Thursday, August 16, 2018
FSU Seminoles

Former five-star back Khalan Laborn rejuvenated after FSU coaching change

TALLAHASSEE – Florida State running back Khalan Laborn's breakout 140-yard output in Saturday night's spring game was a sign of what could be for the former blue-chip recruit.

It was also a reminder of what almost wasn't for the Seminoles.

With all of the hype and early success from running back Cam Akers last year, it was easy to overlook Laborn – FSU's other five-star running back from the 2017 recruiting class. But Laborn was almost as highly regarded.

The Virginia native was the nation's No. 1 all-purpose back prospect and the MVP for his team at the Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando.

Khalan Laborn lifts his MVP trophy at the Under Armour All-American Game. [ TIMES FILE ]
Khalan Laborn lifts his MVP trophy at the Under Armour All-American Game. [ TIMES FILE ]
Then he joined the Seminoles … and didn’t play at all.

"It was frustrating," the redshirt freshman said. "I don't really talk about the past, but I'm just glad we got a new coaching staff to show what all of us can do and not just certain people."

Ouch.

RELATED: Five takeaways from Florida State's spring football game

In fairness to Jimbo Fisher and the last coaching staff, those certain people included other talented running backs. Akers broke Dalvin Cook's FSU freshman rushing record by running for 1,024 yards. Jacques Patrick (748 yards) was a former five-star recruit, too. It's also easy to second-guess redshirt decisions from afar when you're not watching every snap of practice or sitting in every meeting.

But Laborn, obviously, was not happy. He said he had second thoughts about signing with FSU, until he met with Willie Taggart and the new staff. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound athlete decided to stay.

"It just felt right," Laborn said. "It felt like running away from it ain't going to solve anything. You can learn from taking stuff head on instead of running away, so that's what I did."

FSU is thankful for it. His 91-yard touchdown showed the speed and elusiveness he brings to the backfield. It was the kind of night FSU coaches expected to see.

"We all felt like he was going to have a big game…" Taggart said. "And he did."

Laborn is optimistic that more big games are coming.

He said he feels rejuvenated after the coaching change, and Taggart's offense fits him well. It's similar to what he ran in high school, when he rushed for more than 4,000 yards in his final two seasons. It also allows room for multiple backs; each of the last two seasons, Taggart has had a pair of backs rush for at least eight touchdowns.

So even if Akers continues to star, Laborn will get his opportunities, too.

"This backfield can be as great as what people think it is," Laborn said.

Saturday night was proof.

Comments
Brian Burns looking to thrive in Florida State’s new-look defense

Brian Burns looking to thrive in Florida State’s new-look defense

BRADENTON — First-year coach Willie Taggart's plan to transform Florida State into a program built on lethal simplicity transcends the offense.The defense will try to live by that same two-word philosophy, which could help Brian Burns rebo...
Published: 08/15/18
After Maryland, FSU’s Walt Bell excited to be in ‘family atmosphere’

After Maryland, FSU’s Walt Bell excited to be in ‘family atmosphere’

BRADENTON — New FSU offensive coordinator Walt Bell approached reporters Tuesday morning at IMG Academy seemingly resigned to the fact two subjects would arise: the Seminoles' quarterback derby and the ugly allegations surrounding Maryland...
Published: 08/14/18
Florida State football quick hits: Road trip bonding and quarterback battle

Florida State football quick hits: Road trip bonding and quarterback battle

BRADENTON — Although the recruiting advantage of Florida State's trip to IMG Academy is debatable, some of the other perks of the road trip are hard to deny.Like the camaraderie that comes with the bus ride down.QB Bailey Hockman said some...
Published: 08/13/18
Willie Taggart doesn’t see recruiting perks in FSU’s IMG Academy trip

Willie Taggart doesn’t see recruiting perks in FSU’s IMG Academy trip

BRADENTON — Florida State coach Willie Taggart presumably had many off-campus sites where he could have taken the Seminoles for this week's portion of preseason camp.So why IMG Academy?"Look around…" Taggart said.There's the sparking...
Published: 08/13/18
Florida State football starting practice at IMG Academy

Florida State football starting practice at IMG Academy

BRADENTON — Florida State hit the road to hold some of its preseason camp here at IMG Academy. A few highlights from morning interviews:I asked coach Willie Taggart why he wanted to come to IMG specifically. "Look around…" Taggart sa...
Published: 08/13/18
Report: Florida State to play LSU in Orlando, New Orleans

Report: Florida State to play LSU in Orlando, New Orleans

Florida State will again be playing in Orlando against an SEC program.The Seminoles and LSU will have a two-game series, veteran college football reporter Brett McMurphy reported Thursday morning. Their 2022 season opener will be in New Orleans, and ...
Published: 08/09/18
FSU’s Cam Akers, Ricky Aguayo make preseason All-ACC team

FSU’s Cam Akers, Ricky Aguayo make preseason All-ACC team

Sophomore TB Cam Akers and junior PK Ricky Aguayo are the only FSU players on the preseason All-ACC team released Tuesday afternoon.The entire team can be seen here. The voting was done by 148 media members credentialed for last week's ACC Kickoff in...
Updated one month ago
Clemson picked to win ACC in media poll, FSU picked 2nd in Atlantic

Clemson picked to win ACC in media poll, FSU picked 2nd in Atlantic

Reigning three-time ACC champ Clemson is an overwhelming pick to win its fourth consecutive crown in the ACC's media preseason poll released Monday.The Tigers also are picked to win the Atlantic Division, with FSU — under new coach Willie ...
Updated one month ago
ACC recap: Top sound bites from Charlotte

ACC recap: Top sound bites from Charlotte

College football's talking season commenced this week with three Power Five conferences staging their annual media days. We were in Charlotte for the ACC gab-a-rama, where sound bites ranging from the bizarre to the brain-dead were generated.And that...
Updated one month ago
Florida State defensive forecast not that simple

Florida State defensive forecast not that simple

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — His debut at the ACC kickoff attracted a wholly unsurprising assortment of topics. New FSU coach Willie Taggart was asked about his culture, his quarterbacks, his catch phrases.He handled each question deftly, hardly devi...
Updated one month ago