Florida State hit it big on National Signing Day when five-star Texas defensive tackle Marvin Wilson committed to the Seminoles on ESPN U.
Wilson was asked what made FSU his choice, and, among a number of things, he mentioned FSU’s player dining hall’s honey fried chicken.
“The best meal I had by far was when I was at Florida State,” Wilson said.
“They had this thing called ‘honey fried chicken.’ I was like, ‘that sounds kinda suspect’ and I got one piece.
“I bit into that one piece of chicken and went and grabbed the pan and we ate that whole pan of honey fried chicken. That’s probably the best chicken I’ve ever had in my life.”
Since that moment, the chicken has become a viral sensation. A number of players and recruits have tweeted about how good it is.
The official FSU football Twitter account also got in on the action.
It isn’t just a football event either. Players on many of FSU’s sports teams will go out of their way to make it over for “fried chicken Friday” at the player’s dining hall.
“Every Friday, the guys are going over there to eat Mrs. Shirley’s fried chicken,” FSU assistant baseball coach Mike Martin Jr. said.
The “fried chicken Friday” has been a long-standing tradition at FSU, but one that was fully embraced by the Seminoles director of sports nutrition Kayli Hrdlicka.
“It existed before I was here so it’s a long standing tradition,” Hrdlicka said.
“I think that that’s important. The thing that you have to understand about food is there is a level of tradition, comfort, and emotional connection to food.
“In addition to that, there’s always a need for balance between the fun and the functional. Many meals and snacks are functional. They work for you and designed to support their training.
“Then there’s the fried chicken which is the fun. It’s the reward. There has to be the balance between the two.”
It’s not just the players that go out or their way to eat there either. A lot of the coaches make sure to get down to the dining hall on Fridays.
“Oh gosh yeah,” Martin Jr. said.
“I eat it dang near every Friday as well. I don’t need it, but I do. It’s fried to perfection, and that honey that she puts in there before she fries ‘em makes it taste incredibly good.
“I’ve never seen anyone who tried it for the first time not say that it was the best fried chicken they’ve ever had.”
During the season, the football players don’t get to eat it on Friday with most of the games coming up the next day. Instead, they have a team dinner on Monday nights after wins where the entire program has dinner in the dining facility.