Florida State football kicks off on Labor Day at Pitt. Tomahawk Nation previews the season up until that date by analyzing every key player and issue facing the 2013 Seminoles.
#24 Ryan Green | FR | Running Back | 5'10 188
PERSONAL: Starred at St. Petersburg Catholic , where he played a variety of positions but primarily flourished at running back...many scouting services have Green rated as an "athlete" or all-purpose back...participated in the Under Armour All-American Bowl after missing much of his senior season with a shoulder injury...rushed for 1,069 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior for St. Pete Catholic, where he also added 11 receptions for 143 yards and a score...also recorded 57 tackles and a pair of interceptions on defense...holds 4-star rankings from ESPN, PrepStar, Rivals, 247 and Scout sites...exceptionally fast and quick, with outstanding vision, Green has been timed consistently in the 4.4 range for 40 yards...committed to the Seminoles in June of 2012...ranked among top 50 players overall nationally...prized recruit who claimed offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC among others.
When football fans and commentators refer to big plays, the conversation revolves around the passing game. Not much causes more excitement in the stands than a 50+ yard touchdown pass. Doak Campbell Stadium has seen its share of these, from Clint Trickett's 58 yard lob to Rashad Greene against Oklahoma to Chris Weinke's beautiful 98 yard fake to Snoop Minnis against Clemson. Home run plays are one of the most exciting parts about college football.
The 2012 Florida State offense was able to hit home runs. But they did it in a different way - on the ground. Senior running back Chris Thompson was a home run threat for the offense, taking stretch run plays to the house on multiple occasions. Thompson's importance to the 2012 offense was underscored by the step back it took after his unfortunate season-ending ACL injury against Miami. The offense wasn't able to generate enough big plays in the air, and the absence of big run plays slowed down the attack in the final six games of the year.
While James Wilder, Jr. and Devonta Freeman are very good running backs, neither are home run threats. Both have good speed, are agile, and run with power, but don't have the next level speed or foot quickness of Thompson. The video below illustrates Thompson's ability to jump cut and go - to make a quick lateral cut upfield and be at speed quickly.
With a freshman QB, Florida State can benefit from having a run game that has a home run threat like Thompson.
True freshman Ryan Green can fill that role. Green came to FSU as the top all purpose back according to 247Sports, the #3 RB by ESPN and Rivals, and a consensus top 50 player nationally in the class of 2012. All this despite missing most of his senior season with a torn labrum.
Ryan Green has home run threat ability. In the clips below, Green shows in his high school highlight tape that he has a Thompson-like ability to turn upfield and be at speed quickly. He shows good lateral agility, cutting, and burst in the following clips:
The defenders Green runs away from are from relatively weak Florida high school competition, and Thompson's clips are against Clemson, a BCS program, albeit with a relatively weak defense. But they illustrate the common attributes - lateral quickness, burst, and speed. Green has all of these. It is unlikely he'll be able to harness it and use it consistently as Thompson did in 2012, but Green does have the potential to be a threat in the open field.
Green, like Thompson, is a sub-11 second 100 meter runner. Both have the speed to turn a 5 yard run into a 25 yard run, or more. With Thompson gone to the Washington Redskins, Florida State will rely on Green and redshirt freshman Mario Pender to provide the home run threat on the ground.
With both Pender and Green able to provide a home run threat, there will be a battle to see the field behind the talented upperclassmen duo of Wilder and Freeman. Many of the same questions OneBarrelRum presented about Pender in his excellent Pender preview apply to Green:
Will he be able to block efficiently for the other back in Pony (shotgun split back) sets? Will he be able to protect the passer? Will he be able to learn the offense?
Ryan Green's prospects for playing time rest upon how he and Mario Pender answer those questions. Both are similarly sized backs with similar skill sets, and are competing for a similar role in the offense.
If Green can become efficient enough to see the field, his skill set provides Jimbo Fisher with a big play threat. With newly named starter Jameis Winston being just a redshirt freshman, the Florida State offense would be aided greatly by a home run threat at running back. While Green won't be seeing 10-15 carries a game in 2013, he can help Winston and the offense have a strong season with a couple big plays when he gets his chance.