When it comes to defensive linemen Florida State has a very rich history of producing some of the best players the college (and pros) has seen. There are several guys who could've made this list, but two stand out more than the rest of the group. Coming in at number 9 on NoleDigest.com's Top 10 list is former defensive end Peter Boulware. Boulware is the best defensive end the Seminoles have ever had, and he's overall one of the top pass rushers to don an FSU uniform. After forgoing his final year of eligibility, Boulware went fourth overall in the 1997 draft to the Baltimore Ravens where injuries ended a career that was looking Hall of Fame worthy.
Simply put, Boulware is one of the most dominating players the Seminoles have ever had, and he is one of the top players from FSU ‘dynasty era' which helped put the Noles on the national landscape as a top-tier program. With Florida State's depth at that time Peter came in and took a redshirt during FSU's 1993 championship season, but soon after that he exploded onto the national scene.
Peter recorded 37 tackles, five sacks, and five tackles for loss as a redshirt freshman in 1994. 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 established himself as the premier pass rusher in the nation as he totaled 68 tackles, a school record 19 sacks, 20 tackles for loss, seven forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries.
He led the nation and set an FSU single season record with 19 sacks in 1996 to earn consensus All-American honors, and he was named the Football News' National Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-ACC selection to go along with being named as conference Defensive Player of the Year in 1996. Boulware was a lightning quick pass rusher who earned a place among the 50 best football players in ACC history. An outstanding student, Boulware graduated early from Florida State and chose to enter the NFL draft. He would almost certainly have set the school record for career quarterback sacks had he stayed, since he finished with 34 over three seasons, which was just 1.5 short of the record.
While at FSU Boulware was named to every important All-American team in 1996 and obliterated Ron Simmons' near 20 year old record of 12 sacks in a single season. He was inducted into FSU's Hall of Fame in 2004. When you look back and see the string of talented defensive ends FSU had, it's astonishing: Derrick Alexander, Peter Boulware, Reinard Wilson and Andre Wadsworth. All of them earned first team All-American honors and were great in their own right, but Peter's consistent performance over his three years as a Seminole places him on this list. Big, fast, strong and a punishing player (just ask Danny Wuerffel), who is to say the records Boulware would have had he stayed for his final year at FSU.
Peter's athleticism, career and impact on FSU were great. Combine that with the fact that Boulware was a model student at FSU, there is no way he cannot be listed among the top players we've seen at FSU. Stay tuned tomorrow to see who comes in as NoleDigest's 8th best player in FSU history.