As we approach the number one position on NoleDigest.com's Top 10 All-time Florida State players, the list is starting to name the best of the best. Florida State has had so many great linebackers over the years; so great they've established themselves as one of the best programs when it comes to producing the best at that position. The best of the bunch is former middle linebacker Marvin Jones. Marvin is not only considered the greatest in FSU history, but he was called the finest linebacker in college football history by a number of experts over his FSU career. When he left FSU after his junior year he was, at the time, the highest Seminole ever drafted when he went 4th overall in the 1993 draft to the New York Jets.
Without a doubt Marvin Jones is the finest linebacker in Florida State history. He earned consensus All-America honors as a sophomore and junior before departing for the NFL. The Miami native was a dominating force on FSU's 1993 National Championship team and was named to the ACC's 50th Anniversary team in 2002. Marvin was the first in a long line of extremely athletic linebacker over the dynasty era as he had a stunning combination of speed, strength, and instincts. Known as "Shade Tree" after resting under one following an early FSU practice his freshmen year, Jones went on to become such an intense competitor that opposing offenses all but conceded running the ball up the middle on the Noles.
Jones terrorized FSU opponents recorded at least 110 tackles in each of his three seasons. He burst onto the national scene as a true freshman in 1990 when he made 133 tackles and became a starter by the season's third game. During his sophomore year Marvin had 125 tackles and 13 tackles for a loss. Marvin's junior season is what sets him apart from the rest of the linebackers as he had one of the best individual seasons of any college player ever.
Marvin had 111 as a junior when he won the Butkus and Lombardi Awards in 1992. Jones became the first Florida State player to capture two national awards in the same year when he earned both the Butkus Award as the nation's top linebacker and the Lombardi Award signifying the nation's top linemen. Jones' performance helped lead the team to an 11-1 record. He made 10 or more tackles in nine games and finished fourth in the balloting for the 1991 Heisman Trophy.
Marvin was a two-time consensus All-American at FSU and ranks among the best in school history in career tackles with 369 despite playing just three seasons. Had Marvin stayed for his senior year there is little doubt that he'd own several FSU records and be known as maybe the best collegiate linebacker in history. Marvin was simply dominant, and not many like him have come through the collegiate ranks since him. Jones was inducted into FSU's Hall of Fame in 2000 and was having a great NFL career until injuries took their toll on his body.
Stay tuned to NoleDigest as we release the first player to make our list of the top 3 players in Seminole history.