Options aplenty at running back for Fisher, Florida State

Ryan S. Clark, Lead Beat Writer

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Florida State has so much depth at running back this spring, it might be easy to forget the Seminoles have two more backs -- a five-star and a four-star -- who won't come to Tallahassee until the fall.

Rarely have Khalan Laborn and Zaquandre White, who signed with the Seminoles in February, been mentioned lately. There's a reason. FSU is working with the trio of junior Jacques Patrick, sophomore Amir Rasul and freshman Cam Akers.

Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher entered this spring with the task of replacing former star tailback and the program's all-time leading rusher in Dalvin Cook. Fisher likely won't have a concrete answer until a few games into the 2017 season, if not later.

As FSU reaches the end of its second week of spring practices, Fisher says he's liked what he's viewed from his running backs to this point.

“For the most part, they have been doing a good job,” Fisher said after Thursday's practice. “They’re learning, but it’s been pretty good. They flashed, and it’s a good segment. It really is. It's a good segment.”

FSU has five scholarship running backs in camp, including redshirt senior Ryan Green and redshirt junior Johnathan Vickers. The number will increase to seven once Laborn and White arrive in the fall, although Vickers also plays fullback.

It all amounts to an expansion of talent, which has limited experience.

Patrick, who signed in 2015 as a five-star, has logged the most playing time of any back on the roster. He has 124 career carries for 664 yards and nine touchdowns after spending the last two seasons as Cook's understudy.

Green, who has battled injuries throughout his career, is next with 50 carries for 269 yards and a touchdown. He's followed by Vickers with 29 carries, 158 yards and a touchdown.

Rasul, a former four-star recruit who came to FSU in 2016, has six carries for 45 yards. Akers, who was rated by Rivals as the No. 2 running back in the nation, arrived on campus in January.

Although Green and Vickers have more experience, it's evident the movement to replace Cook is centered around Patrick, Akers and Rasul.

"It's been fun so far helping the young guys learn," Patrick said. "Amir is a sophomore this year. Cam just came in a few months ago. Helping the young guys learn, it's been fun seeing everybody's improvement. ... There's a lot of improvement since Day One."

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