Evaluating Jae Thaxton

For the last three years, the Florida State coaching staff has done an outstanding job of recruiting and landing blue chip linebackers. Jae Thaxton was one of four outstanding linebackers that were signed into the 2004 class. The Territory.org caught up with Coach Jody Allen to discuss what separates the 6-foot-2 and 225 pound Hartwell (GA) Hartwell County standout from the rest of the pack.

Tell me where Jae will play and what you liked about him when you first saw him play?

I first saw him when he was in the 10th grade. Jae Thaxton is one guys that has a lot of character. I didn't talk to him in the10th grade but I saw him and watched him practice one spring. You can just tell football was important to him and he stood out even back then. When he came to our camp after his 10th grade year, we just fell in love with him. Back then Coach Kines was the linebacker coach. On the field Jae runs around and has a great instinct for finding the ball. He's hard to block. The thing you notice when he hits the ball, that guys knee's buckle. He's a hard, heavy hitter. He's got a great punch when comes out of his hips when he hits the ball. The first film that I saw of him, it looked like a highlight film but it actually was a game film. He's just over and over had those knee bucking and bone jarring tackles.

What kind of person is Thaxton?

When he came to camp, I left him with a group of five in a dorm room. I think Jae was the only 10ht grader. I told them to stay in the dorm for a bit and not to leave the dorm. They were eating pizza and playing play station. When I came back Jae was the only one there. He didn't know where the rest of the bunch where. He wasn't going to tell on them. But on the same token he was going to do what he was suppose to do. That really impressed me right there. The more you watch him and the more you get to know him, you just realize the guy is solid. He's very grounded. His father is a minister and his mother is a school teacher. They're just a grounded and humble family. I think he's going to be a great addition to our team in a lot of different areas.

Who does he remind you of?

Watching him play in high school, he reminds me of a cross between monster (Bradley Jennings) and Allen Augustin. Monster was a big-time hitter and very instinctive. Jae is like that not quite as big as him. He is bigger than Allen. He's like the middle of those two size wise and movement wise. He's smart and instinctive.

Thaxton, who projects as a middle linebacker in college, had an excellent senior season by recording 150 tackles and four sacks. Over his four year high school career, he has recorded close to 600 career tackles. He's a three year starter for Hart County and a four year letterman. Thaxton is an excellent student and he's on track to fully qualify academically.

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