It's been called âThe World's Toughest Job Interview.â For six days at the NFL Combine (Feb. 24-March 2), college football's best will be measured, interviewed, tested, watched and analyzed by countless NFL coaches, general managers and scouts conducting all of their due diligence before the NFL Draft. To prepare, nearly two dozen prospects have traveled to IMG Academy for six-plus weeks of Physical, Mental, Communication, Nutrition, Vision and psycological training with Athletic & Personal Development program specialists and on-field training with some of the game's top football coaches.
Name an offensive lineman award or accolade, and Florida State's Rodney Hudson has likely earned it. Unanimous All-American. FSU Offensive MVP. Three-time first-team All-ACC. Outland Trophy finalist. Two-time Jacobs Blocking Trophy winner for top blocker in the ACC. The 6-2, 282-pound lineman recently shared his thoughts on his toughest opponent, beating Florida, proving the doubters wrong and working at KFC.
Rodney Hudson on...
...the toughest opponent to block: (Former Boston College and current Green Bay Packers defensive lineman) B.J. Raji. Most people thinkg big guys are slow, but he was big, athletic and could run. That's why he's doing so well in the NFL right now.
...the biggest trash-talker: It's actually two teams -- Miami and Florida, of course. No matter the record or what the score is, there's going to be trash talking. From the kickoff to the coin toss until the game ends, there's talking. The best memory of my career is beating Florida this year. Not only how we did it, but the fan support we got and the energy in the stadium. I'll remember that game forever.
...his slew of awards: Linemen don't get much glory, so it feels good to have hard work pay off. The awards can't be done without my teammates, though. Take the blocking trophy. If I don't have help from the other linemen and a running back that can get yards, nobody is going to look at us. They look like individual awards, but they're all team awards. In this world, you can't do everything by yourself.
...if he should have been nominated for the Heisman: I never thought about it. Linemen, especially offensive linemen, don't usually get that kind of opportunity. People ask me all of the time, âHow do you block all game?â I enjoy it. You've got to take pride in what you do. Coming out the first play and having the running back break one for 80 yards, I love that.
...overcoming Hurricane Katrina: I live right by the coast (in Mobile, Alabama) and the house flooded. We had to move everything out and leave for eight or nine months. That's when I got a job at KFC just to help out a little bit. I knew I couldn't do it all, but I worked probably six days a week.I was cooking chicken all night. It got so bad I could smell it all the time. I was just trying to help my mom, because it was just her and I after my brother went off to college.
I've worked at an insurance company, too, so I've experienced the blue collar and white collar sides. I've learned how to do things the right way and how to deal with long hours. At one point before college, I was going to school, going to work, then working out with a trainer.
...his lack of recognition out of high school: I didn't go to a lot of camps and stuff, not that it completely makes a player, but I'm not sure why I wasn't rated very high. As an athlete, you are always trying to prove yourself. I was getting recruited a lot for defense. As a freshman at Florida State, I didn't have many expectations. I just wanted to come in, work hard and be coachable.
When NFL scouts say I'm not big enough, it doesn't bother me. It's just another opportunity to prove what I can do. I've gained some weight since I've been at IMG, which should help me. When people say I can't do something, it just creates a challenge for me.
...all-around training at IMG: It's been incredible. Vision training has definitely helped. You can tell that it's working, because you can actually feel your eyes getting tired. The communication and improv with game on really helps me communicate, especially in an environment like this when you're grouped with a bunch of guys who you don't know. The first time I did it was my junior year at a bowl game. Steve Shenbaum was a guest speaker and called me in front of a room of like 300 people to do an improv exercise. I never would have done that in the past.