At 6’3″ and 210 pounds, wide receiver De’Cody Fagg had the ability to make the tough grab over the middle, but was also fast enough to make plays after the catch during his time at Florida State. In four years at FSU, Fagg had more than 1,600 yards receiving and seven career touchdowns while helping lead the Seminoles to a pair of bowl victories and the 2005 ACC championship.
Growing up about 25 miles away from the campus of Florida State University, Fagg rarely thought about being anything other than a Seminole. A native of Quincy, both of his parents would often don the garnet and gold.
“From the time I was a little baby, all I knew was FSU because my dad and my mom were FSU fans,” Fagg said. “With my dad working at the Tallahassee Airport, I got the chance to meet a lot of the guys when I was younger. I was able to meet Charlie Ward live in person. My brothers and I would go to a lot of FSU games.”
Fagg grew up watching the great Florida State teams of the 1990s, fueled partially by talented receiving corps that included Tamarick Vanover, Kez McCorvey, E.G. Green and Andre Cooper among others. As a youth, Fagg rarely lined up out wide, but made the switch early in his career at Shanks High School.
“Coming up through middle school, I was a quarterback, but by the time I transitioned to high school, I became a wide receiver since my older brother was a receiver,” he said. “He was always talking about Peter Warrick this and Peter Warrick that and once I got the chance to get to see him, there was no one more spectacular than that guy there.”
After graduating high school in 2003, Fagg briefly attended Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia before heading to Florida State where he would graduate with a degree in Social Science. Fagg spent his career playing for the legendary Bobby Bowden.
“He was a father figure,” Fagg said of his former coach. “He took care of all his players and treated them as his own kids no matter the situation. Spending four years with Coach Bowden taught me to be a productive young man off the field and not just on the field.”
After just six catches as a freshman in 2004, Fagg finished with 35 catches for 404 yards and a touchdown as part of a deep receiving corps that helped FSU win the inaugural ACC Championship game in 2005.
Fagg’s numbers increased slightly in 2006, but as a senior, he enjoyed a career-year. Fagg was one of three Seminoles to record at least 700 yards receiving in 2007, finishing with 758 yards and a team-high 5 touchdown receptions. His 54 catches and 14 yards-per-catch average were also career-bests. The increased production came under first-year offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher.
“Coach Fisher came in with a winning attitude,” Fagg said. “He didn’t know none of us personally and the relationship we built in the small time we were together was great. He’s the type of guy who doesn’t take anything lightly. You’re either going to give it all or you’re not going to play.”
The Seminoles finished just 7-6 in 2007, but Fagg played his best against FSU’s stiffest competition. In wins over Alabama and No. 2 Boston College, Fagg totaled 10 catches for 206 yards and three touchdowns. In each of those contests, Fagg scored long fourth quarter touchdowns to extend the FSU lead to two scores.
“Both those games, Coach Fisher and Coach (Lawrence) Dawsey came to me and said we need a big game out of you,” Fagg said. “I just translated what I did in practice onto the field.”
Fagg said victories like those over ranked Alabama and Boston College teams were instrumental in bringing Florida State out of its run of mediocrity.
“Knocking off No. 2 Boston College and Matt Ryan, that was big time for us,” he said. “Those games set the bar for the younger guys coming through to get them to seeing the Florida State they used to see.”
Following a solid senior season at FSU, Fagg was projected as a second-day pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, but a severe knee injury in a non-contact drill during the NFL Combine derailed Fagg’s hopes of a potential NFL career. Fagg however, would eventually get his chance in the Arena Football League with the Tampa Bay Storm. In 2012, Fagg finished with 222 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns. Fagg served a brief stint with the Orlando Predators in 2013 before returning home to Quincy in June of that year to head the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, which he continues to do today.
“I’m dealing with youth sports,” he said. “People see me out here working with kids and they’re happy to see me back and I’ve been happy to give back. I’ve been helping out at the schools with football.”
Fagg said he hosts an annual summer football camp, which is scheduled for August 1st this year. Fagg said he and former FSU teammate, Leroy Smith, a cornerback from Shanks High School, work together to make a difference in the community.
“Leroy Smith is back home and he’s teaching school,” Fagg said. “He’s been helping with the kids around the neighborhoods and we kind of connect together and try to make a difference around here.”
Fagg still closely follows his alma mater’s football program, which he grew up watching. Fagg said he tries to attend spring practice and some of the summer camps the school hosts.
“I try to go every spring and talk to the guys,” Fagg said. “I’m looking forward to going to some of the training camps they have this summer.”
Fagg said he isn’t surprised that Fisher, his former offensive coordinator, has had success as a head coach. In five years as the head man, Fisher has led the Seminoles to three ACC titles and the 2013 national championship.
“Coach Fisher is the type who will give anyone a chance,” he said. “With his offensive strategies and the way he handles situations, once I saw that, I knew Coach Fisher was going to be a great head coach one day. Every year Coach Fisher has been here, the receiving corps has looked like the receiving corps from the 90s and I’m just so proud of that.”
Fagg said he values the time he spent at Florida State and credits his coaches with helping mold him as a young man. The former receiver said he would recommend the school to any perspective recruits or students.
“It was the best four years of my life,” Fagg said. “I think that’s where I matured a lot was off the field dealing with Coach Bowden, Coach Dawsey and Coach Fisher. They’re more like lifetime parents. It was a great experience and I wouldn’t wish anything but the best for any kid who is there now or plans on going there in the future.”