After being unable to play in the final nine games of his career due to a shoulder injury, former Florida State tackle Andrew Datko has been working diligently to be healthy enough to workout for NFL scouts.
Datko told Warchant.com last weekend in Boca Raton, Fla. that he would not need a second surgery on his injured shoulder, and that he will be able to participate in everything but the bench press at next month's NFL Combine.
Datko has been training with fellow tackle Zebrie Sanders at Pete Bommartio Performance Sytems in North Miami Beach, Fla. since the season ended.
"We started on the same day. Just from Datko's shoulder and my back, I thought it would be great because he comes with an advanced medical system," Sanders said. "He actually got us a lot better. Datko is feeling great. He's saying his shoulder is at 80 percent right now and I'm feeling as good as I was before the season started. Pete's really helped us out, he's only going to get us better."
During the final months of his college career many wondered if Datko would ever play football again because of the rash of injuries he has suffered during his time at FSU, but after a few weeks training with Bommartio he has been able to make tremendous strides.
"I know during the season he couldn't really lift his shoulder up but the day before I left he actually did some offensive line drills," Sanders said. "Some little punch drills, with me the last day before I left so he looks great."
Sanders vs. Coples
Throughout the week Sanders has had the task of blocking projected first-round draft pick and former North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples.
The two went against each two years ago when UNC defeated FSU 37-35.
"He was good (then), but he's a lot better now," Sanders said of Coples.
The respect the two players have for each other is definitely a mutual one, as Coples also paid Sanders compliments following the first practice.
"He's a great player," Coples said. "He's great young guy who's going to definitely have a great career and future as far as NFL-wise. He's going to just keep getting better."
The results have mixed for Sanders as he goes up against Coples, as well as the South's other talented defensive ends Melvin Ingram (South Carolina) and Courtney Upshas (Alabama).
"I saw (Sanders) hold his own on a couple of those (one-on-one drills)," NFL Network analyst Charles Davis said. "I saw him get beat on a few of them, but everybody got beat by those guys
It's absolutely almost unfair (to go against those defensive ends)."
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