Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Warrick Cure-All for FSU

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Warrick Cure-All for FSU

Article excerpt

Peter Warrick has perfected the art of keeping people guessing. You don't become the best receiver in college football by tipping defenders off about the direction of your pass route.

So when it came time for Florida State's electrifying flanker to decide whether to jump to the NFL or stay in school, Warrick fooled everybody again.

"I was pretty much set on leaving after the Fiesta Bowl [23-16 loss to No. 1-ranked Tennessee] because I felt it was time for me to leave," he said.

Instead, Warrick faked left, then went right. Just when the Seminole nation thought its greatest home-run weapon was gone forever, Warrick took a page out of the playbooks of Peyton Manning and Ricky Williams: He returned for his senior year.

"Everybody on our coaching staff assumed he'd come out for the NFL," FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. "Then the day before his decision, he told me, `I'm confused. I don't know what to do.' We were happily shocked. We couldn't sign a better player than that."

The confusion was alleviated by two factors -- a lot of praying and a tip from Randy Moss, the Minnesota Vikings' receiver who befriended Warrick during his brief stay at FSU in 1996.

"It was something I had to feel right about in my heart and I prayed to God to make the right decision," Warrick said. "Randy Moss told me that once you leave college, football's more of a 9-to-5 job.

"College life is only going to be there for so long. I want to enjoy it while I can."

Warrick's change of heart could very well change the outcome of college football's two biggest races -- the national championship and Heisman Trophy. Warrick, who already ranks fourth on FSU's all-time receiving list with 2,583 yards, is that much of a difference-maker.

Ron Dayne, the Wisconsin running back who may shatter Williams' NCAA career rushing record, was recently asked if he thought of himself as the best player in college football. His answer: "No, that would be Peter Warrick."

Warrick is the offensive version of Deion Sanders, a player who can destroy opponents any time he touches the ball. No matter how that ball finds its way into his hands.

As Bowden says: "He's got moves and balance out of this world. …

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