Focus 2005

The Florida State Seminoles landed three of the top linebackers in the country in February in <b>Rodney Gallon, Jae Thaxton</b> and <b>Lawrence Timmons.</b> FSU linebackers coach <b>Kevin Steele</b> identified diversity as a need during the recruiting process, concentrating on players who featured plenty of speed on the edges. Well, the Seminoles are once again looking for quality linebackers, and one of the nation's best is <b>Brian Cushing.</b>

Florida State must replace its three starting linebackers from last season in Michael Boulware, Kendyll Pope and Allen Augustin.

While undersized, the trio featured plenty of moxy and talent.

Still, the Seminoles could be stronger and more talented at linebacker this season. Returning vets Sam McGrew, A.J. Nicholson, Buster Davis, Marcello Church and Ray Piquion give linebackers coach Kevin Steele a quality core.

And let's not forget Ernie Sims, a solid combination of strength and speed.

During last year's recruiting process, Steele wanted to focus on diversity. He looked for linebackers who boasted speed and athletic talent, a combo that gave the Seminoles needed flexibility on the edges.

Steele landed three of the country's top linebackers in Rodney Gallon of nearby Tallahassee Lincoln and Jae Thaxton and Lawrence Timmons.

Timmons, a Parade All-American from South Carolina, selected the Seminoles over Florida, Tennessee and others.

The Seminoles also landed a fourth linebacker in Barry Wright,who played just one season at Coffeyville (Kan.) Junior College.

While time will determine if any of the new linebackers will be ready to contribute this season, Steele continues to focus on his position during this year's recruting process.

And one of the country's finest is Brian Cushing, from Oradell (New Jersey) Bergen Catholic. Both Florida State and Miami recently offered Cushing, pushing his scholarship total to 26.

"I got two big ones just recently," Cushing told The Insiders.

"Miami and Florida State both offered. Florida State actually came by the school and offered me on the spot. Then my coach called me in the other day and said that Miami's linebackers coach, Hargreaves, called to offer me a scholarship."

Cushing, a 6-foot-3, 225-pounder, plans on attending camps at Boston College and Ohio State this summer. He said he's still wide open with his college choices.

Cushing, however, was pleased to receive an offer from the Seminoles.

"They love how I play and say I'd fit in great down there at safety or outside linebacker," he said recently. "This is awesome. It means a lot."

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