PPR: Running Back

Signing day is now in the rear view mirror and the next big event for Florida State football fans is the Spring game. NoleDigest takes a look at the running back position individually, as a unit, and a look to the future.

SENIORS

Chad Abram

6 carries for 25 yards. Abram has not logged a ton of snaps at fullback, he has been a starter on special teams for FSU. At 6'0, 235 he is a little bigger than Pryor, but not likely to be as prolific with the ball in his hands or in the passing game. No red-shirt for Abram means that it is now or never and the FB position is his entering the Spring.

DRAFT ELIGIBLE UNDERCLASSMEN

Devonta Freeman (Jr)

231-1239 (16 TD). Interesting numbers as after two years the number of carries is about what a feature back would have in a 12 game regular season (still slightly under). Freeman has added 25 catches. Right at 5.4-5.5 yards per carry. It is all about health for Freeman, if he is 100% he is as dependable as any back in the ACC. FSU should be entering the money years here.

James Wilder (Jr)

145-795 (12 TD). Wilder saw his role increase considerably in 2012 and he produced when his number was called. Should log even more snaps as the "FB" position and it is a way to get him on the field with Freeman (or Pender/Green). Wilder's hard running style and size can really wear down a defense and he showed he can find the end-zone. A strong Spring will likely see him in some type of feature back role.

YOUNG TALENT

Mario Pender (Fr)

An upper leg injury sidelined Pender for his freshmen season and he took a red-shirt. He is supposed to be 100% entering the Spring and his game-breaking ability will be in demand. Pender has the ability to emerge as a national back, but must fight for snaps in the Spring against a pair of players that have more experience.

Ryan Green (Fr)

Green will arrive over the summer and brings some of the same explosiveness to the table as Pender. He is even more likely to be used in the passing game and depending how Pender does, there may be opportunity waiting for him as a freshmen. Green will likely make an impact on special teams.

2013 OUTLOOK

Florida State has four strong running back candidates and two of them are proven. That is the bare minimum at that spot, but with no seniors it is perfectly acceptable. Wilder (size), Freeman (versatility, solid all around), Pender (speed), and Green (speed) each bring a little something different to the table.

We feel that all four are 1,000 yard type backs if they were featured and it is one of the most talented quartets in the country. Pender is the wildcard and he can bring a lot of value added to the equation.

The fullback position is light at least one body. Eric Beverly being shut-down has eliminated any depth and there is at least mild concern here. Abram is not very experienced as well.

The solutions would seem to come from Wilder sliding to "FB", Nick O'Leary lining up in the backfield (more HB), or perhaps a player like Christo Kourtzidis can get on the field in this capacity.

RECRUITING OUTLOOK

The number here will be at least three and FSU is off to a very strong start with Joseph Yearby and Kamryn Pettway. Yearby is a top 5 running back in America and Pettway is an ideal fit in FSUs offense at 'FB'.

Early commitments do not mean much, but if FSU can hold on to those two, they are really in position to take 'anyone they want' for the third spot...........and it is a tremendous year.

FSU should be able to land three backs and there is a reasonable chance of landing a third piece of HHF.

Player that got away: Gus Edwards. FSU led until the final weekend when the New York product visited Miami and ended up signing with the Hurricane's. His big body would have lessened the concern considerably at the FB spot for 2013.


Nole Digest Top Stories