Block Party

Florida State freshmen linebacker <b>Jae Thaxton</b> is making the most of his opportunities on special teams this season, recording two blocked punts already. His play has come as a bit of a surprise to him, since he had never blocked a single punt in his high-school career. Coach Bobby Bowden is impressed with what Thaxton has been able to do, and hopes his play will continue through the rest of the season.

Freshmen Jae Thaxton didn't grow up a as fan of any particular college team. So when it came time for him to choose from a list of interested schools, his decision was based mostly on where he felt that he fit in the best - that school was Florida State.

As Thaxton might have expected, it hasn't taken long for him to find his place within the team. Four games into the 2004 season, Thaxton has made his mark on special team, picking up a pair of blocked punts (UAB and UNC).

"There's no secret any further than a good game plan. I've been getting the right calls at the right time and just going out there and executing. Both of them came together and I was in the right spot," Thaxton said.

It is the first time a Seminole has blocked multiple punts in a season since Tommy Polley blocked two during the 1999 season (Florida and Virginia Tech). Thaxton is also the only the active Seminole to have more than one blocked punt in his career. There are four other players that each have one.

If Thaxton can record two more blocks by the end of the season he'll tie the school record (4) held by Joe Wessel in 1984. Before coming to FSU, Thaxton may have never expected to be gunning for that mark. In high school, he never blocked a single punt.

"I wasn't expecting it, but I'll take it," Thaxton said.

His play on special teams this season has impressed coach Bobby Bowden, who expects great things in the future from Thaxton.

"It has been a very pleasant surprise what he has done for our team this year," Bowden said. "A lot of times if you have a great athlete who is a great specialist you'll try to use them if you can, and it usually goes on through their career."

In addition to his work on special teams, Thaxton has gotten some game-time experience playing with the defense, which he enjoys so much he simply says, "I love it." Thaxton has recorded eight tackles, with a high of three assisted tackles against North Carolina this past Saturday.

He says that he's picking up as much of the system as he can from Buster Davis and Sam McGrew, who have both helped Thaxton since he came to Tallahassee this summer.

"They got me started, Buster (Davis) and Sam (McGrew). This summer when the coaches can't have much contact with you, they came out here and taught me the base defenses. The taught me a good bit, and started me off on a good foot," Thaxton said.

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