TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Justin Motlow accomplished something on Saturday that has never happened in the 71-year history of Florida State football.
Motlow, who is a preferred walk-on, is the first member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida to score a touchdown for Florida State. His 12-yard catch from J.J. Cosentino with 8:38 remaining in the fourth quarter was part of the Seminoles’ 77-6 win over Delaware State .
“That is just the most amazing honor you could ever feel,” Motlow said. “I am so proud to represent my tribe. The first member to score a touchdown, let alone just play, it’s an exhilarating feeling. It makes me so happy.”
Motlow, who is a 5-foot-11, 183-pound redshirt junior from Tampa, is one-fourth Seminole Indian. His grandmother, Louise, is 100 percent Seminole and still lives on the Seminole reservation in Immokalee. His father, Clarence, is half Seminole and grew up on the reservation before moving to Tampa.
Motlow became the first Seminole to suit up for Florida State when he accepted a walk-on spot in 2014, He saw action in two games in 2015 and played earlier this season in a loss at Boston College. Most of his snaps before Saturday though were on special teams.
“Honestly I didn’t think I would be the first . When I came here and walked on it wasn’t for that,” he said. “I thought it was a neat little fact. As time went on I understood how big of a humbling feeling and honor it is.
“Hopefully this gives younger tribal members a chance to look up to someone and make the most of it. Anything is possible. I never thought I would be sitting here right now.”
With Florida State leading 56-6 at halftime, Motlow said he expected he would see some playing time. His first reception was a 12-yard screen pass during the third quarter that helped set up a Ryan Green touchdown.
During the fourth quarter, Motlow got his chance to score. He got separation from Devin Smith and made a diving catch for a touchdown. Motlow would finish with three receptions for 25 yards.
“So they called the play, had the flag route,” Motlow said. “I just came off the line and right when I came out of my break, time just stood still. I saw the ball in the air and I just knew this was my big opportunity and I knew I wasn’t going to drop it for anything. Made the play and that was the most excited I’ve ever been.”
Motlow was congratulated on the sideline and was lifted up by Corey Martinez, who also went to Tampa Catholic. The fact that it also happened during Florida State’s Homecoming Week, where the Seminole Tribe and culture are honored, made it more rewarding.
“That was great. Motlow is one of the guys that is always happy. You never catch him down,” cornerback Tarvarus McFadden said. “When you see Motlow make a play like that, and everybody knows what Motlow is capable of, it just means a lot to the team.”
Coach Jimbo Fisher also recognized the milestone Motlow accomplished and was among the first to congratulate him.
“That was a great catch and something he’ll remember forever,” Fisher said. “He’ll be able to say it forever, and like I say, that’s some of the greatest rewards you ever have in coaching. I’m not talking about winning championships and any other, but that right there, that’s some of the greatest rewards you have in coaching.”
Florida State athletic director Stan Wilcox had the ball from Motlow’s touchdown after the game. He said he plans to give it to the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
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