The Florida State running backs group will have a fresh look in 2018. With Cam Akers likely being the starter, the Noles are set to accomplish new feats in the backfield. Jacques Patrick turned down NFL money and is returning for his senor season. So which back is likely to play directly behind Akers or Patrick in 2018? New running backs coach Donte Pimpleton will showcase the Nole Nation which backs he wants to use in his scheme. Pimpleton played collegiate football with new head coach Willie Taggart. Fans are ecstatic to see the new regime in Tallahassee this season. There is uncertainty at a few positions for the Seminoles, but running back should not be one. Akers is the likely starter there. The question is who will back him up. Let’s go through each back on the roster and what their chances are of being the number two back.
Cam Akers: Sophomore
Akers burst himself onto the college football scene last season as a freshman. The first-year back put up great numbers, and now has his chance to be the Seminoles’ overall back. Going into 2018, Akers is preparing for that new role, and should succeed heavily getting a load of carries. New offensive coordinator Walt Bell will make sure that Akers gets his carries this season. If he can remain healthy, the Noles will be intact in terms of having their starting back ready to go come September. Many Noles fans expect the sophomore stud to be in contention for a Heisman Trophy in 2018. With Patrick coming back, Akers will have to prove that he deserves majority of the carries this season.
Jacques Patrick: Senior
Many Seminole fans were shocked that the muscular 235 lb back turned down NFL money to return for his senior season. Many thought with Willie Taggart coming in it would influence him to enter the Draft. With the Lethal Simplicity offense, it will be interesting to see how the downhill running back transitions. One has to remember though, is that Willie wants to go fast, so everyone has to be used.
Khalan Laborn: Talented Freshman
Laborn is a player that has a ton of upside to his game. His running style equips the freshman to be in definite contention for the backup spot and possibly the starting role. But don’t expect him to shy away from attempting to jump Akers for the top spot. The battle at running back for Laborn with Akers will be interesting to keep an eye on. The spring game on April 14 will tell a lot in terms of what Florida State truly has at the position. The freshman comes into Tallahassee with a lot of potential. But will he see valuable playing time with an already stacked position group? That is hard to tell at this point, but every back in this group will get their chances. Laborn could see some playing time this season, though.
Amir Rasul/Zaquandre White/Deonté Sheffield
These three guys are on the outside looking in, and the sad thing is they could start for most teams. The one thing to keep in mind (as mentioned above) Willie loves to go fast, which will cause a lot of depth to be used. Sheffield and White are both redshirt freshman, it will be interesting to see if they can be patient.
Patrick returning gives the Seminoles a boost at running back. Cam Akers will definitely get his fair share of carries, and could enter the first game of 2018 as the starter. Spring football just recently started, so it’s hard to tell which back has progressed the most to deserve the spot. Bell and Taggart will have a tough decision to make when filling out the depth chart. Fans should expect a revamped team all around this season. The Seminoles are attempting another College Football Playoff run in 2018. The talent is there, now it will be time to showcase that talent on the field.