Feb. 12, 2014
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Seminoles.com Managing Editor
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Big-bodied running backs capable of both effectively blocking and carrying the football have become an offensive staple at Florida State under Jimbo Fisher.
Now see Johnathan Vickers.
As one of two signees at running back in the 2014 class, Vickers is the thunder to Dalvin Cook’s lightning. At 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, the North Florida Christian star is built in the same way as Pryor and Abram and FSU coaches think he can be just as effective.
“Johnathan Vickers does everything,” Fisher said. “He has size, he has tremendous ball skills, he can block, he can run with speed, he can run with power [and] he can make you miss. He’s just an overall athlete.”
Added Fisher: “Is he the fastest guy in the world? Not that. But he’s fast enough. He’s very athletic, (has) great balance and body control and I think (he’s) just a complete football player. I think he’ll have a great career here. There’s a lot of things you can do with Johnathan Vickers.”
Vickers will be added this fall to a depth chart at FSU that features returning tailbacks Karlos Williams, Ryan Green and Mario Pender, as well as Cook, who will take part in spring practices and presumably have a leg up on depth-chart positioning because of his early enrollment.
At fullback, FSU loses Abram but returns Freddie Stevenson, who served as the No. 2 lead blocker a season ago, and redshirt senior Nigel Terrell. Both Stevenson and Terrell began their FSU careers as linebackers.
Vickers could be a factor at either running back or fullback right away despite the returning talent, because his size and ability combination brings a new dynamic to the roster.
“I had Johnathan in camp and I knew right away we didn’t want this young man to get out of Tallahassee,” FSU running backs coach Jay Graham said. “[He’s] just big, physical [and] he has a frame that he’s gonna carry about 230 pounds. He’s got great ball skills and speed to go with them. He’s very elusive. He’s crafty; he’s smart and has a good understanding of the game. His big, strong body, he has the ability to move the chains.
“I think he’ll make an instant impact in short-yardage and goal-line situations. I’m excited to have Johnathan.”
Vickers verbally committed to FSU July 19, 2013 and stayed firm in that pledge despite boasting offers from some of the nation’s other elite programs like Alabama, Clemson, Stanford and Notre Dame.
He wore No. 3 in high school but will have to pick a new jersey number once he becomes a Seminole as rising sophomore wide receiver Jesus Wilson currently wears that digit.