The Daily Nole

Hot Take Tuesday: If There Was a National Award for Best Fullback, FSU Would Have Multiple Winners

FSU athletics

The Heisman Trophy is unquestionably the most prestigious individual award in college football and maybe all of sports.

Florida State has had three Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks in Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke and Jameis Winston. Those aren’t the only individual honors that former Seminoles have claimed.

During its history, FSU has two Butkus Award winners for the nation’s top linebacker, two Jim Thorpe Award winners for the nation’s top defensive back, one John Mackey Award winner for the nation’s top tight end and four Lou Groza Award winners for the nation’s top kicker among many other honors. Since the inception of the Ray Guy Award — which goes to the nation’s top punter — in 2000, there is an award for virtually every position.

Except one.

It’s becoming a defunct position in many offensive systems, but the fullback position is really the only one where there is no national award. While fullbacks are technically running backs, it would be virtually impossible for a fullback to win the Heisman Trophy, Doak Walker Award or Maxwell Trophy outside of a triple-option attack.

Had such an award existed, there is a pretty good chance that Florida State would have multiple winners. FSU fans have often stated their claims for their school as “DBU” or even “Kicker U”, but the Seminoles may be “FBU” as well.

Dating back to the early parts of Bobby Bowden’s tenure, FSU has had a proud tradition when it comes to fullbacks. Michael Whiting was an impact player for FSU in the early 1980s, but he was only the beginning.

While serving primarily as the lead blocker for Sammie Smith and Dexter Carter, fullback Dayne Williams ranked eighth nationally in rushing touchdowns in 1987 with 15. While serving as the lead blocker for Amp Lee in 1990 and 1991, Edgar Bennett tallied more than 1,400 yards from scrimmage and 16 total touchdowns.

Bennett was succeeded by William Floyd, who led the Seminoles with 10 total touchdowns in 1992. In his two years as a starter, Floyd accounted for more than 700 yards from scrimmage. He finished his FSU career with 20 total touchdowns. None were bigger than his 1-yard plunge in an 18-16 Orange Bowl victory over Nebraska for the 1993 national championship.

Following Floyd was another future NFL fullback in Zack Crockett. As the starter in 1994, Crockett finished with more than 500 yards from scrimmage and a team-high 11 total touchdowns while blocking for the likes of Warrick Dunn and Rock Preston. The following season saw 270-pound Pooh Bear Williams account for 13 total touchdowns.

Fullback play continued to be a strength for FSU in the late-1990s and early-2000s. After converted quarterback Dan Kendra made an impact for FSU’s 1999 national championship team, William McCray led the Seminoles with a team-high eight rushing touchdowns in 2000.

During the 2000s, FSU continued to get quality play from the likes of Torrance Washington, James Coleman, B.J. Dean, Joe Surratt and Marcus Sims. In 2006, Surratt led FSU six rushing touchdowns. The end of the Bowden era and the start of the Jimbo Fisher era saw FSU utilize a unique talent in Lonnie Pryor.

Recruited as a tailback, Pryor was forced into the fullback role early in the 2009 season after an injury to Daniel Gard. When all was said and done, Pryor was a 4-year starter who scored 23 career touchdowns. That ranks in the top 20 all-time in FSU history.

His seven total touchdowns in 2010 tied for a team-high. Pryor capped his career with a 134-yard rushing, 2-touchdown performance in a 31-10 win over Northern Illinois in the Orange Bowl.

Chad Abram and Freddie Stevenson did stellar jobs after Pryor for the Seminoles. With the installation of Willie Taggart’s “Gulf Coast Offense” in 2018, the fullback position went temporarily defunct.

Under new head coach Mike Norvell and offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham, the fullback spot probably isn’t making a triumphant comeback. In modern football, that’s largely par for the course as even NFL rosters now often go without a fullback.

While the fullback position at FSU is largely history, the position still has an illustrious one. Had there been an annual award for the nation’s best fullback, it’s safe to say the Seminoles would have even more hardware in their trophy case.

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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