Rick Stockstill was a football and baseball star at Fernandina Beach High School who Bobby Bowden saw as the kind of hard-nosed quarterback who could eventually lead his early FSU teams.
While not seeing much game action over his first three seasons, Stockstill gained the respect of teammates and coaches putting him in perfect position to take over the offense in 1980. He started every game for the Seminoles over the sensational 1980 season leading FSU to a 10-1 regular-season record and ranking of No. 2 in the country. Included in those wins was perhaps the most significant one in FSU history when Stockstill, who was named an All-American following the season, and the Seminoles upset No. 4 Nebraska on the road and the program emerged on the national stage.
The Seminoles probably could have kept the moment going in 1981 were it not for arguably the toughest schedule in college football history. Stockstill not only led FSU in consecutive road games at Nebraska, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Pitt and LSU, but also against traditional rivals Miami and Florida. By the time the Florida game rolled around, the Seminoles were flat worn out. However, the team’s eagerness in tackling the schedule and the wins notched at Ohio State, Notre Dame and LSU earned Florida State the reputation for toughness that still exists today.
Stockstill remains among FSU’s Top 25 career leaders for touchdown passes (26), passing yards (2,834) and total offense (2,616) among others.