There are few players in Florida State's history that can be labeled as faces of the program. While some of those guys are very deserving, none have been the player and public figure at FSU than Deion Sanders was. Deion Sanders is considered by many to be the greatest athlete ever to play for FSU. The Ft. Myers, FL native lettered in football, baseball and track at FSU. Considered by most the best cornerback ever, Sanders' reputation off the field help make him one of the most popular players during his era. As a Florida State senior, "Prime Time" arrived for the climactic home game against Florida in a white limousine. He emerged wearing a tuxedo. Deion is the best athlete to wear the Garnet and Gold, and his skill on the field puts him atop NoleDigest.com's list as the best football player in Seminole history.
Deion Sanders brought a combination of skill and excitement not seen in college football during his era. Without a doubt Deion is FSU football. Even till this day recruits name him as a reason why they like FSU, as he helped establish FSU as a national power when he starred at corner for the Noles. As kids many players don the number 2 or 21 jersey in homage to Sanders as a player. Few have had the combination of speed, size and natural instincts that Deion had. He used his skills at FSU to become a FSU's top defensive back and established himself as the best the game has seen.
Humble is not a word that can be mentioned when talking about Sanders. Sanders was heavily recruited out of high school, and decided to choose to attend Florida State. In high school he had been a left-handed option quarterback, but in college he switched to defense and special teams. "Anybody can play wide receiver," Sanders explained in Sports Illustrated. "I wanted to be special." He wanted to be so special, in fact that he arrived in Tallahassee in a car with "Prime Time" on the front license plate. He also demanded that his own poster be sold at games. Such cockiness in a freshman was almost beyond belief, but Sanders began to make his presence felt almost immediately. At six feet and 185 pounds, he proved to be a quick and deadly opponent. During his years at Florida State he scored six career touchdowns on punt or interception returns. Deion is a guy who was brash and had a lot of bravado, but he was able to back up everything he said.
Sanders also set records for audacity, both on and off the field. Once, during the halftime show at a game against South Carolina University, he shouted to the fans of the SCU team, which was losing by a wide margin that they ought to ask for their money back. Another time--in a move reminiscent of baseball legend Babe Ruth--he prepared for a punt return by announcing to the Clemson Tiger bench: "This one's going back!" He proceeded to run 76 yards for a touchdown, and then struck a long pose in the end zone. All of this was accomplished at Clemson's field, in front of a hostile crowd.
Sanders' ability was not lost on the professional scouts or on the sportswriters who cover football. Sports Illustrated reporter Albert Kim called the cocky cornerback "one of the best defensive back prospects pro scouts have ever seen." Football, however, was not the only sport Sanders conquered in college. He also played baseball, helping Florida State to advance to the 1987 college World Series--where they finished fifth--and ran the 400 meter for the track team. He was best remembered, though, for his participation in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl, in which Florida State beat Nebraska 31-28. That year, Florida State finished the season ranked second in the nation behind the Miami Hurricanes.
The two-time consensus All-American won the Jim Thorpe Award signifying the nation's top defensive back in 1988. He picked off 14 passes over his career, not including three in bowl games and was also an outstanding return man who led the nation in punt returns by averaging 15.2 yards as a senior in 1988. Deion is the best of a bunch of legendary cornerbacks FSU has had, and he still holds seven Florida State records for interceptions and punt returns. He carried on his multi-sport career in the pros...Deion won a pair of Super Bowl rings and also played in the World Series (with as a pro athlete. Deion is considered the finest athlete ever to attend Florida State and had his jersey retired in 1995 and later was inducted into FSU's Hall of Fame.