Position breakdowns and battles: RB

During the off-season heading into summer workouts and beyond, NoleDigest is looking at every position analyzing possible battles and how each player is looking.

The leader: Jermaine Thomas, SO

Last season: 69 carries for 492 yards; 7.0 YPC.

The good:Thomas, a former three-star running back is Florida State's best natural ball carrier on the roster. He has a unique mix of vision and quickness and shows ability to break into the open field with ease at times. When he gets the ball in his hands, a natural instinct takes over and he is good for at least five yards every time he touches the ball. He also has the ability to run decent routes when he makes the right reads out of the backfield and makes plays in the passing game as well.

The bad: When Thomas doesn't have the ball in his hands, he looks lost. During spring practice, Thomas drew criticisms from both Coach Fisher and Coach Carter on his lack of ability to make proper reads on blitzes or block any defenders at all. Although he can be a force in the passing game, at times he does not make the right reads there either and runs wrong routes causing chaos in the flats.

The Contenders:

Carlton Jones, SO: Jones is very similar to Thomas when it comes to being very effective when running the ball, but lost without it. He is more of a powerful running back, but also has speed which allows him to either run by the defender or run them over. One problem that Jones started to show when receiving significant carries this spring was a tendency to fumble the ball. During numerous scrimmages and in the spring game, Jones put the ball on the ground. Until he learns to hang on to the rock, he will have a tough time finding the field.

Tavares Pressley, RS JR: Pressley tore his ACL during fall camp last season and has yet to have a chance to really make an impression on Seminole Nation. He is best described as a combination of Thomas and Jones with his size and running style. He too however, showed signs of not being able to hold on to the ball in early scrimmages during fall camp last season. He is the better blocker of the group and if he can catch on to the schemes, could earn serious playing time based on that alone.

Marcus Sims, SR: Sims plays more fullback than anything but also gets in at half back in short yardage situations when only a yard or two needs to be picked up. He is a straight power back and has shown flashes of becoming a good running back, but like Pressley and Jones, Sims also has had trouble holding on to the football at times which can make him a liability.

Freshmen that will compete for carries: Lonnie Pryor and Chris Thompson will both see the field in a variety of ways this season, but neither should be an immediate threat to take over the bulk of the carries just yet. Both are electric backs that are very dangerous in the open field and Jimbo Fisher will find ways to get them the ball.

Verdict: This is a VERY talented group, but they have a lot to prove. As of right now, it looks like the starting job is Thomas' to lose, but expect him, Pressley and Jones to all share a good amount of carries, and whoever proves the most productive in game situations will eventually take the bulk.

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