Florida State

Making the case for Florida State’s Terrell Buckley to make the College Football Hall of Fame

Terrell Buckley
COURTESY OF FLORIDA STATE ATHLETICS

Terrell Buckley, the former Florida State All-American cornerback, is one of 75 players who was listed on the 2018 ballot for the induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Buckley, a three-year star from 1989-91, holds several records for the Seminoles, his 21 career interceptions and seven career return touchdowns (four interceptions, three punt returns) among them.

Who could forget when Buckley burst onto the scene as a true freshman at Syracuse? His fake fair catch for a 69-yard punt return touchdown is legendary. Seminoles fans had just witnessed Deion Sanders for four years and Buckley proved to be just as dominant.

A tremendous athlete, Buckley also played baseball for two years and ran outdoor track for one, but it was clear that football was where he would make his mark.

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Named the Jim Thorpe Award winner in 1991 as the best defensive back in college football, he had 12 picks that year for an NCAA record of 501 return yards.

Early that year, Florida State traveled to Michigan and pounded the Wolverines, 51-31. On the second play of the game, Buckley stepped in front of Desmond Howard and took an Elvis Grbac pass back 40 yards for a touchdown. With apologies to friend LeRoy Butler, he also invented the Lambeau Leap that day at the “Big House” after his pick-six.

Buckley accomplished everything at Florida State except a national championship. Some won’t forget Wide Right I, when late in the fourth quarter Buckley was on his heels and allowed a pass to Horace Copeland on fourth-and-6. The reception left the ball at the 3 and Miami would score and go on to win 17-16.

Outside of that, he was the fifth player selected in the NFL draft by Green Bay in 1992 and went on to play 14 years in the league. Currently, he’s the cornerbacks coach at Mississippi State.

Aside from Sanders, Buckley, who had his No. 27 jersey retired at Florida State in 2011, is the best defensive back to ever play at the school. He was a game changer both as a defensive back and as a punt returner, and remains a first-class individual.

Does he get in on the first ballot? We’ll see, but Buckley is a lock to make it soon into the College Football Hall of Fame.

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(You can follow Rick Ballou on Twitter @Ballou1010xl)

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