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Florida State’s running backs are shining in the spring football season

Florida State’s offense has shown its potential in the spring, but is far from the finished product.

The Seminoles held their annual spring show on Saturday afternoon at an under-construction Doak Campbell Stadium and the Seminoles’ offense was fueled by a strong performance from the running back room.

Alabama transfer running back Roydell Williams received praise from Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell following the conclusion of the spring showcase.

Since transferring over the winter, Williams has established himself as one of the top guys in a talented running back room for the Seminoles, with the senior closing out spring training with a strong performance in the showcase.

“Every time the running backs had an opportunity to get in space and get a run seam, they took advantage and I thought Roydell did some nice things,” Norvell said. “I think collectively as a unit offensively, embracing the importance of the running game. I think it’s really come to the fore here in the last two weeks of the spring. They’ve really grown in that capacity.”

With the departures of Trey Benson, who is headed to the NFL, and Rodney Hill, who has committed to Arkansas in the transfer portal, FSU has returned influential players like Lawrance Toafili and Caziah Holmes and filled the rest of the running back room with recruits and transfers like Williams.

Williams spent four seasons at Alabama, appearing in 45 games, rushing for over 1,000 yards and scoring 11 times for the Crimson Tide.

In the showcase, Williams scored one of FSU’s three rushing touchdowns, along with Toafili and Holmes, showing the group’s depth despite the talented losses. Toafili, who was a major contributor for the Seminoles last year, felt the running back room grew tremendously in the spring.

“I’m incredibly proud of that and I think we showed our versatility today, showing the different things they’re good at and obviously things we can work on,” Toafili said. “For the most part, the guys were explosive and made some plays. That’s what we needed and we got the job done.”

Malik Benson, running back, has excelled in FSU’s spring season

Throughout spring practice, practices and the showcase, the Seminoles offense was led by the running game and the play of Alabama transfer wide receiver Malik Benson.

Benson had the strongest performance among the receivers during the showcase before the senior was carted off the field with a lower-body injury. Norvell did not provide an update on the receiver’s injury, but did talk about the impressive spring campaign he had.

“He has definitely emerged as one of the best players we have on the offensive side,” Norvell said. “I like his progression.”

Oregon State transfer quarterback DJ Uiagalelei and Benson showed a good connection during the showcase and throughout the spring, with Uiagalelei excited about combining his arm strength with Benson’s speed.

“I think one thing he brings is a lot of energy in that role. He has a dog mentality. He comes in every day and he’s ready to work,” Uiagalelei said. “He makes incredible plays in training, he can fly, he can get the best out of the defense and he does a great job catching the ball.”

While Uiagalelei described his 12-for-26, 177-yard spring showing as an “up and down” performance, his connection with Benson and his ability to get good production out of his running backs shows where the offense of Seminoles could go to. .

By combining options and some designed quarterback runs, Uiagalelei was able to add his rushing threat to the explosive running game.

The redshirt senior spent a lot of time in Saturday’s showcase with Toafili by his side in the shotgun, and the duo credited the offensive line with giving them protection and holes to run through, something that could help a potentially strong offense.

“The offensive line, those guys are doing their job,” Toafili said. “Obviously they will be addressed after the workload, but for the most part the o-line was solid. They allowed enough time to throw the ball and create gaps for me to run through and for other backs.”

“I’m not going to lie, the offensive line did its thing.”

Liam Rooney covers prep sports for the Tallahassee Democrat. Contact him via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @__liamroonej