Throughout these years, I have seen a lot of the Seminole greats. Deion Sanders, Charlie Ward, Warrick Dunn, Chris Weinke, are just a short few on the list of greatness I’ve seen come through Tallahassee, Florida.
When casual college football fans hear the words “Florida State football”, I’m sure that Lonnie Pryor is one of the last names that come to mind. Although he’s the reigning Discover Orange Bowl MVP, because of the lack of intrigue surrounding the match up, people still may not bring that name up when talking about all-time Seminole greats.
But make no mistake about it, while he may not have the on-field accomplishments that the names referenced above do, Lonnie Pryor deserves just as much of the attention as they do in FSU football history.
Part of the reason that Pryor may not be as well known throughout the nation is that he primarily played the fullback position during his time at FSU. Yes, in case some of you were wondering, that position still exists in the sport of American football.
In a day in age where most talented running backs would scoff at the idea of playing in that slot, Lonnie took the responsibility seriously.
Catching balls out of the backfield, taking defensive ends head on, directing traffic down the field for the tailback reaching for the goal line – you name it, and Lonnie was willing to do it. He personified not only what a great football player was supposed to be, but more importantly, what a great teammate was supposed to be.
Lonnie was focused on one goal, and that was winning no matter what it took. Every time #24 suited up in that legendary garnet and gold and took the field, his eyes were simply on the prize of winning.
People say that “no good deed ever goes unpunished”. The validation to this statement was never more evident than it was on the night of January 1, 2013.
With a career-high 134 yards on just 5 carries, Pryor led the Noles to their first BCS victory since 1999, and captured the coveted MVP award. In an age where the definition of “MVP” can be sketchy, the man hoisting the trophy that night reminded us of what the real meaning is. In many Seminoles’ fans eyes, that award for Lonnie not only recognized his performance on that night, but rather his entire career.
This spring, the Florida State Seminoles need to replace a quarterback, a record-breaking placekicker, and rebuild a portion of a top-ranked defense. It’s merely the usual rotation of players that happens throughout every program, every year.
Now, while Jimbo Fisher and staff will find a replacement for Pryor’s position, they can ultimately never find a replacement for Pryor himself.