Former Florida State linebacker Sam Cowart was among the 12 former Atlantic Coast Conference players selected to the Class of 2012 Dr. Pepper ACC Football Championship Legends.
Cowart played on four ACC Championship teams for coach Bobby Bowden at Florida State from 1993-1995 and was a key reserve on the Seminoles 1993 National Championship squad. He led FSU in tackles as a junior in 1995 (115) and as a senior in 1997 (116) after sitting out the 1996 season with a knee injury. In 1997, he was named a consensus first-team All-America, was a finalist for both the Butkus Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and was named National Defensive Player of the Year by the Football News.
The 1997 Florida State defense set a school record in rushing defense, allowing just 1.5 yards per rush. That year, Cowart was also honored as the winner of the ACC’s Brian Piccolo Award for Courage. The 39th selection in the second round of the 1998 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, Cowart went on to an eight-year NFL career with Buffalo, the New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings. He started 87 NFL games, playing in 100, and made 715 career tackles. He was named All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl after the 2000 season. He was inducted into the Florida State Hall of Fame in 2011. A native of Jacksonville, he currently lives in his hometown.
Other members of the 2012 ACC Legends class are College Football Hall of Fame members Ted Hendricks (Miami defensive end, 1966-1968) and Mike McGee (Duke guard, 1957-1959); former ACC Players of the Year Frank Quayle (Virginia running back, 1966-68) and Torry Holt (North Carolina State wide receiver, 1995-1998); Bob Hyland (Boston College guard, 1964-1966); Bennie Cunningham (Clemson tight end, 1973-1975); Ken Swilling (Georgia Tech safety, 1988-1991); Chet Hanulak (Maryland running back, 1951-1953); Dre Bly (North Carolina cornerback, 1996-1998); Pierson Prioleau (Virginia Tech defensive back, 1995-1998); and Ed Stetz (Wake Forest linebacker, 1969-1971)
The Legends will be honored at this year’s Dr. Pepper ACC Football Championship Game weekend. They will be honored at the ACC Night of Legends sponsored by the Belk Bowl on Friday, Nov. 30, and on Dec. 1, during ceremonies at Bank of America Stadium for the Eighth Annual Dr. Pepper ACC Football Championship.