Florida State is turning to its defense for help at running back.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher announced Thursday that junior safety Karlos Williams, a consensus national top-10 prospect out of high school, will also be used as a running back. Williams (6 feet 1, 223 pounds) has been taking snaps at his new position during practice this week.
"He is a natural running back," Fisher said. "Extremely natural. He can run a 10.5 (in the) 100 meters. Can catch, can run, is very natural with the ball in his hand. Is physical. I'm very pleased with what I've seen in the past few days."
Williams went into fall camp atop the depth chart at strong safety, but lost his job to converted cornerback Tyler Hunter, who missed spring practice because of a shoulder injury. For the opening game, Williams was listed as the backup at free safety. While Williams has great speed and is a big hitter, he struggles in coverage and lacks top-flight instincts.
Williams still could be used as a defensive back in the dime package.
Florida State is thin at running back behind starter Devonta Freeman and backup James Wilder Jr., who is nursing a shoulder injury. Projected third-team tailback Mario Pender will miss the season for academic reasons, and true freshman Ryan Green -- whom FSU was hoping to redshirt -- is the current third-stringer.
Fisher expects Williams to do more than provide some insurance at the position.
"I think he can provide not just depth there, but I think he can provide some spark there," Fisher said.
Williams did see some time at running back in high school. He has been utilized only on defense and as a kick returner in his first two college seasons, though.
The Seminoles will not get a chance to see how Williams fares on offense in a game situation this week -- they do not play again until Sept. 14, when they host Nevada.
Williams' brother, Vince, played linebacker for the Seminoles and was a sixth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in this year's draft.