FSU Football Kicks Off In 23 Days: Fullback Lonnie Pryor

Pryor skipping Miami.

This is the 35th in a series of articles counting down the days until Florida State football kicks off the 2012 season. There are 23 days until FSU football, and that's how many items are left on the list. That means no off days. Oh, and these are not in any specific order.

Opponent Previews
The Countdown
Wake Forest
PreSnapRead | Connelley
PreSnapRead | Connelley
PreSnapRead | Connelley
NC State
PreSnapRead | Connelley
Boston College
PreSnapRead | Connelley
PreSnapRead | Connelley
PreSnapRead | Connelley
Virginia Tech
PreSnapRead | Connelley
PreSnapRead | Connelley
PreSnapRead | Connelley
Camp Coverage
* Jimbo Fisher press conference
* Practice day 1
* Day 1 photo gallery
* Scholarship roster update
* Mario Pender out for year
* Practice days 2 & 3
57: Cason Beatty, Punter
56: Terrence Brooks, Safety
55: Dan Hicks, Tight Ends
54: Clint Trickett, Quarterback
53: Rashad Greene, Receiver
52: Austin Barron, Center
51: Everett Dawkins, Defensive Tackle
50: Tank Carradine, Defensive End
49: Devonta Freeman, Running Back
48: Christian Green, Receiver
47: Cameron Erving, Offensive Tackle
46: Chad Abram, Fullback &
Debrale Smiley, Fullback

45: Ronald Darby, Cornerback/Returner
Marvin Bracy, Receiver/Returner

44: Jarred Haggins, Receiver
43: Jacob Coker, Quarterback
42: Tre' Jackson, Guard
41: Mario Pender, Running Back
40: Giorgio Newberry, Defensive End
39: Tyler Hunter, Cornerback
38: Nick Moody, Linebacker
37: Anthony McCloud, Defensive Tackle
36: Bryan Stork, Offensive Line
35: Rodney Smith, Receiver
34: Xavier Rhodes, Cornerback
33: Jacobbi McDaniel, Defensive Tackle
32: Kevin Haplea, Tight End
31: Christian Jones, Linebacker
30: Bjoern Werner, Defensive End
29: Josue Matias, Guard
28: Terrance Smith, Linebacker
Nigel Terrell, Linebacker

27: Dustin Hopkins, Kicker
26: Brandon Jenkins, Defensive End
25: Nick O'Leary, Tight End
24: Demonte McAllister, Defensive Tackle
23: Lonnie Pryor, Fullback

Lonnie Pryor

6'0, 225 | Fullback | Senior

Bio (courtesy: media guide)

Ranked as the nation's 15th best running back according to Rivals.com and was a consensus four-star prospect...the Okeechobee High School standout was awarded Offensive Player of the Year honors by the Palm Beach Post and the Scripps Treasure Coast newspapers...rushed for 2,281 yards and 20 TDs as a senior...participated in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl...earned 4A All-State honors twice after piling up more than 4,000 rushing yards and 40 TDs over his final two seasons...chose FSU after entertaining 17 FBS offers, including Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Boston College and Wake Forest...born February 22, 1990

Pryor is one of the best people on the team. And this is a fun preview to write.

Entering last season, I said:

The ultimate team player, Pryor really does everything well. His blitz pickup is excellent. As a run blocker he excels in open space and holds his own inside. When Florida State hits a long run, you often see Pryor making a block at difficult angle to spring the runner. It is difficult to describe just how good Pryor is. Very few teams have such a dependable pass protector.

He is also a good runner when called upon to do so. Some believe that Pryor should be FSU's primary back, but the coaching staff believes his skillset is better suited for the role of an all-purpose back, here cast as the fullback. But when he gets his chance to carry the ball he does pretty well with it. And Fisher rewarded him in some prime spots, as the lifelong-Nole scored touchdowns against the 'Canes and Gators. He's also a difficult cover for linebackers and exhibits good hands. Most teams will not send their fullback on a wheel route, but FSU does just that with Pryor.

2011 was a bit of a disappointment for Pryor, however. He did not look as athletic as he had in the past. Much of this blame was placed on him bulking up. That might be true, but I also think Pryor was injured (lower body), regardless of what Florida State said officially. The injury wasn't enough to keep him off the field much, but it did limit his performance.

Entering 2012, the mantra is that Pryor has slimmed down some and will have more athleticism. I believe this, but I also think him being healthier should help a lot.

One change in 2012 that Tomahawk Nation's insiders have uncovered if that Pryor will be a much larger factor in the contingency plans at running back, should the back injuries to Chris Thompson and Devonta Freeman flare up, or if James Wilder Jr. still doesn't get it. In fact, we were told that Pryor would have played the meaningful snaps at running back before freshman Mario Pender (who will miss the year with groin surgery), because Pryor has a better understanding of the offense.

Pryor should still be a good blocker, both in the running and passing game. He does not have the great power of a traditional fullback, but he does a nice job of getting in position and using technique. And he has better range than the traditional hulking fullback. FSU doesn't need its fullback to pancake opposing defenders. It needs him to be in the way and cut off the defender. Pryor does that.

One theme for Florida State this season is to avoid sacks and negative plays. Pryor is a major asset in both of these areas. I shudder to think what Florida State's sack rate would have been if Pryor were not on the field, given that EJ Manuel holds the ball far too long as he takes a good bit of time to get through his reads (of course, Manuel does a lot of things very well).

Pryor is an important senior leader for Florida State. He does a lot of important, unheralded things for Florida State's offense. And he will be missed in 2013, more than anyone will write. Here's hoping he has another good year and catches the eye of a few NFL scouts. His game reminds me a good bit of Kevin Faulk, with whom Dolphin fans are surely familiar. His consistency, football IQ and versatility should merit a spot on an NFL roster.

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