Warrick Returns to FSU for Shot at National Title : College football: Former roommate of Randy Moss back for his senior season with hopes of also winning Heisman Trophy.


Peter Warrick could have ended up as the answer to a trivia question.

Which Florida State receiver was once roommates with Randy Moss?

Fate intervened, however, and it seems as if both players have benefited.


After rooming with Warrick as a redshirt freshman, Moss moved to Marshall, eventually overcoming his troubles to become an NFL star. That left the receiving stage at Florida State wide open for Warrick, who returns to the Seminoles this year as one of the top players in college football.

The two have remained friends. They talk regularly on the telephone. The conversations will become more interesting when the season begins.

“I’ve told him, ‘I’m going to call you every Saturday night and let you know what I did,”’ Warrick says. “I’m going to tell him, ‘I want you to do better than that on Sunday.’ ”

Warrick could have joined Moss in the NFL this season. Many people expected the Florida State senior to forgo his final year for a sure spot in the draft’s first round.

Much like Peyton Manning did two seasons ago, Warrick decided to stay in school. He wanted another chance at the national title that eluded the Seminoles by one victory last season. Perhaps the prospect of winning the Heisman Trophy was a factor, too.

There could have been other reasons.

“I really think Peter likes Tallahassee, Florida, and he likes it at FSU,” coach Bobby Bowden says. “I don’t think it’s like he can’t wait to get to New York or Philadelphia. Maybe that doesn’t excite him right now.”

As much as the decision had to do with football, it had to do with becoming an adult. Raised by his mother and aunt, Warrick never had much of a father figure growing up. Enter Bowden and the sage advice he dispenses in his down-home, folksy way.

“Sometimes I think, ‘Gosh, I wonder how it would be if my daddy was there,”’ Warrick says. “Coach Bobby is like a father away from home. I grew up without my father. I can talk to Bobby in any way. He’ll tell me, ‘I think you need to do this, you need to do that.’ I try to listen and follow what he tells me.”

Bowden ranks Warrick up there with the most talented players he’s ever coached, a list that includes Derrick Brooks, Warrick Dunn and Andre Wadsworth.

“He’s a dangerous football player,” Bowden says. “I think you better get two or three guys on him or you’re not going to get him. He’s just got a God-given talent to evade people.”

And there are plenty of football-related goals for Warrick to chase. He’s close to many Florida State and Atlantic Coast Conference records.

He has already scored 25 touchdowns in college. Last year, he caught 61 passes for 1,232 yards and 11 touchdowns, and returned 15 punts for 208 yards. He also rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown.

He needs 77 catches for 1,016 yards and six touchdowns to set career records in all of those categories at Florida State, and he is 796 yards shy of the ACC receiving yardage record held by North Carolina State’s Torry Holt.

Finding the end zone has always seemed easy for Warrick, a muscular 6-foot, 200-pound speedster known his whole life as P-Dub, for the W in his last name.

“The first time I touched the ball, the first time being out there, I ran the kickoff all the way back,” says Warrick, recalling his football debut as a 10-year-old.

He led Southeast High in Bradenton to consecutive state titles, accounting for 39 touchdowns in those two years. Although he played quarterback his senior year there was never a question about where he’d line up at Florida State.

Choosing the Seminoles was easy for Warrick, whose high school team had the same nickname. His favorite player was former Florida State great Deion Sanders.

Warrick met Sanders this summer, but isn’t making any bold statements about going head-to-head with the perennial All-Pro cornerback one day.

“I ain’t ready for that yet,” Warrick said, laughing. “I came back one more year so I could get ready for that.”

He might also be getting ready for the Heisman. Warrick and Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne enter the season as the top candidates.

“That’s something that will either come or it won’t,” Bowden says. “I don’t think that’s why he stayed. But our team will be on TV every Saturday. Plenty of people will see him. If he’s got it, they’ll see it and they’ll vote for him.”

It was a TV appearance of another nature that may have formed the most opinions of Warrick to this point, none of them flattering.

In last year’s 23-16 loss to Tennessee in the Fiesta Bowl, the receiver had just one catch for 7 yards. In the second half, TV cameras caught him on the sideline, animated and obviously frustrated.

“I know on TV they were trying to make it seem like I was mad because I wasn’t getting the ball,” he says. “It probably looked like that, but it wasn’t like that at all. I was mad because I felt we weren’t playing together as a team.”

He’ll have plenty of time to get it right this year. His decision to stay in college one more year was one his former roommate, Moss, completely agreed with.

“He was telling me it’s a business up there, like a 9-to-5 job,” Warrick said. “He’s glad I stayed. Now he’s saying, ‘first pick, first round, Peter Warrick.’ He’s going to go crazy.”