The Dalvin Cook era is officially over at Florida State. After a lustrous career, Cook has departed for the NFL, and now FSU will have to find production elsewhere. It will be difficult to replace Dalvin and his school record of 4,464 career rushing yards, as well as his 46 career touchdowns and his incredible average of 6.5 yards per carry. Cook was a generational type of talent, who will be remembered as one of the all-time greats at the collegiate level. Despite Cook’s absence, the Seminoles remain one of the top football schools in the FBS. They will likely start the season ranked in the top five, and carry College Football Playoff aspirations throughout the season.
Florida State has one of the more impressive rosters in the nation. With Deondre Francois, Derwin James, and Tarvarus McFadden all returning, the Seminoles have plenty of veteran leadership left to propel them into National Title consideration. In order for FSU to live up to these high expectations, they will have to find a way to match Cook’s production from their current running backs. It will be nearly impossible for a single player to rival Cook’s career statistics, however, the Noles have an assortment of running backs that together could form a lethal ground attack. The key to this rushing attack will be junior running back Jacques Patrick.
With incoming-freshman Cam Akers garnering a majority of the preseason conversation, Jacques Patrick has quickly become a forgotten entity for FSU. Although he has experience playing in each of his first two seasons, he was unable to gain any national recognition due to the presence of Dalvin Cook. He was very efficient playing behind Cook, and gained invaluable experience from him. Patrick is a much different type of player, but picked up plenty of useful skills from Cook, and will finally be able to display his talents to their fullest potential.
In the past two season, Patrick has a 664 rushing yards on 124 carries (5.4 yards per carry, and nine touchdowns. Patrick only saw time in 19 games total, which doesn’t give him a large sample size. He was also not utilized heavily as a receiver, combining for only 10 receptions and 83 receiving yards. Although he wasn’t used much, Partick did flash elite potential as both a runner and a pass catcher. With Cook gone, Patrick will finally be able to show off his complete skill-set.
Many fans and college football analysts see Cam Akers as the eventual leader of FSU’s rushing attack. While Cam Akers does embody the type of back that Jimbo Fisher has preferred to use in the past, Akers doesn’t have the experience necessary to lead a team with National Championship hopes. Fisher will likely look to the experience of Patrick to provide leadership for FSU’s backfield and serve as the team’s workhorse running back.
Florida State will likely run a similar rushing attack in 2017, to the one they did back in 2013 when the team won the National Championship. Freeman led that backfield, and was complimented by James Wilder Jr. and Karlos Williams. Patrick shares a similar rushing style to Wilder, but is a more polished runner and pass catcher, that will allow him to serve as more than just a power rusher and goal line back.
In order for FSU to be successful this season, they’ll have to have a strong ground attack. Jacques Patrick will have to take over as the leader of their running back core, and flourish as the team’s workhorse back. He’ll have plenty of help from Cam Akers and the other RBs on the roster, but he will have to take on the immense responsibility of replacing Dalvin Cook. His production next season will be the key to Florida State’s success in 2017.