Florida State announced that it will begin its spring practice on Monday, March 6th. On Wednesday morning, we at FifthQuarter released our quarterback spring practice preview for the Seminoles. We continue the position previews by highlighting the running back room today.
RUNNING GAME HAS ALWAYS BEEN A STRENGTH FOR MIKE NORVELL
The Florida State Seminoles found their identity on offense in 2022, which was running the football effectively. Head coach Mike Norvell has always had a long-standing history of developing running backs in his offensive systems such as Darrell Henderson Jr. (3063 yards and 31 touchdowns combined in 2017 and 2018), Patrick Taylor (1988 yards and 29 touchdowns combined in 2017 and 2018), Kenneth Gainwell (1459 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2019), and Jashaun Corbin (887 yards and 7 touchdowns in 7 touchdowns).
HERE COMES TREY
During the 2022 offseason, the Seminoles wanted to add another running back transfer to its rotation. As a result, they elected to acquire Oregon running back transfer Trey Benson which resulted in skepticism. Benson suffered a severe knee injury in December 2020 where he tore his ACL, MCL, lateral meniscus, medial meniscus, and hamstring. The Oregon transfer worked his way back from injury to participate in a small portion of the 2021 season where he had six carries for 22 yards and one touchdown. While Benson was a talented back with an intriguing frame at 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, fans were very hesitant about the move considering how everything worked out with former quarterback transfer McKenzie Milton, who was acquired after he suffered a severe lower-body injury and did not make much of an impact for the Seminoles.
Then came the 2022 season…
Benson immediately started to prove the doubters wrong with his ability to break tackles in the season-opening victory over the Duquesne Dukes where he had 11 carries for 105 yards and one touchdown. The Greenville, Mississippi native had 278 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns going into the North Carolina State contest. His opportunities were not to their full potential given that he was splitting carries with Treshaun Ward, who had 488 yards through six games. Unfortunately, Ward suffered a shoulder injury against North Carolina State. That’s when Benson made the most of his opportunities.
In his final seven games of the 2022 season, Benson had 687 yards and 6 touchdowns. He made it known that he was ready to shoulder the load of being a lead back. Treshaun Ward came back from his shoulder injury against the Syracuse Orange, but he could never regain the production that he had before the injury. He had 140 yards and 4 touchdowns combined in the final four games of the 2022 season. In January, the former walk-on announced that he would be transferring to Kansas State
WHERE WILL THE PRODUCTION COME FROM NOW?
With Ward transferring to Kansas State, the Seminoles now have to replace 95 carries for 628 yards and 7 touchdowns that will be missing from the talented back. Who will the Seminoles rely on in their running back rotation? Will Lawrance Toafili take a step forward? Can Rodney Hill develop into something special? What about walk-ons CJ Campbell Jr. or Caziah Holmes? Will true freshman Sam Singleton Jr. surprise individuals?
RUNNING BACK ROTATION
Here is a look at the running back position group for the Seminoles:
-Trey Benson, RS Jr
-Lawrance Toafili, RS Jr
-Caziah Holmes, RS Jr
-CJ Campbell Jr, RS Soph
-Rodney Hill, RS Fr
-Sam Singleton Jr, Fr