Hunkering Down

Hunkering Down

Florida State's freshman class is drawing rave reviews for its work ethic during the team's summer conditioning drills. One player who is trying to make the most of his time is linebacker <b>Jae Thaxton.</b> Thaxton, a Hartwell, Ga., native who had more than 450 tackles during his four-year varstiy career, wants to be prepared for the start of two-a-days next month.

Jae Thaxton had already been timed in the 40-yard dash during Florida State's performance testing earlier this week.

Thaxton, however, remained behind at Mike Long Track to watch his teammates.

"This feels like a big group of brothers. Everyone is so close and pushing each other to be better," Thaxton said.

The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Thaxton is one of the more physically impressive newcomers. He clocked a solid 4.68 40 and has done well during conditioning drills.

Thaxton also has been concentrating on learning the team's defensive schemes in preparation for the start of two-a-days next month. Thaxton is also focusing on the Seminoles' season opener at Miami.

"So far I feel pretty good," Thaxton said.

"I am trying to learn the defense best I can. Hopefully, if I can get some playing time against Miami I won't get in there and screw up. You know make the common freshman mistakes in not knowing what's going on when you are put in the fire. I am trying not to let that happen."

Thaxton also has not been surprised by the team's intenstiy and talent levels.

"I am impressed but I am not surprised. This is Florida State," Thaxton said.

"So far I haven't encountered any big hurdles. Not yet. You better come back in January and I probably can answer that better (smiling). Right now I am just concentrating on trying to get better and to be ready."

Thaxton was often compared to former FSU All-American Bradley "Monster" Jennings by coach Jody Allen during his recruitment.

He tallied 150 tackles and four sacks in his senior season. The Hartwell, Ga. native played varsity all four years, racking up over 450 tackles in his high school career.

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