The Cam Akers Hype Train has been in full force for months now in Tallahassee. For Florida State football, it’s understandable; by all accounts, Akers looks to be a superstar. As FSU football looks to transition from Dalvin Cook, though, another name needs to be factored in, too: Jacques Patrick.
Patrick spent the past two seasons as the top backup to Cook — now a member of the Minnesota Vikings. A case can certainly be made that he’s ready for a breakout 2017 campaign, regardless of whether or not he starts.
It takes an army
For a defense to actually bring down Jacques Patrick, well, it may want to send more than one player. It’s simply a bear to tackle the 6-foot-2, 230-pound back.
According to Pro Football Focus, Patrick led all ACC running back in 2016 in yards after contact. He averaged nearly a full yard more after contact than Miami’s Mark Walton.
FSU RB Jacques Patrick leads returning ACC backs with his 4.03 yards after contact, per carry from last season. pic.twitter.com/hDlVhJ450h
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) June 29, 2017
Why this adds up
Patrick carried the ball just 61 times in 2016 — for 350 yards (5.7 yards per attempt). He compiled a big chunk of those yards in the rout over South Florida. In that game, Patrick and Cook combined for 391 yards and six touchdowns.
We can dig a little deeper here, too, though.
Dalvin Cook was the ultimate big play machine, but Patrick could be explosive, too. Patrick recorded 12 carries of at least 10 yards last season; this means that nearly 20 percent of his touches out of the backfield went for 10-plus yards.
The junior back has been used only sparsely as receiver; however, this may be an avenue for the Seminoles to explore in 2017. According to Football Study Hall, Patrick has been targeted 15 times in the passing game, but he’s hauled in 10 of those. That’s a solid catch rate of 66.7 percent.
Florida State football will be lucky to feature both Jacques Patrick and Cam Akers in 2017. Opposing ACC defenses: well, not so much.