On the 2021 Florida State football roster, Jashaun Corbin is still technically a redshirt sophomore in terms of eligibility. But the coaching staff and players around him say Corbin has been a “star” of the offseason and the type of positive leader among the team that is normally expected from a senior.
Verbally committed to Florida State out of high school in the fall of 2017, the running back out of Rockledge, Fla. ultimately opted for College Station. Three years later in the summer of 2020, Corbin found himself enrolled right back where he originally committed, and he was approved to play immediately for the Seminoles and new head coach Mike Norvell.
Now with a year under his belt on the team, it’s much easier for him to take charge and lead by example, and offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham has certainly noticed the difference in Corbin so far this offseason.
“He is a reserved guy by nature. He is a guy who wants to keep to himself. He is a lay-low guy. But he is challenging himself to step up out of his own comfort zone to lead,” said Dillingham.
“That’s when you really know someone is all-in, when they are going to challenge themselves not just to put in the work, because everybody should put in the work, but then doing the stuff that you are not comfortable with.”
Corbin’s commitment to the program had turned the head of teammates as well as coaches. One of the players charged with stopping Corbin each day in practice, redshirt sophomore linebacker Amari Gainer, commented on the fourth-year running back’s offseason thus far.
“Just how he has been going about his work focused and dedicated. That’s what you need for a good program,” said Gainer. “Leaders who do the right things.”
Last year, Corbin rushed for 401 yards and 5 touchdowns while starting eight times. Only 18 players in Florida State history have actually combined to rush for over 400 yards and 5 scores on the ground and catch at least 19 passes in a single season. From Antone Smith in 2006 to Jim Mankins in 1966, the list is much shorter than you might think.
Some of the FSU names that did not combine for those three statistics in a single season during their standout careers include Greg Allen, Larry Key, Leon Washington, and Edgar Bennett. The only players to top those three benchmarks in more than one season in the garnet and gold are Warrick Dunn, Dalvin Cook, Cam Akers, Travis Minor, Mark Lyles, Amp Lee, Dexter Carter, Chris Thompson, and Michael Whiting.
And for Corbin, that was all while splitting time during a shortened nine-game season. He will share carries again in 2021 with several backs, mainly redshirt sophomore D.J. Williams and redshirt freshman Lawrance Toafili.
When Dillingham was asked about the Seminoles’ crop of running backs heading into this season, he said he “loves” the depth that they have. The second-year play-caller says the tone for the unit is set by Corbin.
“I think a big piece of that is Corbin. That’s a guy who has taken a huge step from a leadership standpoint,” said Dillingham. “I couldn’t be more proud of what he is doing.”
In fact, both the 30-year-old coordinator and Norvell brought up Corbin without even being asked a question about him specifically. The latter was very excited about Corbin last Friday ahead of the start of spring practice.
“We saw flashes there at the end of last year,” said Norvell. “You saw the positive steps there towards the end of the season, and this spring he has been remarkable. He is flying around the field.”
After recovering from some bumps and bruises and a bad hamstring earlier in the season, Corbin wrapped up 2020 with a nice stretch. He had three out of four of his best single-game rushing performances in the final four contests of the season, including 3 touchdowns in the season finale win over Duke.
Now Corbin says he is bigger, stronger, and feels mentally and physically the best he has ever felt. A lot of emphasis has been placed on the newest crop of Florida State transfers that have entered the program the last few months, and deservedly so. But as a huge piece in the run game, Corbin may be just as crucial as any recent transfer to the success of the Seminoles this fall and beyond.
“That is a guy who has taken that room, and in my opinion, he has raised the level of that room because of how he works and what he shows up to do every single day,” said Dillingham.