CHICAGO – The 2015 NFL Draft puts the FSU Football team in the record books. No team has ever produced NFL Draft picks at a higher rate than Jimbo Fisher’s Florida State Seminoles.
The Noles’ 29 selections over the last three years is the most since the draft moved to seven rounds in 1994, as FSU finished with a nation-leading 11 selections in the 2015 NFL Draft on Saturday.
The Noles had 11 players drafted in 2013, followed by eight more players in 2014, and this week 11 more Noles went off the board to NFL teams.
The record surpasses the old mark of 28 set by Miami (Fla.) from 2002-04 and Southern California (2008-10).
“The NFL Draft is a weekend we as coaches always look forward to,” Fisher said. “We get to watch these players grow up and achieve their dreams. It really is a fun moment. For FSU to be able to get the modern three-year record, it’s a testament to our assistant coaches and our support staff, and our ability to develop players. But most importantly it’s a testament to the work these players have put in. We’ve had some terrific players come through the program the past three years, but they’re even better people. A lot of these guys came in as big-time recruits, but they didn’t settle. They invested on the field and off the field with their academics and in the community. They all worked extremely hard to achieve their dreams. Days like today are why you coach. I’m really proud of all of these guys.”
Florida State’s 11 selections also tied the ACC record with FSU’s 2013 draft haul and Maryland’s 11 picks in 1975 (when the draft was 17 rounds).
Offensive guard Tre’ Jackson kicked off the draft’s final day for the Seminoles on Saturday when he was selected with the 111th pick in the fourth round by the New England Patriots.
In the fifth round, wide receiver Rashad Greene was picked by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the 138th selection, while running back Karlos Williams was selected by the Buffalo Bills with the 155th pick.
Tight end Nick O’Leary was also selected by the Bills with the 194th pick in the sixth round, and offensive lineman Bobby Hart rounded out the Seminoles’ draftees when the New York Giants chose him with the 226th pick in the seventh round.
Saturday’s draftees joined first overall pick Jameis Winston, Cameron Erving (1-19), Mario Edwards Jr. (2-35), Eddie Goldman (2-39), Ronald Darby (2-50) and P.J. Williams (3-78) to form Florida State’s 2015 Draft Class.
Jackson will join fellow Seminole All-American Bryan Stork on the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
“Tre’ is one heck of a player,” Fisher said. “He is as tough as they come. He was often our best offensive lineman most games over the past two years. I’m happy for him and his family. He should be a perfect fit for the Patriots organization and excel in the NFL.“
Jackson was arguably the nation’s best guard in 2014 as he earned unanimous All-America honors and was named South Team MVP at the 2015 Senior Bowl.
Greene had a record-breaking career at Florida State and should immediately bolster a young Jaguars’ offense.
“Rashad will be a steal for the Jaguars,” Fisher said. “They will be very happy with his work ethic and professionalism. He conducted himself as a pro here at Florida State. There aren’t enough good things you can say about him. He set nearly every receiving record and was a leader and a captain for us. In all of my years coaching, he is one of my favorites. He will be a great ambassador for Florida State. I can’t wait to watch him play in Jacksonville.”
Greene holds the FSU career records for receptions (270), receiving yards (3,830) and consecutive games with a reception (43) and the career receiving yardage is also the ACC record. He will always be remembered by Seminole fans for his 49-yard catch-and-run on the final drive of the 2013 BCS National Championship that put FSU in position for the winning score.
Williams joins his brother Vince Williams in the NFL. Vince was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the sixth round in 2013.
“Karlos is a tremendous athlete and a teammate,” Fisher said. “I’m happy for him and his family. Karlos did whatever was needed of him at Florida State and that attitude will serve him well in the NFL where he can contribute at running back. He also has the ability to be a terrific special teams player. It will be fun watching him continue to develop with the Bills.”
Williams will go down as one of the most versatile players in school history, beginning his career at safety and starting the 2012 ACC Championship Game at linebacker before moving to running back during the second week of the 2013 season. He finished ninth in FSU history with 22 rushing touchdowns, while rushing for 1,419 yards on just 241 carries (5.9 ypc).
John Mackey Award winner O’Leary becomes the eighth Seminole tight end ever drafted and the first since Lonnie Johnson was a second-round pick in 1994.
“There wasn’t a better tight end in the country than Nick these past two years,” Fisher said. “He is tough as nails and has tremendous hands. He truly loves the game of football. He will go to Buffalo and work his tail off. I’m excited to watch him on the Bills.”
The Palm Beach, Fla., native wrapped up his career as the most prolific tight end in Florida State history, capturing the 2014 John Mackey Award and ending his career as FSU’s all-time leader among tight ends in receptions (114), yards (1,591) and touchdowns (18).
Hart is the first Seminole selected by the Giants since Eric Moore in 2005. He and Jackson became the 32nd and 33rd FSU offensive linemen drafted all-time.
“Bobby was a terrific player who improved every year for us,” Fisher said. “He started three years for us and is still only 20 years old. He’s got a lot of football ahead of him. Congratulations to Bobby and his family, and to the Giants who got a great player.”
Hart was a three-year starter who capped his career by starting 28 consecutive games at right tackle and earning all-conference honors from 2013-14.
With the conclusion of the 2015 NFL Draft, Florida State has now had 36 draft picks since Fisher became head coach. Overall, 268 Seminoles have been drafted since 1951, including 42 first-round selections.
The Seminoles extended their drafted streak to 32 consecutive years.
*** Courtesy FSU Athletics