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Spring Position Previews: Running back

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Who will take the starting role?

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Florida State Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Ahead of Florida State football beginning spring football practice, Tomahawk Nation is diving in and breaking down the roster position group by position group. Today, we’ve got the running backs.

The departure of FSU running back Jashaun Corbin to the NFL draft can only mean one thing — there is an open spot for the starting running back position and there should be a lot of competition to replace the 1547 yards and 13 touchdowns he amassed in his two seasons at Florida State.

The main name to know

Although there will likely be a heavy rotation with this position group, running back Treshaun Ward can provide that spark and big-play ability to fill in the void left by Corbin.

The former walk-on was third on the team in rushing yards with 515 last season behind Corbin (887) and quarterback Jordan Travis (530.) He finished the season with 757 total yards and five touchdowns.

One play that showcased how he can be an elite runner was against the Syracuse Orange.

FSU’s offensive play of the game: Treshaun Ward goes for 65 yards. After Syracuse scored to cut the FSU lead to 23-20 early in the fourth quarter, the Seminoles needed an answer on offense. On third and four, Ward hauled in a short out from Travis to pick up the first down and avoid a three-and-out. On the next play, Ward bursted through the interior of the offensive line, made one man miss, and scampered for 65 yards to get FSU within the Syracuse five-yard line. Corbin finished off the drive as he punched it in from two yards out on the next play to put FSU back up 10.

And another against Notre Dame helping to force overtime.

He is quick to make a guy miss, not afraid of contact, can get down the field in a hurry, and draws similarities to former Seminole Devonta Freeman. Add an improved and healthy offensive line and another year in head coach Mike Norvell’s system, Ward is one to watch out for.

The returners

One of the strong points returning for the running back room is depth and speed. Any one of the returning players could be in the two deep.

Lawrance Toafili (Redshirt Sophomore) has speed and agility and was starting to come into his own towards the latter part of the season before injury.

Ja’Khi Douglas (Redshirt Sophomore) is another speedster and had a monster 59-yard catch against Miami during the infamous 4th and 14 rally.

DJ Williams (Redshirt Junior) Appeared in six games and rushed for 47 yards with one touchdown on 10 carries.

Corey Wren (Redshirt Sophomore) has mostly played on special teams as a kick returner and punt returner and will likely see more of that this season. He appeared in seven games last season.

The new faces

Rodney Hill (Freshman)

Hill was an ESPN300 four-star prospect out of Statesboro, GA and was ranked 45th player overall in his state. Enrolled and in the program I expect him to continue to develop in his time as a Seminole.

From Tomahawk Nation’s scouting report:

“You see Hill catch the ball smoothly throughout his tape and on the play that follows. These hands will play well at Florida State, who likes to utilize the running backs on screens and check downs. Hill also shows the ability to catch the ball in coverage, catch quick tunnel screens, and run routes. All of these fit the tailback role in the FSU offense and Hill should fit in nicely.”

Trey Benson (Redshirt Sophomore)

The Oregon transfer suffered a devastating injury in 2020 and missed the entire 2021 season. Although recently he said in an interview that he feels fine and is ready to come and compete.

“It was a big opportunity for me because of Jashaun Corbin leaving. There’s not a primary back right now. We are all just going to come compete. So I’m just here to compete and develop myself and let the coach develop me too.”

Benson was the number sixth player in Mississippi and the number one running back in the state.