Dunn enjoyed a successful college career at the Florida State University, graduating in 1997 with a bachelor's degree in information studies, where he currently holds several rushing records at the University including the all time rushing record with 3,959 career rushing yards, as well as the record for most rushing yards in one season with 1242, set in 1995. While at Florida State, Dunn became the only Seminole to rush for over 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. Dunn's jersey joined other Seminole players such as Fred Biletnikoff, Ron Sellers, Ron Simmons, Charlie Ward, Deion Sanders, and Chris Weinke to have their jerseys retired by the university. He was a three time All-ACC selection and a member of the 1996ACC all-academic team. His number, 28, may be worn by future players, but his jersey will forever be displayed in the Moore Athletic Center at Florida State, whose policy changed in 1997 and the department began to retire the jersey's of all-time greats but allow the numbers to be worn again.
Dunn was selected in the first round of the 1997NFL draft with the 12th overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In his rookie season Dunn made an immediate impact for the Buccaneers squad. As the year finished he was selected to the NFC Pro Bowl team and was named the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year. Dunn spent the first four years of his career in Tampa Bay where he was named to the Pro Bowl twice (1998,2000) before signing with the Atlanta Falcons in the 2002 off-season. Once again he made a positive impact on the team with 9 total TDs and in 2002 he led the league with a 5.4 yards per carry average. Dunn scored the most rushing touchdowns in his career, 9, in the 2004 season despite splitting carries with T.J. Duckett and also led the team in rushing with 1106 yards. Having lead his team in rushing yards again in 2005, Dunn was named the NFL's Pro Bowl team marking his third selection to the team. At the end of the 2005 season, he had only missed 10 games and had a total of 1,970 carries for 8,321 yards 39 touchdowns and a 4.2 average.
When Dunn was 18 years old, his mother, Betty Dunn Smothers, an off duty police officer, was murdered during a robbery in 1993 while working a second job as a security officer, leaving Dunn and his grandmother to raise his 5 younger siblings. Upon signing an NFL contract, Dunn moved his siblings from Louisiana to Tampa where he could come home after practice to make sure they had done their homework, cleaned their rooms and were fed well. This was hardly the ritzy lifestyle most NFL rookies experienced.
Dunn established the Warrick Dunn Foundation and the Homes for the Holidays program, which helps struggling single mothers purchase homes. The program buys homes through a down payment provided by Dunn, who also worked with area sponsors to furnish and outfit the homes. The program, as of 2004, has assisted roughly 45 single mothers and 120 children in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, and Tampa, Florida. Dunn's goal is help these mothers realize the dream that his mother was not able to give to him and his siblings, to own their own home. Dunn's achievements have been recognized over the years. He received a Giant Steps Award in civic leadership from former President Bill Clinton for his program. In 2005,Dunn was presented with the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award; named after the Chicago Bears running back who died in 1999, the award is the only NFL award that recognizes a player for his community service as well as for his excellence on the field. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Dunn challenged all NFL players, except for those who play for the New Orleans Saints, to donate at least $5,000 to the relief effort. Since forming his foundation, Dunn has received over $5,000,000 in contributions.
Other business ventures
Dunn created a music production company in Atlanta, where he has signed several acts. His only major rule is that the music is not allowed to glorify violence. He is also the owner to two sporting goods stores, one in Tallahassee, the other in Atlanta.