a lot closer,” Johnson said. “Bobby and I — we were very tight.”

With Johnson being a California native and Meeks hailing from Texas, Johnson recalls one break where neither were able to go home and had to remain in Tallahassee. Johnson said the two made the best of it and remembers eating at McDonald’s for an entire week.

“I maybe had $30 to my name,” Johnson said. “It was genuinely a good time. As tight as we were and to both live out in Houston, to not see Bobby for a few years before he died, that breaks my heart.”

A native Floridian, McFadden recalls the class of 2000 having wide-ranging preferences when it came to genres of music. Those like Johnson from California liked West Coast rap, McFadden recalls. Meeks, he said, liked slowed-down, chopped-up music.

“You heard music from different demographics,” McFadden said. “Bobby and the guys from Texas loved DJ Screw. At the time, it didn’t make any sense to me. Why would you want to listen to slowed-down music? As I listened to it — not by my choice — I slowly but surely became a fan, so that was something I got from Bobby.”

Bobby Meeks with wife Leah Banks. (Photo provided)

Meeks would have been 37 on April 8. He leaves behind his wife, Leah Banks, and two children — one boy and one girl.

“I hurt for his family,” Johnson said. “Those were truly good people. When I heard about it, it shocked me more than anything. No man should die at 35 years old during a routine surgery. It’s not fair for these kids to grow up without a father. That’s what probably hurts the most.”

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

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