Photo courtesy of wlpearce,com/Florida State athletics
Florida State fans have good reason to be excited for the quarterback room. This is perhaps the best group of signal callers Florida State has had since 2014 when reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston returned after leading FSU to a national championship.
The quarterback battle has been red hot this offseason, with speculation and rumors swirling. Head coach Mike Norvell seems to be keeping the starter under wraps until the season’s first snap.
Let’s take a look at who the Seminoles have to work with:
Electricity and Athleticism
Redshirt sophomore Jordan Travis was the talk of the town in Tallahassee last year. Previously, apart from a few flashy runs, Travis had been biding his time and sitting behind James Blackman.
The shifty sophomore earned the start after leading a comeback victory against Jacksonville State. He went on to break Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward’s single-season rushing record for FSU quarterbacks by the end of the year.
Although Travis is an electric runner, the passing game was limited with him at the helm. He struggled with accuracy and ball placement at times. If he has improved his passing this offseason, he should easily keep his starting job.
Even if he doesn’t keep that role, he is too talented to keep off the field. He could see the field as a hybrid wide receiver and halfback. Travis will continue to be an important piece of the offense regardless of who is taking the starting snaps.
A Comeback Story
FSU has gained some extra fans this year by way of the UCF Knights. Norvell wanted to bring in a transfer to elevate the quarterbacks room and he found it in fan-favorite McKenzie Milton.
Milton was in the Heisman conversation during his time at UCF. He had a quick release, impressive accuracy, and made plays with his legs.
Unfortunately, his 2018 season was cut short with a brutal leg injury. There was serious doubt whether he would keep his leg — let alone play football again.
Fast forward three years and Milton can not only use his leg, but also has been medically cleared to play football once more. There is reasonable doubt he will remain as mobile as he once was, but the spring game and offseason practice have shown his passing ability has not fallen off.
Milton has pushed his way to co-starter along with Travis as the season approaches, but it remains to be seen who will take first snaps against Notre Dame.
So Much Potential
Coming in at third on the depth chart is redshirt freshman Chubba Purdy. Little brother to Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy, the Arizona native has loads of talent and incredible potential.
His time at Florida State thus far has been shrouded with lingering injuries. As a freshman, he missed the majority of fall camp and following season. Purdy has missed most of spring camp rehabbing this year. Fall camp of 2021 was the first legitimate extended practice Purdy’s had, and he has made major strides.
Purdy has the arm talent and speed to be the future of the program. Look for the redshirt freshman to get valuable reps during garbage time.
Work In Progress
Last on the depth chart is redshirt freshman Tate Rodemaker. The three-star project out of Valdosta, Ga. has potential and arm strength but needs work on his reads and decision making. He was thrust into action too early last year and mostly looked like a deer in the headlights.
Luckily for Rodemaker, he can take his time to learn and develop as a quarterback. The last thing he needs is to be thrown into the fire and have his development stunted.