Florida State looks to rebound from back to back 7-6 seasons this year as they continue the upward swing under the new coaching staff. A key position for the Seminoles this year is offensive line, as coaches and fans are expecting an improvement from years past. NoleDigest introduces the players who we'll see play in 2008, talking about why they came to FSU and a scouting report on what we'll see from them this year.
Name: Rodney Hudson
Why he chose Florida State: Hudson committed to Coach Trickett when he was at West Virginia. After the legendary offensive line coach took the job at FSU, Hudson came in for a visit before Signing Day 2007. The bond with Coach Trickett, along with the feel of FSU, made Rodney switch his commitment in the end.
Scouting Report: Hudson is the best lineman arguably since Walter Jones at FSU, and he is one of the top guards in the nation. His versatility allows him to play all of the positions on the line, but guard is again where he'll anchor the line. Hudson has All-American potential as a sophomore.
Name: Ryan McMahon
Why he chose Florida State: McMahon came to FSU as a defensive lineman, and at the time he looked at the playing time at the position, as well as he relationship with Coach Haggins, as the factors that made FSU the choice. McMahon was a standout lineman in high school, so when Trickett saw him buried on the defensive lineman depth chart he plucked him from that side of the ball.
Scouting Report: Like Hudson, McMahon had a fantastic freshman season. This year he's one of the top centers in the ACC and is on the preseason Remington Watch List. He too is an anchor for the line and is a potential All-American.
Name: Joe Tonga
Why he chose Florida State: Tonga had been talking with Coach Trickett and FSU for some time after Singing Day 2008. After some attrition over the summer Trickett helped Tonga fight the NCAA on a ruling that made him ineligible. When the NCAA chose in his favor, Joe stayed loyal to Trickett and became a Nole.
Scouting Report: Tonga struggled early on but he came on late in camp and is expected to be the starting left tackle. Tonga is big, strong and aggressive. He needs to continue to work on his run blocking, but he's an excellent pass blocker due to his JUCO running a spread passing attack.
Name: Will Furlong
Why he chose Florida State: Furlong came on an unofficial visit in the summer of 2006, enjoyed himself, and then committed. He liked the coaches on the staff at the time and relished the opportunity to play for Coach Bowden.
Scouting Report: Furlong redshirted last year to get bigger and stronger, and he also took the year to help heal an old back injury. Furlong came a long extremely well over the spring and summer and now is entrenched as the starting right guard. There is a lot of excitement about Furlong as he has a lot of potential. He is versatile to slide over to tackle if needed.
Name: Zebrie Sanders
Why he chose Florida State: Sanders' recruitment was a crazy ride towards the end. He was all set to commit to FSU's archrival Florida Gators. They took another recruit, leaving Sanders as the odd man out. Coach Trickett jumped right on, and after a temporary halt in interest, Sanders wanted to play for who he called "the best in the nation". When he committed he said Trickett was the reason why and that in order for him to be the best he needed to play for the best.
Scouting Report: Coming in some people close to program questioned Sanders' toughness, leaving many to wonder if he would fit into Trickett's scheme. He has done very well, earning the starting right tackle spot. Sanders is a big guy who moves very well for his size. He's been able to adapt to Trickett and his style and looks like he'll be a 4 year contributor to the Noles. He must continue to get stronger as the season progresses.
Name: Antwane Greenlee
Nickname: Big Rick
Why he chose Florida State: Greenlee switched his commitment from FSU to Georgia, then back to FSU after Coach Trickett came aboard. The opportunity to work with him and a chance to play early led to Greenlee ultimately choosing the Seminoles on Signing Day.
Scouting Report: This is Greenlee's second year in the system, but he has to be looked at as a freshman because he missed last year with the neck injury. He's battled back and had the starting tackle spot in hand. Even though he just missed the opening game nod as the starter he'll see major minutes this fall and could still end up being a starter this year. He must stay healthy this year as the tackle depth for the Noles is very short.
Name: Brandon Davis
Why he chose Florida State: Davis committed to the previous staff as he felt that FSU was the right place for him overall.
Scouting Report: Davis has gotten a lot of praise from Coach Trickett. He says that Davis has responded maybe the best overall under the new staff and has surprised him with his play over the spring and fall. After he comes back from the suspension look for him to be a major part of the rotation at guard, and look for him to fight for a starting spot with Will Furlong throughout the season.
Name: A.J. Ganguzza
Why he chose Florida State: Ganguzza was a fan of FSU and wanted an offer from them. At first it looked like a numbers game would keep him from getting a scholarship, therefore he committed to FIU. When former recruiting coordinator John Lilly let him know there was a scholarship available, he jumped right on it.
Scouting Report: A.J. is another young lineman the Noles will be depending on for depth this year. He is McMahon's primary back-up at center, but he is also capable of playing guard if needed. Ganguzza may not see a lot of time as on long as McMahon stays healthy, but he will see time in the fall to give the starters a rest or when the Noles have a solid lead.
Name: David Spurlock
Why he chose Florida State: Spurlock liked the coaches, the weather and the fellow recruits FSU had coming in. What sealed the deal, though, was the immediate playing time available and the chance to work with Coach Trickett.
Scouting Report: Spurlock was considered one of the top linemen in Tennessee last year, but he wasn't highly recruited. He is "a Trickett type" and will see major minutes as a freshman. He too can press for a starting spot at guard as his combination of size, speed and footwork makes him an option to play this year even though he is just a true freshman. Some people feel that he can make an impact like Hudson and McMahon did as freshmen.
Name: Andrew Datko
Why he chose Florida State: Datko was a Seminole lean for a long time. He had ties to the school as his sister went there. The chance to play early and play for Coach Trickett made FSU the easy choice for Andrew.
Scouting Report: Datko has the technique and size to play early. He has battled throughout fall camp to try to earn a starting spot. He's second team left tackle and will see time this year. The one thing that he needs to work on is getting stronger. Datko is a tackle of the future for FSU.
Name: Rhonne Sanderson
Why he chose Florida State: Sanderson grew up a fan of FSU and wanted to go there from day 1. The Noles got involved late in the process, but once the call was made to Rhonne he knew where he wanted to go. He felt that Coach Trickett was the best guy who could get him to the next level and get him to where he wanted to be as a player.
Scouting Report: Sanderson was originally scheduled to greyshirt, but due to injuries and attrition he is now 2nd team guard heading into the first 3 games of the season. When Brandon Davis comes back from suspension Sanderson's role will be lessened, but he will be part of the rotation in 2008.