Continuing the Conversation: The Florida State Quarterback Situation
We discussed a lot of Florida State football on Monday’s show, but didn’t get deep into Florida State’s quarterback room. Let’s do that now:
The elder statesmen of the room, and the presumed starter is James Blackman. Blackman, a redshirt Junior, has appeared in 27 games as the Seminoles quarterback over the past three seasons. Most people on our show, and around college football media, thought Blackman was a likely candidate for transfer. Although he does have talent, and there is no denying that, playing behind what has been an awful Florida State offensive line has hurt Blackman. I don’t think many people would have criticized Blackman for leaving Florida State, but for reasons we don’t know of as of now, Blackman will stick with Mike Norvell and compete for the starting job.
Once you get past Blackman, there are a few young guys looking to overtake Blackman for the starting job. The player I believe should be second in line for the job is true freshman Four-Star -recruit Chubba Purdy. Chubba is the younger brother of Iowa State star QB Brock Purdy, and selected FL State after flipping from Louisville in December. Shortly after getting the job, and putting his staff in place, Mike Norvell was able to get Purdy on campus for a visit and get a commit from him a few days after. Purdy threw for over 3,300 yards in his senior
season at Perry High School in Arizona and had 33 touchdowns to go along with it. However, Purdy did not early enroll into Florida State, so he was not on the field with coach Norvell and FSU when spring practice started. What would have been a major disadvantage for Purdy turned out not to be as COVID-19 ended spring practice very early, and Purdy missed next to nothing with his new team.
Next, the player I believe will battle Purdy for the second-string job is Jordan Travis. Florida State fans saw a little bit of Travis last season, as he appeared in the final four games of the 2019 season. Travis proved to be a good runner, who rushed for 228 yards and 3 touchdowns on 23 attempts. His passing game will need some work, he was only 6 for 11 passing last season, and he was 4 for 14 passing in 2018 at Louisville before transferring to Florida State. The redshirt sophomore has proven he does have talent, but I don’t believe it will be enough to overtake Blackman this season.
Behind Travis will be a battle between Tate Rodemaker and Geno English. Tate Rodemaker, a true freshman three-star recruit, committed to Florida State in December after flipping from USF. Rodemaker was one of the first recruits’ coach Norvell went after and got him to flip from USF to FSU in a short amount of time. Rodemaker was an early enrollee in Florida State, and was on the field for Florida State’s minimal spring workouts. As a senior in high school, Rodemaker threw 42 touchdowns at Valdosta, showing he has a big arm. Rodemaker may find himself much higher on the depth chart than I give him credit for, but I just don’t see him being higher than Travis, who has played at the college level, and Purdy, who was a more highly rated recruit.
Geno English is a redshirt freshman, who spent his 2019 season working with the scout team. That’s about all we know about Geno English.
One thing is for certain inside the FSU quarterback room, coach Norvell added quality young depth to a room that desperately needed it. Bringing in Purdy and Rodemaker to work with Travis and Blackman will be a huge step towards getting experience for the young guys. Having two players in your room that have experience and being able to share with the younger guys will certainly help them grow.
With all this being said, baring a late transfer, I think James Blackman is going to be the starting quarterback for FSU to start the season. COVID-19 has already and will continue to impact the amount of practice teams will get before the season starts. FSU will already be putting in a new offense this season, and I think Blackman, with all the experience he has, will be able to digest the situation better than a true freshman.
However, if Blackman were to leave, or get hurt, I think it would be a very interesting competition for the starting job. Both Purdy and Rodemaker are Norvell guys, and Travis is not. But Travis does have game experience and showed potential when he was on the field.
Although we are still a few months away from finding out who will be the starting quarterback for Florida State, fans should be excited about the future of the program for the first time in a while.