Florida State's Andrew Datko entered his senior season among the most highly touted offensive tackle prospects in the country.
Unfortunately, the Seminoles preseason All-ACC left tackle's 2011 season ended after just four games due to lingering shoulder issues. Datko pursued gaining another year of eligibility with a medical redshirt but was not among the list of several NFL-caliber players initially granted an extra season from the ACC.
According to editor-in-chief John Crist of NoleDigest.com, Datko has elected to end his pursut of a medical redshirt, has signed with agent Drew Rosenhaus and is preparing for the 2012 draft. He's currently rated as the No. 11 offensive tackle for the 2012 draft and the 118th rated prospect, overall by NFLDraftScout.com. Datko was one of two highly athletic tackles to star for the Seminoles over the past four seasons. While he started at left tackle, Zebrie Sanders was the Seminoles' right tackle. Sanders flipped over to the left side and played well once Datko's senior campaign finished early.
The 6-6, 321 pound Datko will obviously have to answer questions about the health of his shoulders but when 100% has proven himself to be a very effective blocker for the Seminoles. Big and athletic, Datko started 40 games for Florida State, all of them at left tackle. The shoulder injury limited his play in 2011 but Datko allowed just three combined sacks in his previous two seasons with the Seminoles despite facing an impressive array of pass rushers in the ACC. Of concern to scouts, however, is that the injury isn't new. As Datko explains in this video he was essentially playing with "just one shoulder" in 2010 and had expected to be fully healthy in 2011.
The opinion of team doctors will ultimately play a critical role in where (or if) Datko is selected in the 2012 draft.