As we formally turn the page to the Class of 2022, we’re ramping up our Florida State of Recruiting series once again. As a reminder, this is meant to be a snapshot in time of the current prospects committed to, trending with, or known to have mutual interest in the Florida State Seminoles football program. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive list, so expect to see add names added/removed (as needed) throughout the 2022 cycle, including any transfer portal options that may become available. Uncommitted targets are not presented in any kind of order.
Today, we take a look at the running backs.
Tribe ‘22 Running Back State of Recruiting
Damari Alston: 5’11”, 205 lbs (Atlanta, GA)
Damari Alston, who may be the top prospect on FSU’s board currently, possesses a 247 Sports composite ranking of 90 (4-star) and is currently ranked as the 274th best prospect in the class of 2022 (27th best RB, 29th best in GA). Suffice to say that this ranking will likely climb, as evidenced by the nearly 50 scholarship offers including from the likes of the Alabama Crimson Tide, LSU Tigers, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio State Buckeyes, and Oregon Ducks. He was offered by FSU in June 2020.
Alston is a powerful running back with deceptive speed, never shying away from contact and often requiring more than one defender to get him down. Nearly all his highlights show Alston breaking tackles at or near the line of scrimmage (I quickly lost count of how many tackles he broke), with his downhill running style keeping his legs churning. Basically, you cannot arm-tackle this man—if you try, you’ll be embarrassed and spotlighted on his highlight reel. Alston’s not afraid to run between the tackles, showing a penchant for quickly diagnosing and hitting the hole. Last season, he accumulated nearly 2,000 all purpose yards and scored 27 TDs.
Gavin Sawchuk: 5’11”, 175 lbs (Littleton, CO)
Likely one of the more recognizable names on this list for those who follow recruiting, Sawchuk’s a special talent who was offered by FSU in July 2020. He holds a 247 composite ranking of 99 (5-star) and is currently ranked as the 23rd best player nationally (2nd best RB, top overall player in CO). Although his competition isn’t as tough as others on this list, Sawchuk nonetheless holds dozens of offers from top programs across the country (currently all four crystal ball picks are for the Oklahoma Sooners).
Sawchuk is a threat to score every time he has the ball. Accumulating nearly 4,000 rushing yards and 50 touchdowns in two and a half prep seasons, he’s also a track standout with speed to burn. Extremely dangerous in space and showing lightning-quick initial burst, once Sawchuk hits the corner and turns upfield, he can’t be caught. He has fancy feet and (dare I say) elite ankles, routinely making over-pursuing defenders look silly.
Le’Veon Moss: 6’0”, 190 lbs (Baton Rouge, LA)
Moss is listed as the 90th best prospect in the 2022 class per 247 composite rankings, holding a score of 96 (high 4-star) and considered the 5th best RB nationally and 6th best player in LA. Residing in LSU’s backyard, Moss currently holds over a dozen offers from the Tigers, as well as top programs such as Alabama, the Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs, and Texas A&M Aggies, in addition to FSU, which offered him about a month ago.
Moss is another powerful runner with a blazing first cut into his acceleration. He’s also a weapon in the return game, housing 3 kick returns as a sophomore. LSU will be difficult to beat if they push hard, but Coach YAC is on the prowl, and we’ve seen what he can do in the state of Louisiana.
Marlon Gunn, Jr.: 5’11, 195 lbs (Baton Rouge, LA)
Gunn Jr. is currently rated the 421st best player in 247 composite and holds a rating of 87 (high 3-star). He’s considered the 36th best RB nationally and 19th best player in LA. Another Baton Rouge prospect offered by FSU in December 2020, the underrated and overlooked Gunn Jr. boasts 8 total offers from the SMU Mustangs and Virginia Cavaliers, among others.
Gunn Jr. may be another Louisiana prospect who slips under the radar of the regional heavyweights and into FSU’s backfield. Gunn Jr. had a breakout junior campaign, rushing for over 1000 yards and scoring 13 touchdowns. He shows good vision and hits the hole quickly, displaying nifty cutback moves. He doesn’t shy away from contact, lowering his shoulder or throwing a stiff arm, but he still needs to work on lower body strength to avoid shoestring tackles.
Nicholas Singleton: 6’0”, 210 lbs (Reading, PA)
One of FSU’s most recent RB offers, Singleton holds a rating of 95 (high 4-star) and is considered the 111th best player in the 247 composite rankings (7th best RB, 3rd best player in PA). He holds over 30 offers and is currently thought to be favoring Notre Dame, Ohio State, and the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Another dual-sport star in track and field and football, Singleton has rushed for nearly 3000 yards and scored 56 touchdowns in two prep seasons, showing incredible productivity. He has great speed and diagnoses situations quickly, often making one cut, hitting the hole, and leaving defenders in the dust.
Jaziun Patterson: 5’10”, 190 lbs (Deerfield Beach, FL)
Patterson holds a rating of 90 (4-star) and is considered the 275th best player in his class (28th best RB, 33rd best player in FL). He now holds nearly 30 offers from across the SEC, ACC, and Big Ten, and has previously mentioned FSU as his dream school growing up. He unofficially visited FSU’s campus in February of 2020 after being offered the month before.
Patterson’s highlights show good acceleration and decisiveness, an elusive running style, and a willingness to put his head down and bull through opponents. He is lethal on toss sweeps and shows decent hands as well. He has mentioned that the Auburn Tigers and Penn State are recruiting him the hardest in the last few months, but if FSU pushes hard, he could become a ‘Nole.
