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Seminoles eying nation’s top RB
When it comes to enjoying running back depth, not many teams around the country can match the level of talent and production enjoyed by Florida State in recent years.
Former Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher drew praise for his work with quarterbacks, but his backfields featured current NFL standouts such as Chris Thompson, Devonta Freeman and Dalvin Cook over the last few years.
Sophomore Cam Akers looks to continue the long line of touted rushers piling up accolades and stats in Tallahassee, but new coach Willie Taggart has an eye toward the future in determining who could take over that mantle from him.
The 2019 class features a bevy of standout backs who would fit the bill as potential stars in Taggart’s power running game attack.
Which players are high on the Seminoles’ wish list and where do they stand with their recruitment?
Let’s take a look as we break down Florida State’s running back board in the 2019 class.
Current best bet to land in FSU’s class: Trey Sanders , 5 stars
After Florida State signed Anthony Grant late in the 2018 cycle, the pressure to land an elite back somewhat diminishes. That said, if there’s one prospect who stands out among those who have earned offers from the Seminoles, it’s 5-star Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy running back Trey Sanders.
The 5-foot-11½, 216-pound Sunshine State standout committed to Alabama early in the process before reopening his recruitment in January. The Crimson Tide are still in the mix, as are Auburn, Florida, Georgia and Miami. The Gators and Hurricanes have gotten him on campus recently, but the Seminoles should have a decent shot assuming he makes it back to campus soon to meet with the new staff.
He’s not a lock by any means, and this recruitment likely will be a battle until he announces his decision. But the Seminoles have enough ties to be in the thick of his process until he reaches a conclusion.
The other thing working in Florida State’s favor is Taggart’s offensive scheme, which is one that has seen running backs such as Royce Freeman and Marlon Mack put up big numbers during the last few seasons.
Other options: Noah Cain , 5 stars; Quavaris Crouch , 5 stars; Sean Dollars , 4 stars
There are a slew of other options that the Seminoles are evaluating other than Sanders, beginning with his prep teammate at IMG Academy in 5-star running back Noah Cain.
An inch shorter and 7 pounds lighter than Sanders, Cain is a home run hitter out of the backfield who excels at creating explosive plays once he reaches the second level of the defense. LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Texas are among the early favorites in Cain’s recruitment.
Perhaps the most impressive back in the 2019 cycle from a physical standpoint is 5-star Charlotte (N.C.) Harding University running back Quavaris Crouch. At 6-2, 224 pounds, Crouch is a prototypical big back who can overpower defenders at the college level since he’s already built like a back who is in the NFL. Clemson appears to be the early favorite, but Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan and South Carolina also are in the mix.
The nation’s top all-purpose back in the 2019 cycle is 4-star Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei running back Sean Dollars. While it will be tough to pull him away from the Golden State, Taggart’s West Coast ties and his running back-friendly offense may be appealing enough to merit consideration from a talent such as Dollars. Oregon, USC and Washington are the early favorites.
Next who could receive an offer: Devyn Ford , 4 stars
Virginia has been kind to Florida State when it comes to recruiting. One of the state’s top offensive talents in the 2019 cycle is 4-star Stafford (Va.) North Stafford running back Devyn Ford. He rates as the nation’s No. 5 running back and the No. 70 player overall in the 2019 cycle, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
The 5-11, 185-pound Ford is one of the most-explosive backs in this cycle and has a knack for creating big plays as a runner or receiver. Clemson, Ohio State, Penn State and Virginia Tech are the main suitors of his 30 reported offers.
However, Ford’s skill set appears to be a match for what Taggart likes to do on offense with the running game.
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