This article originally appeared on The Daily Nole on June 8, 2016
Florida State’s 2016 recruiting class was regarded as one of the best nationally and the No. 1 overall class, according to ESPN. The most highly-sought after recruit of that class was Virginia cornerback Levonta Taylor.
Earlier this week, it was learned that Taylor will wear jersey No. 1 in his first season as a Seminole and probably throughout the duration of his career in Tallahassee. Taylor will have big shoes to fill wearing that jersey number, but most FSU fans feel he’s more than capable of filling them. Here are the five best Seminoles to wear No. 1 across their chests:
5. Mike Harris, CB (2010-11)
Career Stats: 99 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 5 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles
A Miami native and junior college transfer, Mike Harris was a dependable cover guy in the secondary, who was responsible for seven forced turnovers over his two years in Tallahassee. Harris had an interception in each of his contests (both FSU victories) against rival Florida, including one in 2011 that he returned 89 yards to set up a short Devonta Freeman touchdown.
4. Andre Cooper, WR (1993-96)
Career Stats: 132 receptions, 1,810 yards receiving, 24 touchdown catches
At 6-2 and with the ability the out-leap defenders, it comes as little surprise that Jacksonville native Andre Cooper began his career at FSU playing both football and basketball. Cooper caught 24 touchdowns over his four years at Florida State and was named an honorable mention All-American as a junior in 1995. That year, Cooper finished with more than 1,000 receiving and 15 touchdown catches. In the Orange Bowl at the end of that season, Cooper caught three touchdowns to help FSU overcome a 12-point fourth quarter deficit in a 31-26 victory over Notre Dame.
3. Craphonso Thorpe, WR (2001-04)
Career Stats: 123 receptions, 2,153 yards receiving, 18 touchdown catches
Craphonso Thorpe was tall, agile and could really run, starring not only for Florida State on the gridiron, but on the men’s track and field team as well. After getting work as the team’s third and fourth receiver his first two seasons, Thorpe emerged as quarterback Chris Rix’s favorite target as a junior in 2003. That season, Thorpe caught 51 passes for 994 yards and 11 touchdowns. Against both Colorado and Notre Dame that year, Thorpe finished with more than 200 yards receiving. Unfortunately for Thorpe, his season was cut short by a leg injury suffered in the ACC finale against N.C. State, but Thorpe still did enough to help FSU win its 11th ACC crown in 12 years and to be named a third-team All-American by College Football News.
2. Kelvin Benjamin, WR (2011-13)
Career Stats: 84 catches, 1,506 yards receiving, 19 touchdown catches
At 6-5 and nearly 240 pounds, Kelvin Benjamin was a defensive back’s worst nightmare. After redshirting in 2011, Benjamin quickly emerged as a force to be reckoned with for the Seminoles. As a redshirt sophomore in 2013, Benjamin was nearly unstoppable to close the season, scoring 10 touchdowns over his last six games. That included a 212-yard, 3-touchdown effort in a 37-7 win over rival Florida and the game-winning touchdown in a thrilling 34-31 victory over Auburn in the final BCS National Championship. During the 2013 season, Benjamin and teammate Rashad Greene became the first FSU receivers to tally more than 1,000 yards receiving in over a decade. Sports Illustrated named Benjamin a first-team All-American that season.
1. Sam Cowart, LB (1993-97)
Career Stats: 338 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 9 sacks, 1 interception, 9 fumble recoveries, 3 touchdowns
Sam Cowart wore the No. 1 in only one of his five seasons at Florida State, but what a season it was. After a knee injury forced Cowart to miss the entire 1996 season, Cowart changed his number from 56 to 1 and went on to record 116 tackles as a senior, including eight for loss. That year, Cowart would also score three defensive touchdowns for a unit that ranked among the best in the country. Cowart would be recognized as a Consensus All-American and was a finalist for the Butkus Award, which is annually given to the nation’s top linebacker.