Building off spring showing
Laborn had 140 yards rushing on 13 carries
TALLAHASSEE If running back Khalan Laborn’s 91-yard touchdown run did not capture the attention of Florida State fans, his candid comment after the Seminoles spring game recapping the moment surely will.
Laborn’s soundbite, in his first interview with a sideline reporter since being at Florida State, was unfiltered and sincere. It featured two curse words that slipped off his tongue. And it struck a comedic tone that quickly endeared him to the Seminoles fan base.
For Laborn, a former five-star recruit who did not see the field as a freshman last season, it seemed like a moment of liberation.
“Oh goodness,” Laborn said bursting into a chuckle, reliving the interview. “I was just thinking, [the reporter] asked me [the question], and I just thought of the first thing that came to my head. “Lesson learned.” New coach Willie Taggart aimed to give his talented stable of running backs opportunities during the spring game.
Sophomore Cam Akers, who broke FSU’s singleseason freshman rushing record last season, had 12 carries for 16 yards and a touchdown. Senior Jacques Patrick had 11 carries for 33 yards and junior Amir Rasul had nine carries with 24 yards.
Laborn, a Virginia native, benefited from his explosive run, finishing with 140 yards rushing on 13 carries with two touchdowns during the first quarter, winning most valuable player honors.
“It felt really good,” Laborn said. “I’ve been waiting a whole year since I got here to play. Now, I finally got to show what I could do. I’m happy.”
Rated as the nation’s No.1 all-purpose back by Rivals.com and 247Sports.com in 2017, Laborn believed he would have been able to contribute to the Seminoles’ struggling offense last season behind Akers, Patrick and Rasul.
Being redshirted frustrated Laborn during FSU’s 7-6 campaign.
He sent home Christmas Day for disciplinary reasons two days before FSU played Southern Mississippi in the Independence Bowl, another setback during a bumpy year.
“The toughest part was sitting on the sideline watching your team lose and seeing coaches making the calls they made and watching the players try to invest and it just not working out,” Laborn said.
“It just hurt watching that. You want to do as much as you can … but you can only do so much if they let you.”
Laborn is more than confident in himself and his abilities. Despite being in a loaded position group, Laborn believes he will be able to find a niche in Taggart’s new spread, Gulf Coast offense that aims to capitalize on playmakers in space.
Laborn made a statement when he first committed to the Seminoles in July 2016, with the help of a charcoal-colored Lamborghini covered with decals of a FSU logo on the hood and spears on the doors.
He made another with his big-play touchdown and spirited reaction. He even let another curse word slip during postgame interviews with media, further savoring his breakout performance.
Laborn’s uncensored takes were a breath of fresh air similar to the refreshing energy surrounding FSU’s football program.
“I’m just glad we have a new coaching staff in to show what all of us can do instead of just certain people,” Laborn said. “…Coach Taggart, he comes out and he speaks what’s real, and he doesn’t just speak it, he shows it and I feel like he’s the best fit for this team.”
Laborn speaks what he feels, something very real.
“It’s my time and I’m ready,” he said.
Khalan Laborn, who was redshirted last season, earned most valuable player honors during this year’s spring game.