6'6 Juco OL Tonga late addition to 2008 class

Fall camp opens up Thursday as the team starts practices to prepare for the 2008 season. Today news broke that Florida State had added one more recruit to the 2008 class in offensive lineman Joe Tonga. NoleDigest caught up with the JUCO standout to talk about how he got to FSU and when he's expected to get started this week.

Joe Tonga has played his last years at Mt. San Antonio CC after first playing at Snow College in Utah. After starting his career there several years ago Tonga had been a prospect several colleges had their eye on. He had some academic issues he had to take care of, and once they cleared up Coach Trickett and Florida State jumped right on the situation.

"Florida State has been talking with me since February," said Tonga. "I was dealing with some eligibility problems where I didn't have enough time on my clock. I had a miscommunication with Snow where I never played but I registered for 11 units. I had to take care of some personal business with my family so I had to leave there. When I went to Mt. Sac I found out that playing there I had used up my eligibility. Coach Trickett helped me out and helped me petition to get 2 more years in college. I have one year for sure and the second one I have to work on some paperwork. I still have to meet up with compliance to figure all of that out. But when I found out I had at least a year I stayed true to Coach Trickett because he helped me out so much."

Joe says numerous schools had been in touch with him as some of the best programs on the west coast were showing interest in him. He says Coach Trickett being at FSU, combined with the chance to play at a high-profile program, made the Seminoles the easy choice.

"Coach Trickett was in contact with me through the recruiting process," explained Tonga. "Cal, FIU and Utah offered me and Kansas was looking at me. But Trickett was the guy who helped me. He is here and he can help me work on my game as a lineman. Plus, FSU is a big name and I am excited I have the opportunity to come here and play. FSU is a school I always like so I'm just ready to do it (get playing)."

Getting Tonga on campus is a major coup for the Noles as they're facing an offensive line that has little depth at the tackle position. Tonga told NoleDigest that he is coming in as a left tackle, and the 6'6" 300 pounder says he's coming to play.

"I have a strong work ethic and I am a hard worker," stated Tonga. "I am going to come in and give them my best. From talking to Coach Trickett I am coming in and playing left tackle. Camp starts this week so I am ready to come in and fight for that starting position."

If all goes to plan Joe plans on starting working with his teammates Wednesday. He says at the latest all of the necessary paperwork should be done when camp starts on Thursday. He's in Tallahassee right now, and he says he's enjoying the time he's been in town.

"Other than the humidity, which I think I'll get used to, I love here. It's a great town and it there's a great group of guys here," said Joe. I can't workout with my team yet so I have been running on my own. Today I took care of some paperwork so I am expected to be fully cleared Wednesday. I'm not anticipating any glitches so as of right now I have 1 year to play with a chance to have a full 2 years. I'm happy to be here and I can't wait to get going."


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