Florida State football kicks off on Labor day at Pitt. Tomahawk Nation previews the season up until that date by analyzing every player and other key issues facing the 2013 Seminoles.
#41 Chad Abram | 6'0, 240 | Senior | Fullback
PERSONAL: Committed to Florida State in March 2009...held a three-star ranking from both Rivals and Scout.com...No. 64 player in state by Rivals...No. 13 safety prospect according to ESPN...a standout on special teams with a knack for blocking kicks...blocked five kicks and collected five interceptions as a junior for the Red Devils...missed first three games of his senior season with hand injury...credited with 30 tackles, two interceptions and seven pass breakups...Florida Super 75 selection by the Florida Times-Union newspaper, where he ranked No. 5 among safeties...No. 48 rated player on Bill Buchalter's Florida Top 100, where he ranked as the No. 4 safety...first team All-Polk selection...born May 22, 1991.
Abram comes into his senior year as the top fullback after a productive 3 years on special teams. He was versatile in 2012, playing on kickoff return, punt return, and kickoff coverage units.
His extensive special teams experience is a stark contrast to his experience on offense. He had more tackles than carries in 2012. This will likely change in 2013.
Abram played a backup role for Lonnie Pryor, a fan favorite and one of the better team players at FSU in recent history. Pryor wasn't a traditional fullback, as his role included many carries and catches out of the backfield. He contributed nearly 500 yards of total offense, including his MVP performance at the Orange Bowl. This is in addition to being a good lead blocker and pass protector.
The "Lonnie Pryor" role won't be easy to fill. Pryor was a great locker room presence in addition to a versatile, non-traditional fullback. He was a unique player and a strict replacement of his role will be hard to find.
Abram took reps with the first team as a fullback during the spring. Unfortunately, due to a litany of injuries to other backs, he played as a running back in the spring game. This makes it difficult to see how Abram would perform when asked to play as a lead blocker.
The spring game does show glimpses into Abram's abilities as a runner, catcher, and a pass protector. He's an athletic player, who runs with the power of his 240 pounds. He's not likely to be asked to run stretch plays from shotgun like Pryor often did in 2012, but he did show more lateral agility than I originally expected to see.
Abram was very good in pass protection. He had success blocking defensive ends, and blitzing linebackers and safeties. Abram caught just a couple balls out of the backfield during the spring game, but is known to have soft hands. Lonnie Pryor said in a recent interview that Abram was a more natural pass catcher than he was.
Abram is not a carbon copy of Pryor, but he is a relatively versatile fullback. Even if he's not asked to carry the ball as often, he is a capable receiving target and a good pass protector. One barrier to Abram's playing time in 2013 may be the use of more two tight end sets. FSU has two experienced tight ends in senior Kevin Haplea and junior Nick O'Leary, who could form a good pair as an inline blocker and an H-Back, respectively. Split teams and injuries restricted the spring game offenses to 11 personnel, so it remains to be seen how Jimbo Fisher will design the 2013 offense around his quarterbacks.