We find only two (including prep school players) who made significant contributions from 1996 to the present.
The most successful was Walter Jones. He played only one season, in ’96, starting spring drills at guard but moved to tackle. Jones was an AP 2nd team All-American, who went on to play 12 years in the NFL, and was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection.
In 2006, massive OL Shannon Boatman (6-7, 309) arrived from Tyler Junior College, where he earned first-team JC All-American honors. Boatman was a regular on the OL -- not spectactular but a contributor -- in 2006-07. He then spent a few seasons with Toronto of the CFL.
Other JC or prep school phenoms we had high hopes for:
Milford Brown (2001), 6-4, 319, OT, Montgomery, AL - Regarded as one of the top junior college linemen in the nation. Played one year then NCAA ruled he was out of eligibility.
Zach Hillery (2007) 6-4, 315, OG, Chatham, VA - A Rivals Top 20 Prep School and three-star prospect. Failed to qualify academically.
Joe Tonga (2008) 6-6, 305, OL, Pomona, CA - Joined the team right before fall practice, and as far as we can tell never played a down for the Noles.
Jacob Fahrenkrug (2011), 6-4, 315, OG, Robbinsdale, MN - A Rivals 4-Star, widely considered the top offensive lineman in JUCO ball. Jacob didn't get it done at center in year one at FSU, though later contributed at guard.
But now Rick Trickett has a fresh opporunity to change the trend of JC OL that don't work out. He can do it by, among other things, transforming two raw but talented Europeans into dependable American football linemen that protect their QB and consistently open holes. In other words, this is the year Trickett truly earns the fame or takes the blame.