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Friday, December 28, 2012
Sunseri can re-establish himself

By Corey Dowlar

Sal Sunseri's introduction to the Florida State football staff brings another veteran mind and successful recruiter into the fold.

Having coached for 28 years, Sunseri has made stops at Pittsburgh, Louisville, LSU, Michigan State, Alabama, Tennessee and the Carolina Panthers. He's overseen linebackers, defensive lines and special teams along the way resulting in a well-rounded foundation of defensive knowledge.

The players he's managed have went on to experience success on every level. At Alabama, he coached the linebackers that spearheaded one of the nation's top defenses and was named a finalist for the Broyles Award, which is given to the top assistant coach in the nation.

With the Panthers in the NFL, he coached Pro Bowlers Julius Peppers and Mike Rucker.

All of this gives him validity on the recruiting trail. Sunseri can say he knows what it takes to not only make it in professional football, but to go on to stardom. That provides a powerful recruiting pitch.

His personality helps, too.

Sunseri is an old-school type. He's intense and relentless and expects that from the players he coaches.

Most players enjoy that, especially when they see success.

That mentality helped Sunseri put together a list of recruits at Alabama in 2011 that included Trey DePriest, Quinton Dial, Chris Jones, Cyrus Kouandjio and Jeoffrey Pagan.

Sunseri did falter a bit in his stint as a defensive coordinator at Tennessee, but his coaching history prior to his one-year stint in Knoxville provides a better example of what can be expected.

Surrounded by a solid coaching staff, and with plenty of talent on the defensive side of the ball, Sunseri's results should be positive.

Of course, there are no guarantees. But if Sunseri is again in a position to thrive, his recruiting efforts should be able to return to high levels, too.