Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston has drawn Andrew Luck comparisons thanks to his breakout season and pro-ready skill set at such a young age, but the Seminoles boast inarguably one of the most talented rosters in all of college football, and maybe their most talented position group of all is at the running back position.
Rob Rang of NFL Draft Scout (CBS Sports) gave FSU junior running back Devonta Freeman a very lofty comparison after his big performance against the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday night. Rang called Freeman a “Ray Rice clone” thanks to his size at 5’8″ 203 pounds and ability to not only run the ball (obviously) but also his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
Freeman leads a supremely talented group of backs with 639 yards and eight touchdowns this season, and is well on his way to breaking career highs in both of those categories.
Going into the season, catching the ball out of the backfield was a concern of mine regarding Freeman, but he’s already set a career high with 13 receptions this season and led the ‘Noles against Miami with six catches for 98 yards and a touchdown.
The craziest thing? Freeman has only one game this season of 100 or more yards, and it came in a 10-carry effort against Bethune-Cookman.
The good news for Freeman is, it’s not about quantity to NFL scouts, it’s all about quality, and the quality of Freeman’s play this season has been the best of the best.
You might also find this hard to believe, but Rob Rang is not the first scout out there to throw out a Ray Rice comparison regarding Devonta Freeman. Here’s our pre-season report:
Devonta Freeman carried the ball more times than any other back at Florida State in 2012, averaging just a hair under six yards per carry. He finished his sophomore season with 660 yards rushing and eight touchdowns, and showed off a lot of skills that have NFL teams intrigued. Personally, I actually really like backs at this size. Freeman has good quickness and power for his size, and even though he is shorter at 5’9″, it actually works to his advantage. He is a slippery back in the size mold of a Ray Rice, though he’s not quite that productive or talented as a receiver.
Freeman has big potential if he continues to improve his third down abilities. He is quick to the hole with great burst and the ability to finish runs. He looks like he runs with a chip on his shoulder. Can be a between the tackles runner as well as a shifty back on the outside. I think perhaps Freeman’s best trait is he just has a natural feel for the position. He looks like an experienced runner already with only two years of collegiate ball, and I think when he gets to the NFL, he’s going to have a strong chance of being a workhorse tailback.