Haggins Previews the Defensive Tackles

Florida State has had some recent success with developing several defensive tackle prospects for the NFL. Some of the former Noles who are or who have shinned on Sunday's are Darnell Dockett, Corey Simon, Larry Smith and Travis Johnson. Broderick Bunkley is expected to join the elite club by being selected in the 1st round of the NFL draft in April. Can the Noles replace the All-American nose guard?

This past season Broderick Bunkley was the anchor and leader to a very stout defensive line. Many worry that there will be a drop off to the 2006 Seminole defensive front but Florida State defensive line coach Odell Haggins isn't concerned.

"We'll be ok," Haggins said. "We got Andre Fluellen who is set as our starter at defensive tackle and the next best player will start at nose guard. The next best two will back up respectively at tackle and at nose guard."

Haggins is very high on his junior defensive tackle Andre Fluellen.

"Andre played real well last year despite being hurt," he said. "He played four games with a cast on his hand. I'm very excited about him next season."

As a sophomore, Fluellen recorded 26 tackles, seven tackles for a loss and two and a half sacks.

Sophomore Aaron Jones hasn't made much of an impact in his early career as a Nole. Coach Haggins has been very impressed with former Orlando Edgewater standout's performance in off-season workouts.

"Aaron is finally starting to show me something until he recently pulled his hamstring," Haggins said. "The part that he's improving on the most is his work-ethic."

One player who could challenge for the starting nose guard spot is former JUCO fire plug Paul Griffin.

"Paul is plays extremely hard and he's strong," he said. "I expect him to get stronger. I love his motor."

As a sophomore, Griffin recorded 45 tackles, four sacks and three forced fumbles. As a freshman, he racked up 53 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and two sacks.

Haggins is very high on Kendrick Stewart who redshirted this past season. Size has held him back some.

"What I like about Kendrick is that he's a workaholic," he said. "Last fall, he weighed around 255 pounds. He's now 270 pounds of muscle."

Also, keep an eye on true sophomore Emmanuel Dunbar who showed flashes of promise this past season. As a true freshman he recorded seven tackles and two tackles for a loss in spot duty. As he gets stronger, expect him to get better.

Emmanuel Dunbar

Florida State is high on Letroy Guion but injuries slowed him as a freshman.

"Letroy has an ankle problem and he's not expected to practice this spring but he should be ready for the fall," Haggins said.

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