Florida State Football: Who Will Replace Devonta Freeman in Starting Lineup?

Perry KostidakisContributor IFebruary 19, 2014

Florida State running back Karlos Williams (9) runs past Florida defensive lineman Damien Jacobs, lower right, for yardage during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013. Florida State defeated Florida 37-7.(AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux/Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.  In 2013, what would amount to Devonta Freeman's final year, the running back from Miami had a career year. He became the first running back since Warrick Dunn in 1996 to reach 1,000 yards, reached third on FSU's all-time touchdown list with 30 touchdowns and was named All-ACC. 

Replacing him won't be easy. Freeman was a home-run kind of runner, one who managed to step in as a sophomore when Chris Thompson went down in 2012 and produce for the Seminoles. Gone also will be James Wilder Jr., who provided a bruising style for the Seminoles. 

So what better way to replace Freeman than adding both of them together? 

Karlos Williams Sr., who moved over to running back from safety, saw some playing time last year for Florida State, mostly in garbage time but toward the end of the season started getting more significant carries. As the season wore on, Williams became more comfortable at the position, and it became apparent in his running style. 

"I called some things on purpose to see how he would handle it," Fisher said after the game against Bethune-Cookman. "And he handled the adjustments, pass protection and different things extremely well. You're starting to feel very comfortable you can just play him at any time.

"He's a size-speed guy that can stick his foot in the ground and accelerate very quickly."

Williams has a bruising style with ridiculous speed. When Kermit Whitfield took back a kickoff against Auburn in the national championship game, Williams was right behind him and that was after laying a block to help Whitfield get downfield. 

"Of course [I feel confident with each carry], any running back does," Williams said after the Bethune game. "We try to take those two- to three-yard gains, and if you keep getting those, eventually you are going to bust open and get a big gain.

"I felt a lot more comfortable. Every passing play that we had, the defense really gave it to me in practice all week," he added. "There are still a couple of things that I need to work on like using my feet more and not relying on my hands as much."

Williams was second on the team with 730 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns, all while getting third-string carries.

In 2014, after practicing all spring and fall and when he's the top back, what Williams will be capable of doing is scary.