Dalvin Cook rushed for 4,464 yards and 46 touchdowns while catching 79 passes for 935 yards and two touchdowns during his three-year career with the Florida State Seminoles. He was a key focal point of the offense and one of the main reasons why the Seminoles had one of the best offenses in the ACC. He finished his career as one of the most productive running backs in Florida State’s history. His departure to the NFL creates a massive void in the Seminoles’ offense.
The Seminoles have plenty of talent at the running back position to be more than effective in 2017. Jacques Patrick is a 6-foot-2 and 231-pound load who is very tough to tackle in the open field. He immediately turns into a human sledgehammer once he finds the hole and gets downhill. Florida State came away with one of the most impressive recruiting classes in 2017, including three standout running backs. Khalan Laborn is an all-purpose back who was rated a five-star prospect and was heavily recruited by a lot of big time collegiate programs. Zaquandre White is another stud prospect the Seminoles snagged in their 2017 recruiting class. He received a four-star rating and was also considered one of the best running backs in the nation.
You definitely thought wrong if you assumed Florida State was done reeling in world class running back talent, because they made a major splash by signing Cam Akers who is considered by many the top running back in the 2017 recruiting class. As early as his freshman year, He could become one of the top backs in college football. This batch of running back recruits should have Florida State fans very excited.
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As a Recruit
Akers is a five-star recruit from Clinton, Mississippi which is located just a few miles west of Jackson. In high school, he was very successful playing both quarterback and running back. During his senior year, he rushed for 2,105 yards and 34 touchdowns and passed for 3,128 yards and 31 touchdowns. He finished his four-year high school career with 8,140 passing yards and 78 passing touchdowns while rushing for 5,103 yards and 71 touchdowns. He accumulated 13,243 total yards and 149 total touchdowns during his career at Clinton High School.
During the recruiting process, 247Sports ranked him the second back in the nation and third overall. He was recruited by a bevy of schools like Ohio State, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Michigan, Oklahoma and many other collegiate programs. He received offers from 22 schools before signing with Florida State.
He received the honor of playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl which is the most prestigious all-star game for the high school level. In that game, he had six carries for 38 yards and one touchdown. He also caught one pass for 12 yards.
At the Nike Open Regionals in New Orleans he ran a 4.44 40-yard dash and posted a 40.6-inch vertical jump. There, he measured in at 5-foot-11 and weighed in at 210-pounds. His athleticism should easily translate to the college game. Expect him to slowly add five to ten pounds to his frame over the course of his collegiate career.
In high school, he was a man amongst boys, doing whatever he wanted against the opposing defenses that he played against. Akers is blessed with “sweet feet” that allow him to stop on a dime, change directions and instantly regain speed. Lateral agility and short area quickness are both strengths of his that make him to be very elusive and hard to tackle. His cuts are quick and precise, allowing him to easily slide step around defenders. He also has elite level burst that allows him to quickly accelerate to get through open running lanes. Defenses will need to be aware of his location at all times, because he has the potential to score from anywhere on the football field.
Watch his pad level at the point of contact during his first few games this year. He didn’t receive much experience grinding out tough yards between that tackles, since he could easily slice and dice high school defenses with his athleticism. Due to his ability to rapidly pick up speed before hitting the hole, he should easily be able to generate enough power to push back opposing defenders.
Cam Akers is shifty pic.twitter.com/PdfLRL0BU6
— Bruce Matson (@BMatz08) June 6, 2017
The video clip above is the perfect example of how he uses his feet and lateral agility to avoid defenders. Once he gets by the initial wave of tacklers, he quickly accelerates to top gear and sprints his way up the field. Plays like this were routine for Akers, because he was simply more talented than his adversaries at the high school level.
Due to playing quarterback during most of his high school career, Akers doesn’t have much experience at being a receiver out of the backfield. This isn’t a major concern, he has shown that he’s capable of catching the football while doing drills and he will easily acclimate to Florida State’s passing game. The hands are there, we just need to see him catch the ball out of the backfield in live action. Again, he’s very dangerous with the ball in open space and he will be a major threat to defenses while catching screen passes and check downs in the flat.
Projecting His Future
Akers will be splitting touches early in his career due to Florida State having an abundance of running back talent. He should eventually work his way to being the team’s bell-cow back and that could be as early as this season. There’s a very good chance that he emerges as one of the top running backs in college football within a year or two.
Outside of a devastating injury or off the field issues, the worst thing that could happen, would be if one of the other running backs on the team emerges as a highly productive asset for the offense, siphoning away touches and potential output from Akers. Even if this comes to fruition, he is talented enough to still be a premium prospect in devy leagues and it will allow him to have less wear on his tires when he enters the NFL Draft. Some people would look at this as a negative component to his profile, but ultimately, it could prove to be a positive, because he would enter the NFL less run-down due to not receiving the pounding from a full work load.
Overall, he’s a sensational talent who will be one of the top running backs in the nation by the end of 2018.
There’s a lot to like about Akers. He has the requisite size, athleticism, instincts and overall talent to become one of the top running backs in the nation. In devy leagues, he is already considered one of the most prized collegiate prospects. During the course of his career, his stock should hover around the same price point or increase, making him a relatively safe investment. As previously mentioned, off the field issues or a severe injury, might be the only things that could derail his career. Again, he’s an elite level prospect who will flourish as the Seminoles lead back.
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