High School: St. Thomas Aquinas
Career: Datko was a lightly recruited prospect from a state powerhouse, he held three offers(UCF and FIU). He was considered a player that would need time to develop, instead he made an immediate impact.
He has been a stalwart of the offensive line since starting the final 12 games of his true freshmen season(freshmen All-American).
Started every game as a sophomore, but missed three games as a junior due to a shoulder injury. Played through pain in the 2010 season. Has graded out better each year and is widely considered one of the top OTs in college football.
Datko has tremendous strength, he is considered one the strongest players in the country at his position.
Expectations: When you are forced to start young players on the offensive line, you often take your lumps early for the reward down the road. Thus far that is exactly what has happened in his career and there is every reason to think he will be even better in 2011.
There are some injury concerns with the shoulder as he missed Spring practice because of it. On the flip side, he has earned his reputation as tough and is one of the hardest workers on the team, both qualities bode well for his return.
Although E.J. Manuel has started games, he has not been the guy for a season. Datko should provide Manuel some comfort blocking his blind side. Datko has legit NFL aspirations and right now would project to be picked in the top three rounds. A healthy season should push him to the top half of that range.
Overall: Regardless of performance his senior year, Datko has been a home run recruiting wise. Clearly Coach Trickett was one of the only coaches to see the upside in this player, there is a reason for his overall success. It is important to remember that just about every school that goes to Florida to recruit, goes to St. Thomas.