TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — There have been few positives in Florida State’s 1-3 start to the 2017 season, but the play of a pair true freshmen on offense has coach Jimbo Fisher excited about the group’s potential moving forward.
Quarterback James Blackman has earned praise for the poise he’s shown in guiding the team after stepping in for starter Deondre Francois — who was lost for the season with a torn patellar tendon in his left knee in the team’s 24-7 season-opening loss to Alabama.
And in the Seminoles’ heartbreaking 24-20 loss to Miami last Saturday, another true freshman announced his presence in a huge way: former 5-star prospect Cam Akers.
The Clinton, Miss., native rushed 20 times for 121 yards against the Hurricanes and was a critical part in the Seminoles putting up 17 points in the fourth quarter after struggling for the first three.
Despite the loss – freshman RB Cam Akers looked great running the ball for Florida State. pic.twitter.com/DwD1oCvbkN
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) October 8, 2017
In the last two games, Akers has teamed up with junior Jacques Patrick to form a strong tandem that has combined to rush for 390 combined yards.
During media availability on Monday, Fisher said Akers’ performance Saturday is just the latest example that the 5-foot-11, 213-pound freshman is continuing to learn and make the adjustment to the college level.
“I don’t know if he’s turned the corner, but what we’ve talked to him about is like I said last week, not every run is — and this is a huge improvement from last week — not every run is a touchdown. It’s [about] learning to take a 4-yard run, 5-yard run, 6-yard run,” Fisher said.
Indeed, Akers’ workload and productivity have increased each game this season.
HIT. STICK. CAM. pic.twitter.com/4MLLclpzKV
— FSU Football (@FSUFootball) October 7, 2017
Though Akers is yet to find the end zone this season, Fisher is confident it’s simply a matter of time.
“All of a sudden, with your size and speed, you will start breaking those runs, which he did running north and south,” Fisher said. “It’s not that he doesn’t like running between the tackles. He’s used to being able to bounce around guys and outrun guys and make plays. At this level, there’s good players [on defense]. He’s learning to run behind his pads and [keeping] a low level with power.”
One player who wasn’t surprised to see Akers find success is junior tight end Ryan Izzo.
Akers has made a habit of making big plays in practice since he stepped foot on campus in January, Izzo said. In fact, Izzo noted that Akers’ performance on Saturday brought back memories of his All-American predecessor.
“From the spring until [fall] practice, I’ve always seen Cam excel,” Izzo said. “Cam is a really special player. He reminds me a lot of Dalvin [Cook]. So, being able to see him do that in a game, I was really happy for him.”
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