Sunshine State teams impress during spring college football practices

  • Zach Buckley
  • Special to The Palm Beach Post
May 04, 2017
Young Florida State running back Cam Akers during spring practice. (Photo:

Dalvin Cook might have fallen to the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, but he consistently provided Florida State with first-round production over his three seasons in Tallahassee.

Now that he’s off to the Minnesota Vikings, will the Seminoles’ ground game collapse in his absence? As Lee Corso would say, not so fast my friend.

At least, that’s how the folks over at ESPN see it. They detailed the best positive spring takeaway for every team in Mark Schlabach’s top 25 and for second-ranked Florida State, the post-Cook rushing attack got the nod.

“Cam Akers appears to be the real deal, and while it’s unfair to expect him to fill the void left by Cook completely, his strong spring offered a taste of what might be in store,” David M. Hale wrote. “Given FSU has some other solid backs on the roster and another ESPN 300 runner on the way this summer in Khalan Laborn, expect the Seminoles’ offense to pick up more or less where it left off.”

Akers, the top running back and second-rated recruit overall in the 247Sports Composite rankings, erupted for 102 all-purpose yards in FSU’s spring game last month.

Miami, ranked 15th by Schlabach, should exit the spring with renewed faith in the secondary.

“The good news is Miami found some answers there this spring, with Sheldrick Redwine establishing himself at safety, and Malek Young and Michael Jackson showing more growth,” Andrea Adelson wrote.

South Florida, No. 19 on the list, saw promising signs from prominent offensive skill players. Adelson highlighted quarterback Quinton Flowers, running back D’Ernest Johnson and receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling as players who impressed.

Florida, checking in at 21st, should be encouraged by the play of redshirt freshman quarterback Feleipe Franks, who went 8-of-14 for 119 yards and a touchdown in the spring game.

“He can stretch a defense with the deep ball, and his knowledge of the offense has grown tremendously,” Edward Aschoff wrote. “Is he ready to start every weekend in the SEC? Maybe not, but he made positive strides and looked every bit the part during the latter part of the spring.”