Dec. 28, 2010
TALLAHASSEE -- Florida State's most valuable player this season doesn't run, throw, catch or tackle.
Who has been the most consistent guy week after week? Without question, it's left guard Rodney Hudson.
"He's been unbelievable," quarterback Christian Ponder said. "And definitely the best player on the team."
It's difficult to quantify what Hudson has brought to the team, not just this year as a unanimous All-American pick, but the last four seasons (with 47 career starts).
But you can start with consistency, one of coach Jimbo Fisher's favorite words. Hudson has drawn just one penalty in 838 snaps. He graded out at 88 percent and has 44 knockdown blocks.
Before the ACC championship game, there was some discussion that Hudson could be the ACC's player of the year. Voters found it tough to ignore the talents of Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor, but Fisher said you can make a great argument for Hudson.
"I don't think there's any doubt, he's been as consistent a player as has been in this league in a long time," Fisher said. "What Rodney does, why he's so good, he truly loves football.
"This guy loves everything about ball. His work ethic and attitude are unbelievable, and he's such a joy to be around. I don't think he ever looks at practice as practice. I think he looks at it as fun, and he truly loves what he's doing."
Hudson loves what he does, but shies away from any attention. However, he was appreciative of the respect given by opposing coaches who named him to the American Football Coaches Association first team.
"You work hard all year and you'd like to see the results," Hudson said. "As a player and as a team, one of the most meaningful things is to have respect from your opponent."
Hudson hasn't just brought consistency to the line -- he's brought stability, too. Andrew Datko has missed three games with a shoulder injury, David Spurlock missed six games with a concussion and Bryan Stork missed three games with mononucleosis, FSU has had to juggle its line.
But there's Hudson reminding Zebrie Sanders what to do when he's shifted from right tackle to left tackle. And be the glue guy on the line, making sure the unit doesn't break down.
Even on the other side of the ball, FSU's defensive players know that battling with Hudson Monday through Thursday makes them that much better on Saturday.
"It's kind of like you're going up against the best," defensive tackle Everett Dawkins said. "You want to go up against the best in the games, and I get the ability to do it every practice.
"It's helped me out a lot, especially with my pass rushing and run blocking. He's good at both. It's just a privilege for me to be able to do it."
Hudson was given the royal treatment on Tuesday morning as the offensive linemen carried him and senior center Ryan McMahon off the field on their shoulders.
It was the last time the two would practice on FSU's fields, and their teammates wanted to do something special. McMahon seemed to enjoy the moment, but the quiet Hudson didn't like the attention and clearly wanted down.
"Just don't drop him and hurt him," Fisher said with a smile.