Branson Robinson: 5’10”, 220 lbs (Madison, MS)
Robinson, another one of FSU’s most recent offers, holds a rating of 87 (3-star) and is considered the 415th best player in 247 composite rankings (35th best RB, 7th best player in MS). We expect these rankings to rise quite a bit, as evidenced from his 13 offers from some big names like Alabama, Georgia, LSU, the Michigan Wolverines, Oregon, and Penn State, as well as both in-state schools.
Robinson boasted an insane 9.74 yards per carry in 2020 and is a shifty waterbug dodging tacklers, which is impressive for his size. He shows good patience and strong acceleration, plus an array of video-game moves that make defenders trying to arm tackle him look foolish.
Jaylin Lucas: 5’8”, 175 lbs (Houma, LA)
Lucas is currently unranked by 247, but does carry a 5.5 rating from Rivals (low 3 star). Simply put, this ain’t accurate, folks—he’ll undoubtedly rise in the rankings during the next evaluation cycle. Lucas is the younger brother of current Seminole Ja’Khi Douglas and was offered in January 2021. He currently has 7 offers, a number which should also steadily rise.
Lucas, like his older brother, is not a traditional RB, but rather a versatile player who could fit in the offensive backfield, in the slot, and/or serve as a weapon in the return game. He accelerates into top speed effortlessly and has a nifty array of jukes and cuts, making him very fun to watch. He uses his smaller size to his advantage by hitting holes quickly before they close and shows high IQ and awareness by often bouncing out to the sideline as he hits his top gear. One of my favorite phrases to use with RBs is “quicker than a hiccup” and it describes Lucas perfectly. FSU and Virginia are considered leaders, and if the Noles push for Lucas you’d hope family ties prevail.
Jaylon Glover: 5’9”, 195 lbs (Lakeland, FL)
Glover holds a rating of 86 (3-star) and is considered the 485th best player in the 247 composite rankings (44th best RB, 62nd best player in FL). His dozens of offers speak to what will surely be a rise in the rankings (notice a trend of FSU getting in early?), represented by the likes of the Arkansas Razorbacks, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Iowa State Cyclones, Miami (FL) Hurricanes, Michigan State Spartans, Nebraska, the South Carolina Gamecocks, and the West Virginia Mountaineers, among others. FSU offered in November 2020.
Glover is a workhorse RB for his high school. In three seasons he’s accumulated over 4000 yards on the ground and 54 touchdowns, making him Lake Gibson High School’s all-time leader in rushing yardage with another season remaining. He’s a tackle-breaking machine with a strong initial cut, as evidenced by his highlights, and a determined runner who’ll do whatever it takes to bust a long run—spins, jump-cuts, hurdles, or putting his shoulder down and running straight through defenders. South Carolina has prioritized Glover early but FSU, Arkansas, and Nebraska are giving him plenty to consider.
One other factor with Glover is that he teams up with 5-star athlete Sam McCall, so it’ll behoove the Seminole staff to play their cards wisely.
Kedrick Debron: 6’0”, 200 lbs (Havana, FL)
Debron, a self-described FSU fan his entire life who was offered in April 2020, holds a rating of 84 (3-star) and is considered the 675th best player in the 247 composite rankings (61st best RB, 87th best player in FL). Debron claims 8 offers, including Alabama, the Maryland Terrapins, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Ole Miss Rebels, and Tennessee Volunteers.
Debron never shies from contact and has good acceleration, but will need to work on lower body strength. He shows good field vision and has some nice cut moves, but could be more decisive at times. He shares time in the backfield, helping explain why his stats may not be eye-popping like others on this list, but FSU clearly likes Debron and has sent him multiple edits through social media. Debron plays for the same high school as Tribe ‘21 signee Joshua Farmer, and that connection could pay dividends for Tribe ‘22.
Jordan James (or Bryant-James): 5’10”, 205 lbs (Murfreesboro, TN)
James (or Bryant-James via Rivals) holds a rating of 93 (4-star) and is considered the 173rd best player in the 247 composite rankings (17th best RB, 3rd best player in TN). He holds over a dozen offers from a who’s-who of notable SEC and ACC teams (along with Notre LAME). Offered in March 2020, he announced a Top 4 in September of Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and you guessed it, the beloved ‘Noles. Georgia is thought to be the leader.
James is a beast with the ball in his hands, rushing for 1752 yards on 182 rushing attempts (9.57 ypc!!) and finding the end zone 27 times last season. Deceptively fast and highly productive, he profiles as a feature back who can do whatever is asked of him. He has shown he can also succeed catching the ball in the slot or out of the backfield—just get the ball in his hands and watch out.
Thomas Castellanos: 5’11”, 190 lbs (Waycross, GA)
Castellanos, currently unranked by any major recruiting services, was just offered by FSU last night. While he holds some offers from programs like Kansas and Akron, this is his first major offer (and we expect more to come now that FSU has unearthed him).
Castellanos plays basketball, soccer, and runs track in addition to his exploits on the gridiron. He plays quarterback for his high school, passing for nearly 3000 yards and 23 touchdowns and rushing for another 939 yards and 24 touchdowns. Tomahawk Nation has it on good authority that FSU likes Castellanos as a running back. Simply put, he is an underrated stud in the making- extremely athletic and a true weapon with the ball in his hands. Expect this name to gain a lot of steam on the recruiting trail in the coming months.
Which prospects are your favorites? Are there any names you think we overlooked? Let us know in the comment section, or in our recruiting chat.