The Daily Nole

55 Days Until FSU Football: No. 55 Marvin Jones Jumpstarts the Dynasty

Al Tielemans /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

55 days remain until Florida State football starts the 2018 season against Virginia Tech. As part of the offseason, we’re doing a countdown that highlights players, games, and specific moments from FSU football history.

On Monday, it was former linebacker Christian Jones recording 56 tackles during the 2013 season.

Today, it’s former linebacker Marvin Jones, who wore No. 55 during his illustrious career.

There’s an interesting observation when looking at Florida State’s career tackle leaders. In the top 10, nine players were at FSU for four years. There exists one exception.

Marvin “Shade Tree” Jones.

Arguably the greatest linebacker in FSU history spent just three years in Tallahassee from 1990-92. But that was all Jones needed to make his mark on Seminole history and become a legend.

His 1990 season put national observers on watch. As a true freshman coming out of Miami, Jones started at linebacker in 11 games and made a ridiculous 133 tackles and eight for loss. His instincts were obvious from the start — all he needed to do was adjust to the pace of the college game.

Jones did that in 1991. He earned consensus All-American honors with a 125-tackle, 13-tackles-for-loss season where he exhibited incredible strength and speed to match his instincts. By his junior year in 1992, Jones had the eyes of the nation on him.

His 1992 season was undoubtedly his best yet. Jones’ raw numbers dropped slightly (111 tackles, six tackles for loss) yet his leadership on one of the nation’s top defenses was evident. Jones produced one of the greatest seasons by a college linebacker ever, and he had the hardware to prove it.

He was awarded Unanimous All-American honors, the Sporting News College Football Player of the Year Award, and both the Butkus and Lombardi Awards. He also finished fourth in Heisman voting that season.

Miami coach Dennis Erickson had this to say back in 1992: “Marvin Jones is the best linebacker I’ve ever seen playing college football. He’s all over the place. When he was a freshman, he was incredible. Now, add two more years and more muscle, and he’s a lot better. He’s truly as good as I’ve ever seen.”

Jones was selected fourth overall in the 1993 NFL Draft by the New York Jets — the highest an FSU player had ever gone at that point. He spent 10 years in the NFL and accumulated over 1,000 career tackles. At every stop in his career, Jones has carried an amazing story and immediately lifted players around him. The number 55 truly carries a legacy behind it.

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