FSU football at one time had one of the best wide receivers of all time in Randy Moss – so what would have happened if he had finished in Tallahassee?
In the fall of 1995, former FSU football head coach Bobby Bowden had given a second chance to one of the top high school football players in the country who had run into trouble with the law. Bowden, known for doing such a thing, knew that if everything would work out, the Seminoles could be in for a magical run.
Unfortunately, the Randy Moss experiment was a short lived on for Bowden and the ‘Noles.
After sitting out the season as a redshirt transfer, Moss was busted for marijuana while on probation for a previous arrest and conviction. After being let go from Notre Dame, the West Virginia native was gone from Florida State as well and searching for someone to give him a third chance.
That chance would come from Marshall University in his home state, where he would finish his college career with over 3,500 yards receiving and 54 touchdowns in those two years with the Thundering Herd. Numbers like that can’t help but make you wonder: what if Moss had been able to finish his career in Tallahassee?
Moss – 78 catches for 1709 yards and 28 touchdowns
E.G. Green – 34 catches for 662 yards and seven touchdowns
Peter Warrick – 22 catches for 467 yards and four touchdowns
Warrick Dunn – 30 catches for 355 yards and two touchdowns
Andre Cooper – 26 catches for 338 yards and four touchdowns
It took four receivers for Florida State to get near Moss’s numbers in yardage and they still came up 1 touchdowns short of reaching his number. The following season saw slightly better numbers for FSU’s receivers, but Moss was still light years ahead.
Moss – 96 catches for 1,820 yards and 26 touchdowns (including bowl game)
E.G. Green – 54 catches for 1,059 yards and 11 touchdowns
Peter Warrick – 53 catches for 884 yards and eight touchdowns
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Again, it took two receivers for the Seminoles to get in the same ballpark with what Moss was doing. It’s hard not to believe that Florida State, who lost just two games in these season (both at the hands of the hated Florida Gators) wouldn’t have at least won another national title with Moss going down field along with Green, Warrick and others.
Part of the argument from some will be that Moss benefited from a wide open offense run by the Thundering Herd with quarterback Chad Pennington, whereas FSU was running more of a pro style offense. That might be true to an extend, but Bowden was known for adjusting the offense to his best players.
With the possible exception of Warrick Dunn during the 1996 season, there was likely no better athlete on the FSU football roster than what they would have had with Moss. However, he made his decision and had to live with the consequences – while we all wonder what kind of special things could have taken place.