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Will Rodney Hudson Be FSU's First Outland Trophy Winner?

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Rodney Hudson celebrates a touchdown during a game against the Florida Gators.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Rodney Hudson celebrates a touchdown during a game against the Florida Gators. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Florida State's senior left guard Rodney Hudson could very well continue making history tonight by being the first Seminole player to ever win the prestigious Outland Trophy.

Hudson is one of the three finalist, along with Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi and Colorado offensive tackle Nate Solder, for the 65th Outland Trophy, which is awarded to the best interior lineman in college football by the Football Writers Association of America.  The winner will be announced tonight during "The Home Depot College Football Awards Show" from Walt Disney World, and will be hosted by Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard, from 7-9 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Hudson is virtually assured of being FSU's first consensus All-American since Alex Barron in 2004.  Rodney was also the recipient of the ACC 2010 Jacobs Blocking Trophy for the second straight year, and one of just 11 players in ACC history to be a two-time winner of the Jacobs Trophy, which is awarded annually to the player voted the most outstanding blocker in the ACC by a poll of the league’s head coaches and defensive coordinators. 

In addition, Hudson has cemented his place as the most decorated offensive lineman in ACC history by earning All-ACC honors for four consecutive seasons.  He was recently named first-team All-ACC for the third consecutive year, which is a first for an offensive lineman in league history, and was a second-team selection as a freshman in 2007. He joins former Seminole offensive tackle Brett Williams as the only other four-time selection among ACC linemen, though Williams was twice a second team selection.

The 6-foot-2, 285-pound senior from Mobile, Ala. boasts a season-long grade of 87 percent from his left guard position and leads the Seminoles with 44 knockdown blocks. Following the beat down of the Florida Gators, Hudson established a new league record by earning the ninth Offensive Lineman of the Week honor of his career and his third this season, after grading out at 91 percent with four knockdowns and was not penalized or had a missed assignment. No player in league history has ever been honored more than eight times at one position, despite Hudson playing all three positions on the offensive line, center, guard and tackle during his career. 

Hudson, who has made 46 career starts at guard, has been penalized only once in 772 snaps this year. He is also the only offensive lineman nominated for ACC Player of the Year by the ACC’s football coaches.

Recently, Hudson also learned that he has been selected to the 2010 AFCA All-American Team (American Football Coaches Association), which is selected exclusively by the coaches, and he was the only player from a Florida university listed on the 25-member squad.

"He's been unbelievable," senior quarterback Christian Ponder said. "The guy's been the best player on our team the last three years. He's just so dependable and makes very few mistakes, and always gets his guy. As an offensive lineman, your job is to get your guy and block him, and that's what he does. He really is a great football player."

FSU Head coach Jimbo Fisher has repeatedly stated that Hudson is one of the best linemen he's ever been around.

"Rodney Hudson is one of those guys who comes around only every so often. He's phenomenal. He's different because he's not the huge guy that mauls you. He's the quick guy that's athletic and got power and speed. The thing about Rodney is he loves football. ... He's as good a football player as we've got. As a college football player, he's phenomenal. He's a great college football player."

And while Hudson doesn't have prototypical NFL size, Fisher said he has no doubt that Rodney has a future at the next level.

"He'll be one of the guys that will play up there [NFL] for a long time," Fisher said, noting that Hudson could make the transition to center.

"Its' an honor, showing that hard work pays off," said the quiet Hudson. "You work hard all year and you'd like to see results. As a player and as a team, one of most meaningful things is to have respect from your opponent."

Hudson, who usually does not have much to say and does not like to draw attention to himself, could finally have the spotlight all to himself tonight if he wins the Outland Trophy, since he will be interviewed in front of a nationally televised audience.

The Outland Trophy, which has been awarded annually by the FWAA since 1946, is named after the late John Outland, an All-America lineman at Pennsylvania at the turn of the century. The Outland Trophy is the third-oldest award in major college football behind the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award.

ALSO OF INTEREST:   South Carolina sophomore Alshon Jeffery, who the Noles' defense will try to contain in the New Years Eve Chick-Fil-A bowl, is one of the finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, which will also be presented tonight to the nation's best wide receiver. The other 2 finalist are Ryan Broyles (Jr) from Oklahoma and Justin Blackmon (So) from Oklahoma State. 

The winners of the Lou Graza, Ray Guy, Maxwell, Davey O'Brien, Jim Thorpe, and Doak Walker Awards will also be announced tonight.