The Daily Nole

Sunday Centerpiece: Remembering the FSU Seniors

Mitch White/FSU athletics

Florida State’s 2016 football recruiting class was expected to continue the winning tradition in Tallahassee.

According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, the class ranked third in the nation behind only Alabama and LSU. Unfortunately for the Seminoles, the high hopes never materialized.

During their first seasons on campus, things looked promising as FSU won 10 games and finished No. 8 in the AP Poll following a thrilling 33-32 Orange Bowl win over Michigan. After going a combined 12-13 over the next two seasons, the now seniors helped FSU become bowl-eligible on Saturday with a 49-12 victory over Alabama State.

Although FSU has failed to live up to expectations for several years now, Saturday’s easy victory was a nice way to end their home careers after watching the nation’s longest bowl streak and a string of 41 straight seasons come to an end in 2018.

The 2016 class certainly endured some hardships as not one, but two coaches left unexpectedly over the course of their careers. Jimbo Fisher left FSU for Texas A&M late in the 2017 season before his successor, Willie Taggart, was fired this year after just 21 games.

Of the 25 players signed in 2016, eight have played out their eligibility, eight others were redshirted and will be eligible to return next season, six were dismissed or transferred, one left early for the NFL and two never qualified academically. FSU will need to upset rival Florida and win a bowl game for this senior class to avoid having the fewest wins since the class of 1975.

On Saturday, more than a dozen seniors were recognized before the contest. This included members of the 2016 class, redshirted players from the 2015 class, walk-ons and transfers. In this piece, we’ll look back on the career of each FSU senior.

Ricky Aguayo ranks in the top 10 all-time in scoring at FSU. (Mitch White/FSU athletics)

Ricky Aguayo, K
The younger brother of former Florida State Lou Groza Award winner Roberto Aguayo, Ricky Aguayo’s FSU career got off to a promising start as he made a school-record six field goals in his first career game — a 45-34 comeback win against Ole Miss. Since then, consistency has escaped Aguayo. His best season came as a sophomore in 2017 when he made 18 of his final 19 attempts to finish 18-for-21 on the year. For his career, Aguayo is 54-for-71 and ranks seventh all-time at FSU in scoring.

Abdul Bello, T
A native of Nigeria and a former 4-star recruit, Abdul Bello has appeared in 26 career games. Bello has made just three starts and has never been a mainstay in the lineup, but has provided depth. Bello has never been a strength on a perennial poor offensive line.

Josh Brown, LB
A 4-star linebacker out of Charlotte, Josh Brown has been used primarily as a special teams player during his career. This season has been Brown’s best as he has 10 total tackles. For his career, Brown has appeared in 42 games.

Keith Gavin, WR
Once a 4-star recruit, Keith Gavin has been contributor at wide receiver for FSU in each of the last three seasons. As a freshman, Gavin had a key 66-yard kickoff return to set up Florida State’s winning touchdown in a thrilling 33-32 win over Michigan in the Orange Bowl. Over the last three seasons, Gavin has tallied 68 catches for 834 yards. His only career touchdown came last season against Miami.

Alex Hornibrook, QB
After going 26-6 as a starter at Wisconsin, Alex Hornibrook spent his final season in Tallahassee where he split time with starter James Blackman. Not physically gifted athletically or with his arm, Hornibrook performed admirably as a No. 2 for the Seminoles. Hornibrook won starts over NC State and Syracuse. For the year, he has seven touchdown passes and two interceptions.

Dontavious Jackson ranked second for FSU with 75 total tackles in 2018. (Colin Abbey/FSU athletics)

Dontavious Jackson, LB
A Houston native, Dontavious Jackson was a 4-year contributor for Florida State and a 2-year starter. Jackson’s best season came as a junior in 2018 when he recorded 75 tackles, seven for loss, one sack and an interception. Twice that season, Jackson recorded a career-high 14 tackles and was named ACC Linebacker of the Week for his performance in a 22-21 upset of No. 22 Boston College. Jackson has appeared in 43 career games.

Kyle Meyers, CB
His role has been greatly diminished as a senior, but for three seasons, Louisiana native Kyle Meyers was a contributor for the FSU defense. Until 2019, Meyers had appeared in all 38 games since he came to Tallahassee. Meyers tallied three interceptions during his career. Two of the three picks came in a 2018 comeback win over Samford.

Cole Minshew, G
Guard Cole Minshew first worked his way into the lineup late in the 2016 season, but injuries have derailed the Georgia native’s career. Minshew appeared in 33 career games for the Seminoles and made 27 career starts. His biggest strength was as a run blocker.

Tyrell Moorer, WR
A walk-on wide receiver, Tyrell Moorer was a member of the scout team. He never appeared in a game for FSU until Saturday.

Gabe Nabers has three career touchdown grabs for the Seminoles. (Ken Lanese/FSU athletics)

Gabe Nabers, FB/TE
An unheralded member of Florida State’s 2016 class, Gabe Nabers has quietly put together a solid career. Originally a fullback, Nabers made the switch to tight end after the coaching change from Jimbo Fisher to Willie Taggart. For his career, Nabers has 16 catches for 247 yards and three career touchdowns.

Peter Osimen, DT
A walk-on from Tampa, Peter Osimen never appeared in a game for Florida State until Saturday. Osimen was a valuable member of the FSU scout team.

Ryan Roberts, T
A reserve tackle with spot starts for Northern Illinois, Ryan Roberts arrived at FSU as a graduate transfer and brought stability to a porous offensive line. During his only season in Tallahassee, Roberts has started all 11 games at right tackle for the Seminoles.

Alexander Strozier, OL
A walk-on as a redshirt senior, Alexander Strozier has never appeared in a game for the Seminoles until Saturday.

Levonta Taylor, DB
A native of Virginia Beach, Levonta Taylor arrived at Florida State as a 5-star cornerback. Since then, it’s been up and down for Taylor. After a promising freshman season, Taylor looked like a lockdown corner as a sophomore. His finest moment came in a 38-22 victory over rival Florida as Taylor intercepted a pair of Feleipe Franks passes and returned the last one 18 yards for a touchdown. As a junior, Taylor battled through a stress fracture, but sealed FSU’s first win of the year over Samford with a 63-yard interception return for a score. In 42 career games and 23 starts, Taylor has recorded four interceptions, 84 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble.

Adonis Thomas, LB
A national champion at Alabama and a junior college transfer, Adonis Thomas was contributor in each of his first two seasons, but never quite evolved into the player the Seminoles had hoped. For his career, Thomas appeared in 21 games, tallying 31 tackles and one for loss.

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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