Heading into January it seemed as though Zebrie Sanders was locked and loaded to go to the University of Florida. He delayed making the official announcement for a period of time, so when Ricky Barnum committed, the spot Sanders thought he had went by the wayside. Florida State had been on Zebrie for a while, so when all of that went down they turned up the heat. After meeting offensive line coach Rick Trickett and learning about the program, Sanders decided that the Noles were the best fit. Now that he'll be on campus in 3 weeks, he says he is ready to go.
"I'm ready to go and I am getting excited. I'll be there the 21st of June. My parents are excited for me too. They are driving me down so they can see where I'll be living and to see the campus. I've been telling them how great the campus is and how nice the facilities are, so they're anxious to get done there to see it."
Rick Trickett's ability to coach and develop his players was a big turn-on for Sanders. Getting the chance to work with Trickett, combined with the depth issues the Noles were facing, was too much for other schools to overcome. Since he signed Zebrie has been working hard in the weightroom as he is expecting to come in and play right away.
"Coach Trickett sent me the workout schedule, so I have been working really hard to come in ready to play. I lift three times a week and I have been running every day. On Tuesdays I do upper-body stuff. Coach Trickett told me that's what I needed to focus on and improve before I got there. On Thursday's I do the lower body and I've been responding well to that. I run everyday, but I am trying to stay where I am at with my weight. I am at 291 pounds now and that is where Coach Trickett wants me at."
Zebrie says that Coach Trickett has told him that he should come in ready to go. With the loss of Daron Rose, Sanders says the chance to play right away is even more present. While the talented tackle prospect knows he'll be a guy the coaches depend on, he says he's plans on earning his spot through hard work.
"Coach Trickett said that I will be coming in as the second string left tackle, and that if I work hard there is a chance to come in and earn a starting role. With Rose flunking out and the academic scandal a lot of us (the 2008 class) are going to have a shot play early. I'm coming in with the mindset that I'll be getting a lot of time to play. I was told the position is wide open and that there will be a lot of young guys competing and working for a starting spot. I plan on battling for it."
"I feel it is important that I come in and learn the offense as quickly as I can. By doing that and working hard I'm expecting that I'll be able to help the team out and that we'll have a good year."
The bond the 2008 recruiting class has built has been one of the reasons why fans of the Seminoles are excited about the future. Sanders says he speaks to a lot of his fellow classmates, saying he's built a good relationship with two in particular.
"I've been talking to E.J. Manuel and A.J. Alexander a lot. We're all excited and ready to come in and compete. E.J. is going to be my roommate so that'll be cool. Ever since the UnderArmour game we've stayed in constant contact and developed a really good relationship. He jokes with me that I'll be the guy who protects his blindside while we're at FSU."
Zebrie has set some goals for the fall. He wants to make a name for himself and hopes that he can earn the accolades Rodney Hudson saw his first year at FSU.
"My goals are that I want to start and make a name for myself. I want to come in and work hard and earn the same accolades that come with it. Having a year like Rodney Hudson did would be good. He set the bar high, so I'll have some work to do. I feel confident though that I will be able to make an impact. And of course, I hope to win at least one championship while I am there."
Zebrie is one of the players fans can expect to see play early. His frame, quickness of the ball, good feet and great athleticism provide an excellent set of tools for Trickett to work with. As a tackle prospect Sanders fits FSU's scheme perfectly. The signing of Sanders was huge for the Seminoles, and it looks like the coaches have found a player they can depend on for the next 4 years.
Other random facts on Sanders:
Zebrie not only is a talented football player, but is also a black belt in karate, a violinist and a former Eagle Scout.
Zebrie says he expects Trickett to stop by and see him before he gets to Tallahassee. He says Trickett will be in the area recruiting Sam Longo, and that Trickett is going to stop by before he heads back home.
Sanders hopes to wear #72 at FSU.