Florida State 1985 Recruiting Class

How do you measure a good recruiting class? How about a great recruiting class?

This 1985 Florida State recruiting class seems to have been the main one behind the Seminole Dynasty period which lasted from 1987 until 2000. I wrote about that period in Florida State history a few years back: Dynasty

Bobby Bowden had been building a program at Florida State since 1976 and things had been going well for them. But, 1987 is the year that the Seminoles became a super power. They won 2 national titles in that period, and they finished in the top 4 every year for the next 14 seasons.

Recruiting is the life blood of any college football team and this 1985 recruiting class may have been the driving force in the beginning of the Florida State that we know today.

No doubt, the best player in this class was Deion Sanders. The Pro Football Hall of Fame member was a game breaker at either Cornerback, or as a return man.

Deion also probably set the standard for trash talk.

Sammie Smith was a top Running Back and one of the most highly ranked and recruited in the class of 1985. He ran for over 1,200 yards in 1987 and he became the 9th guy taken in the 1st round of the 1989 NFL Draft.

This class was really strong with Defensive Linemen with future starters Odell Haggins, Thomas Harp and Eric Hayes.


Quarterbacks Chip Ferguson and Peter Tom Willis were big contributors with Ferguson starting as a freshman.

Pat Tomberlin, John Brown, Tony Yeomans and Michael Tanks were Offensive Linemen in this class. They also had some good Linebackers and Defensive Backs other than Neon Deion.

1985 Recruiting Class:

Mark Barron – Atlanta, Georgia; OL 6-2, 250: Barron never quite cracked the starting lineup, but he did contribute.

John Brown – Deland, Florida; DL 6-3, 280: Converted to the Offensive side of the ball and started at Guard was really good. He was a starter on 1987 team that began the dynasty.

Ken Carr – Apopka, Florida; OL 6-3, 260: Didn’t last long.

Keith Carter – Miami, Florida; LB 6-3, 228: Carter was a big Inside Linebacker for the Seminoles.

Ed Clark – Miami, Florida; LB 6-3, 205: Played Outside Linebacker for the Noles.

Scott DiMare – Miami, Florida; WR 6-0, 180: Contributed at Wide Receiver.

Dedrick Dodge – Mulberry, Florida; WR-DB 6-2, 170: Played Safety and was something of a ball hawk.

Reno Fells – Palatka, Florida; FB 6-1, 195: Cool name, but I think he transferred out before the Dynasty. Was involved in some scandal back in his home town as a policeman.

Chip Ferguson – Spartanburg, South Carolina; QB 6-2, 195: Ferguson was a freshman All American Quarterback.

Kevin Grant – Ocala, Florida; LB 6-3, 207: Played Outside Linebacker for the Seminoles and a major part of the defense.

Odell Haggins – Bartow, Florida; LB 6-1, 210: Grew substantially and became a star in the Defensive Line. He was a long term starter at Nose Guard and he now coaches the FSU Defensive Line.

Thomas Harp – Winter Garden, Florida; NG 6-1, 280: Big time Defensive Lineman and major contributor.

Eric Hayes – Tampa, Florida; DL 6-3, 280: Starting Defensive lineman and another good player.

Scott Johnston – Ft Lauderdale, Florida; QB/K/P 6-1, 180: Didn’t last.

Eric Krohn – Paoli, Pennsylvania; DL 6-3, 240: Reserve Defensive Lineman

Bryan Law – Lake Wales, Florida; OL 6-2, 250: Didn’t last.

Chris Lundahl – Provo, Utah; QB 6-3, 190: Did not work out.

Chris Miller – Tallahassee, Florida; DT 6-2, 260: Did not stick.

John Parks – Ormond Beach, Florida; DB 6-4, 195: Turned out to be 6-2 and played at Cornerback.

Keith Ross – Newberry, Florida;  RB/DB 5-10, 175: Played Running Back behind others like Sammie Smith.

Deion Sanders – Fort Myers, Florida; WR/DB 6-1, 175: One of games all time greats. Sanders was a great Cornerback, but he was also one of a kind as a punt return man. He changed games.

Sammie Smith – Apopka, Florida; RB 6-1, 210: Super star. He was one of the bigger reasons the Florida State Seminoles reached another level by 1987. Smith supposedly ran a 4.3 40.

Michael Tanks – Decatur, Georgia; LB 6-3, 240: Moved to the Offensive Line and became a starter later on.

Shelton Thompson – Lakeland, Florida; LB 6-3, 200: Thompson was a starter at Linebacker.

Pat Tomberlin – Middleburg, Florida; OL/DL 6-4, 300: Monster sized Lineman for his day at 300 pounds, started at Left Tackle for multiple seasons. Best Offensive Lineman for early Dynasty teams.

Pat White – Tampa, Florida; WR 6-2, 185: Back up Wide Receiver for Noles.

Alphonso Williams – Lloyd, Florida; DB 6-0, 185: Played in the secondary.

Anthony Williams – Apopka, Florida; DL 6-3, 270: Lost track of him.

Peter Tom Willis – Morris, Alabama; QB 6-3, 180: Another Quarterback that played a lot during the Dynasty.

Tony Yeomans – Jesup, Georgia; DL 6-2, 285: Starting Offensive Lineman

Of course, some guys did not work out with Florida State. It happens at every school, even the 5 star recruits don’t always measure up at times.

A good recruiting class is one that has Deion Sanders and Sammie Smith in it, add in a few more solid players and you have a great recruiting class.

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