Jan. 17, 2011
By: Brandon Mellor, Seminoles.com
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Rodney Hudson wasn't a five-star prospect.
He didn't even generate four in a world of web-based recruiting analysis that ranks high school prospects on a scale of two to five stars. Instead he was labeled a three-star prospect as a senior in 2007 or, in other words, an average to above-average Division I-caliber football player.
Still good, of course. But it's the five-stars and oftentimes four-stars that excite fan bases and give those that follow football programs that much more hope entering a new season.
The thought process? Elite, highly ranked high school prospects win BCS National Championships. The better the prospect, the better the star ranking. And the better the star ranking, the more hype for that particular player.
It makes sense. Until you look at Hudson.
On the field, the now-former Florida State offensive lineman became a mainstay in the Seminoles' starting lineup over the course of the past four seasons. He culminated his storied career as a consensus All-American selection and without argument will go down as one of the greatest FSU players in school history.
Go ahead and call him the best offensive guard to ever don the garnet and gold.
Off the field, he worked hard in the classroom and was an ideal ambassador to the school. The only time he was ever in the news was when he was paving the way for another Florida State victory.
Not too bad for a three-star.
Rivals.com labeled Hudson the 16th-best center prospect in the nation and the 24th-best player in the state of Alabama. Scout.com had him as the 45th-best guard in all of high school football. Hudson wasn't offered a football scholarship by in-state powers Alabama and Auburn.
During his senior year, he was committed to West Virginia. Looking back, any FSU fan would agree it's a good thing that this particular three-star student-athlete switched and verbally committed to Florida State on Jan. 31, 2007.
And Hudson isn't the only one. Every major program in the country has a player or two (or three or four or five) that if the rankings were re-done would probably be pegged higher.
Look at Taiwan Easterling (Rivals.com three-star/Scout.com two-star), Andrew Datko (Rivals.com three-star/Scout.com three-star), Ty Jones (Rivals.com two-star/Scout.com two-star) and Xavier Rhodes (Rivals.com three-star/Scout.com three-star) as other current FSU players that would likely warrant an extra star or two in hindsight.
Now, this isn't saying that all two- and three-star prospects are destined for stardom like Hudson. It's not saying that all five-star prospects don't deserve their rankings; Greg Reid was a well justified five-star.
What it says is that recruiting rankings are an inexact science.
Nobody knows exactly how high school prospects will handle the rigors of practice and college classes. There was no way in knowing at the time that Hudson would one day deserve to have his locker sealed.
With National Signing day just over two weeks away, Florida State fans should be pumped up about all the four- and five-star guys that dot the 'Noles' current commitments for the 2011 class.
But don't forget about those three-stars.
There might be another Rodney Hudson or two in that bunch.
Leading up to National Signing Day, Seminoles.com will continue to provide feature stories like this one that look at how FSU recruiting was handled in years past, what the recruiting process was like for some of our current Seminole football players and what national signing day evolved into for fans, recruits and coaches. Our Seminoles.com staff will delve into these topics to give you a look back before we shift our focus to the next generation of Seminole football players.
That coverage will carry our fans right up to national signing day. On February 2, Seminoles.com will be the only place where fans will have access to the official word that a commitment is in and is binding with a National Letter of Intent (NLI). As soon as our compliance office certifies an NLI we will send out a Tweet using our official Twitter account (@Seminoles_com). We will let our fans know right away the name of the player who has officially joined the Seminole family.
Once the NLI is certified you can head over to Seminoles.com where All-Access members will be able to gain access to everything that will be going on all day long. If you are not a subscriber already, you can get a one-day All-Access pass for just $5.95 and get the same access of coverage our monthly and yearly subscribers enjoy daily.
The national signing day All-Access pass starts off with video highlights of every player who signs with the Seminoles. For the first time in school history we will also broadcast a live national signing day show that will be a part of the All-Access pass on Seminoles.com. The show will take a 60 minute look at the 2011 class, what holes the new players will be expected to fill and where this group of Seminole signees stacks up with past classes as FSU goes after the mythical national recruiting title. Keith Jones, Sun Sports' Emmy-award winning analyst for all Florida State University college football games, and Eric Luallen, a former Seminole football player and frequent contributor to Seminole football pre-game broadcasts, will breakdown the class during the live web broadcast, which will run from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Our national signing day coverage will wrap up with the Jimbo Fisher's National Signing Day "War Party". The party will feature all the Seminole assistant coaches who will give fans a top to bottom break down of every athlete signed for 2011. The party is open to fans but if you cannot be there we will have the event for you streamed live via Seminoles.com All-Access. All-Access members can watch the entire event live. If you are not a current All-Access subscriber, your one-time fee of just $5.95 will get you access to the biggest Seminole recruiting party in America as well.
When it comes to definitive information on Seminole recruiting, there is no source that can offer Florida State fans the timely and accurate information they are looking for like Seminoles.com can. Bookmark Seminoles.com today, follow us on Twitter (@Seminoles_com) and even check us out on Facebook (Florida State Seminoles) to stay in the loop with everything that is official when it comes to Florida State athletics.