Image Credit: FSU Athletics
With a dismal 2019 campaign in the books, new head coach Mike Norvell and the Seminoles have a lot of work to do. Along with the anticipation and excitement for 2020, there are also a lot of questions that will need to be answered. Chief among these is that of the starting quarterback. Let’s look at some internal and external possibilities that Norvell and his staff will choose from.
Option 1 – James Blackman
James Blackman will be the first to tell you he had a horrible time at the Sun Bowl. One fumble and four interceptions, consigned the Noles to their second consecutive losing record.. Fans and media alike have speculated that the Sun Bowl may have been Blackman’s last game in a Seminole jersey. Blackman hasn’t hinted at any intention to leave and has stated he “bleeds garnet and gold.” Blackman certainly has an arm and experience. He’s never been able to be developed, as he was thrust into duty as a true freshman against Alabama. A turnstile of head coaches and offensive coordinators certainly hasn’t helped matters. Perhaps an off-season of training under Norvell will help straighten Blackman into a player that has yet to be seen.
Option 2 – Jordan Travis
Fans were treated to spectacular plays by Travis in his debut against Boston College. Travis gained 94 yards and 2 touchdowns on only 3 rushing attempts – good for 31.3 yards/carry. He showed some of that brilliance in the Sun Bowl as well in an otherwise forgettable offensive game for the team. However, questions remain about his throwing ability. For the season, Travis only threw the ball 11 times, completing 6 for 79 yards – 63 of which on a single pass against Alabama State. Again, if Travis were to start at QB for the Noles, he would need to be developed. As it remains, it’s likely he continues as a package quarterback going forward.
Option 3 – Wyatt Rector
Rector will be an interesting player to watch. In his four years in high school he gained nearly 10,000 yards of total offense and scored 99 total touchdowns. After transferring from Western Michigan, he concluded 2019 with being awarded the Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year. He also has questions regarding his arm, and should just serve as good depth.
Options 4 & 5 – Chubba Purdy and Tate Rodemaker
Purdy, out of Gilbert, AZ, and Rodemaker, out of Valdosta, GA, are two names that fans should be excited about. After failing to sign quarterbacks in the previous two signing classes, fans were relieved when Coach Norvell signed these two. Purdy is a four-star, dual-threat QB who flipped from Louisville. He finished his senior season throwing for 3,369 yards and 33 touchdowns. He also ran the ball for 1,054 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Rodemaker is a three-star pro-style QB. He threw for 3,225 passing yards and 42 touchdowns and was selected for the U.S Army All-American Bowl. It would seem to go against conventional wisdom to put a true freshman behind a rebuilding offensive line. But if either have a strong off-season, we could see them starting some games down the stretch.
Option 1 – Jamie Newman, Wake Forest
Newman is a dual-threat quarterback currently in the portal with immediate eligibility. In 12 games for Wake Forest this year, Newman threw for 2,868 yards and 26 passing touchdowns. He also ran for 574 yards and scored 6 rushing touchdowns. While Newman found some success in the ACC’s Atlantic Division, he is not without some concerns. He suffered an injury against Louisville which kept him out of the game against Florida State. Later, he left the game in the second quarter against Syracuse. Newman did struggle against Clemson, completing only 6/13 passes with 2 INTs.
Option 2 – K.J. Costello, Stanford
Costello is a pro-style quarterback currently in the portal with immediate eligibility. Injuries sidelined him for much of the season, but the senior managed to throw for 1,038 yards in 5 games for 6 touchdowns. In a full junior season, he threw for 3,540 yards and 29 touchdowns. Although he has some injury history, Costello has a big arm and the experience needed to win games.
Option 3 – Brady White, Memphis
White would be the most likely of these three to transfer to Florida State, but is the only one that’s not currently in the portal. His familiarity with Norvell would make White the perfect fit for the Seminoles. After all, White had previously transferred from Arizona State and played under Norvell at Memphis with great success (4,014 passing yards and 33 passing touchdowns). It’s possible that history could repeat itself and see White trade the Memphis Blue and White for the Seminole Garnet and Gold. While he hasn’t announced that he’ll be transferring, he is reportedly considering it.