Over the last two seasons, the Florida State Seminoles have been able to run the ball very well, in large part due to Devonta Freeman, James Wilder, and Chad Abram. Now, with the trio off to the NFL, FSU will need to find some key replacements in a hurry.
Replacing Chad Abram will be Freddie Stevenson, a highly rated former-linebacker turned fullback. Stevenson showed during the spring game (in which he was the feature back due to RB injuries), that he could bring Lonnie Pryor’s style back to the ‘Noles. It’s always dangerous for your fullback to be a gifted runner as well.
While Freeman and Wilder were very good players, neither one of them had superstar-like potential. Freeman was the natural runner of the two, and Wilder was the bruiser. The duo worked perfectly for the Seminoles over the last two years.
Karlos Williams figures to become the ‘Noles new feature back, giving Florida State something they haven’t had in a long time. He brings a combination of power and speed that is not often seen. In 91 carries last year, Williams had 730 yards and 11 TDs. This year he’s the first option and is expected to improve on those numbers, especially with the loss of key receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Kenny Shaw.
Williams isn’t the only option, though. There are four very talented backs waiting in the wings to prove themselves. Ryan Green is the only other back with playing experience, however, as Mario Pender, Dalvin Cook, and Jonathan Vickers have yet to carry a ball at the collegiate level. The talent is there with those three backs, but they just need to get the carries and experience.
Ryan Green accounted for 163 yards on 33 carries last season, giving us a glimpse during the Nevada game that he could be a very exciting player.
Many think that Mario Pender is a star-in-the-making, but he has yet to see the field in his first two years due to academic and injury issues.
Incoming freshman Dalvin Cook was Florida’s Mr. Football, and enrolled early to get a head start on his career. However, a freak accident caused him to miss spring camp.
Vickers is expected to redshirt, but the underrated prospect has plenty of talent to make an impact when he’s ready.