ORLANDO, Fla. - When Florida State and Auburn play for the BCS national championship on Monday, more than a dozen players from central Florida will be in uniform.
Channel 9's Joe Kepner is in southern California where the Seminoles are holding their
second-to-last practice of the season.
Kenny Shaw, who played for Dr. Phillips High School, is one of the big reasons FSU is in the national championship game, but when he first got to FSU, it wasn't clear he would ever get to play on this stage.
Shaw is one of 14 players on FSU's roster with ties to central Florida. Now in his senior season, Shaw is hoping to close it out with a win on college football's grandest stage.
"In high school, I haven't got a state championship," said Shaw. "I was always one round, getting eliminated. So I haven't got no state title, I ain't got no championships other than probably 2K championships with the boys."
Early in Shaw's career though, the Seminoles had a reputation of coming up short in big games and just three games into his sophomore season, Shaw was knocked unconscious and carried off the field on a stretcher. He said those setbacks only make this season that much sweeter.
"Obviously, this game means a lot to me because it's my last year," said Shaw. "It's the best time to get it in my last year, my senior year."
Christian Jones is another FSU player who calls central Florida home. The linebacker from Winter Park started 11 games this season and like Shaw, is in his senior season, hoping to give FSU fans their first BCS title since 1999.
"We understand, and we know what it takes to have to push through and to finish strong," he said. "Even if we get down, I don't think the leadership on the team is going to let us stay down."
Auburn has three players from central Florida on their roster as well, but all three are freshmen and probably won't see much playing time on Monday.