From the late 1980's until the early 2000's, it is quite possible that Florida State was the foremost college team during that era. During that time frame FSU's defense was absolutely dominant. As FSU has struggled recently, one thing has remained the same, FSU's defense. If someone were to pick any position on the defensive side of the ball since 1993, they would see that FSU has stock piled many NFL teams with top-notch talent. While the attention is often directed towards the playmakers like defensive backs and linebackers, many do not realize FSU has produced several defensive ends that have gone on to NFL success.
These names are legends to Florida State fans: Sterling Palmer, Derrick Alexander, Reinard Wilson, Andre Wadsworth, Greg Spires, Jamal Reynolds, and Kam Wimbley. All of these names are synonymous with FSU football and examples of superstar defensive ends during their college years. From 1993-2007, FSU has a defensive end drafted in every draft class except for 2001-2002, 2004 and 2007. An impressive 15 kids from the defensive end spot have gone on to be drafted. Two of these players, Alonzo Jackson and Kam Wimbley, were athletic enough to make the switch to outside linebacker at the pro level.
Former Nole Andre Wadsworth is considered possibly the best defensive end in the history of FSU football, as well as one of the most dominating forces in college football over the past 20 years. There cannot be a discussion about FSU players without mentioning the former 3rd overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft.
Right behind Wadsworth in FSU lore and college football history is Peter Boulware. As a Sophomore Boulware totaled 46 tackles, an ACC leading ten sacks, and 18 tackles for loss which was second in the ACC. Was named honorable mention All-ACC. As a junior Boulware totaled 68 tackles, a school record 19 sacks, 20 tackles for loss, seven forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries. He was a consensus 1st team All-American, All-ACC, ACC Defensive Player of the Year, as well as National Defensive Player of the Year by Football News. His 19 sacks were the most in the nation. Boulware decided to leave school early and enter the 1997 NFL Draft, where he was the 4th overall pick by the Baltimore Ravens.
On Friday, August 10th, Keith Wells will be announcing his college choice. He has narrowed it down to a final 3: Florida State, Florida and Auburn. The 6'5" 220 pound standout was once favoring the Florida Gators, but that has since changed. Many feel that Wells, ranked No. 58 in the Southeast by Scout.com, is leaning towards Florida State, but he has remained steadfast that all of his final 3 teams are even going into his announcement.
While Wells is a player that has yet to fill into his frame, has is considered one of the best defensive players in the Southeast. Scout.com says that Keith was a standout defensive end as a junior and that he will get the chance to show off his speed even more as a senior playing outside linebacker in a 3-4. Relatively new to the game of football, Wells has untapped potential; Wells finished his junior season with 52 tackles and 12 sacks. He last reported a bench press of 295 pounds, a squat of 410 pounds and has a 33-inch vertical jump. It is easy to see that the potential is there for Keith to become a dominating force at the collegiate level.
Many FSU insiders feel that Wells has the ability to join the fraternity of great collegiate defensive ends FSU has produced. Keith has great ability to shed blocks and get to the ball. He has a great motor, as evidenced by the fact that he has been a basketball player in high school. Keith shares a lot of the same traits that the former successful ‘Noles have; those being kids that have been tall, athletic players who have yet to fully grow. Players like Andre Wadsworth, Peter Boulware and Kam Wimbley are perfect examples of this. One can say it has long been FSU's M.O. to bring in the rangy kids and allow them the blossom into stars.
Keith has mentioned in previous interviews that he has always been impressed with Florida State's history of great defensive players saying, "great, great players come out of Florida State, they have a great football program and great coaching." With his tremendous upside and athletic ability, there is no reason why Wells cannot reach the level of those before him, whether it is at FSU, Florida or Auburn. All 3 have produced many NFL players, but neither Auburn nor Florida can match the rich history at defensive end. Will he choose the prohibitive favorite in Florida State, chose the once leading Gators or Auburn, a school he has long been a fan of? Stay tuned to NoleDigest for breaking news on the commitment of this 4* standout.