The Daily Nole

On My Mind Monday: How Many Former FSU Players Have Rushed for 1,000 Yards in the NFL? athletics

In Saturday’s 38-31 win over Boston College, Florida State running back Cam Akers eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the second time in his career. On Sunday, a former FSU back narrowly missed accomplishing that feat at football’s highest level.

A former Consensus All-American at Florida State and the NFL’s leading rusher through 10 weeks, Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings is just nine yards shy of his first career 1,000-yard rushing season as a professional. During his time at FSU, Cook became the first player in program history to rush for 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons.

Currently the NFL’s rushing leader, Cook will almost certainly hit quadruple digits next week when the Vikings play host to the Denver Broncos. Given Cook’s NFL success, we decided to look at all the former FSU players who have had at least one 1,000-yard season at the NFL level:

Marion Butts
San Diego Chargers (1990)

Ask most people who the first former Florida State player to rush for 1,000 yards in the NFL was and few would be able to come up with Marion Butts. A fullback at FSU, Butts carried the ball just 64 times in two seasons with the Seminoles. In his first six seasons in the NFL, Butts rushed for at least 683 yards every year. In his second season, he rushed for 1,225 yards and eight touchdowns in 14 games. That would be Butts’ only 1,000-yard season, but he made the Pro Bowl in both 1990 and 1991.

Edgar Bennett
Green Bay Packers (1995)

Like Butts, Edgar Bennett was a fullback at Florida State who transitioned to a halfback in the NFL. Bennett was used more in the ground game than Butts during his time at FSU, but largely played second fiddle in terms of carries to Amp Lee. In his fourth season in the NFL, Bennett rushed for 1,067 yards and three touchdowns for a Green Bay Packers team that finished one win shy of the Super Bowl. Bennett spent seven seasons in the NFL and scored 31 career touchdowns.

Warrick Dunn
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1998, 2000); Atlanta Falcons (2004-06)

During his FSU career, Warrick Dunn became the first player in program history to have three 1,000-yard rushing seasons and left following the 1996 season as the program’s all-time leading rusher. Over the course of a 12-year NFL career, Dunn would rush for 1,000 yards on five occasions. Although he fell 22 yards shy of 1,000 rushing yards as a rookie in 1997, he still managed to earn AP Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Dunn would spend his first five seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and finish with 1,026 yards rushing in 1998 and 1,133 yards in 2000.

In 2002, Dunn left Tampa Bay for Atlanta where he would spend the next six seasons with the Falcons. After two solid seasons, Dunn ran for 1,000 yards in three straight campaigns with 1,106 yards rushing in 2004, a career-high 1,416 yards in 2005 and 1,140 in 2006. Dunn would play for the Falcons in 2007 before returning to Tampa Bay for his final season of 2008. Dunn was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1997, 2000 and 2005. Dunn finished his career 23 rushing yards shy of 11,000 yards. Dunn ranks 23rd all-time in the NFL in career rushing yards.

Devonta Freeman
Atlanta Falcons (2015-16)

For Florida State’s 2013 national championship team, Devonta Freeman became the first FSU player to rush for 1,000 yards since Warrick Dunn and in 2015, he became the first former FSU player to rush for 1,000 yards in the NFL since Dunn; he just happened to do it for the same NFL team. After a quiet rookie year in 2014, Freeman put together back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons for the Atlanta Falcons. In 2015, Freeman rushed for 1,056 yards and a league-leading 11 rushing touchdowns. Freeman followed that up with a career-high 1,079 yards while again rushing for 11 touchdowns.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson. Like The Daily Nole on Facebook. To pitch an idea, author a post or to learn more about The Daily Nole, email Mike Ferguson at

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