The 2019 recruting cycle has come and gone, and with it so has every blue-chip quarterback. Most power five programs add one or two quarterbacks a year, in order to make sure that there are no depth issues. Every power five program signs at least one quarterback over the course of two seasons; it’s common practice.
Well, except for Florida State.
FSU’s QB Woes
The Seminoles have not signed a quarterback since the 2017 recruiting cycle, when James Blackman sent in his letter of intent to Tallahassee. After understandably not being able to sign a quarterback in the 2018 cycle, many Seminole fans expected FSU to sign a QB in 2019, as did the coaching staff.
Four-star signal caller Sam Howell was a longtime FSU commit, before flipping to North Carolina in December. Because he had been with the ‘Noles so long, the coaching staff wasn’t strongly recruiting other quarterbacks and had to scramble during the last month of the cycle. Lance Legendre and John Rhys Plumlee, both blue chips, were heavily recruited by the ‘Noles since December. Many FSU insiders and fans expected at least one of those quarterbacks to sign.
By my count, 121 high school quarterbacks signed with Power Five programs in the 2018 and 2019 recruiting cycles.— Brendan Sonnone (@BSonnone) February 6, 2019
There are 65 Power Five programs (ND included).
FSU is the only P5 program that has yet to sign a high school QB in the past two cycles. https://t.co/buCpPDS63f
Sadly, neither of them did. Legendre signed with Maryland and Plumlee went with his homestate school of Ole Miss. Both of which left Florida State without a signed scholarship quarterback for the second straight season. Combine that with the transfer of Bailey Hockman last September and the departure of Deondre Francois, and the Seminoles have exactly one scholarship quarterback on their roster.
New Year, Same Problems
Having a lack of quarterback depth is nothing new for Florida State. Since 2014, every QB who has signed on to play in Tallahassee has either been dismissed from the program, or transferred out; everyone except James Blackman. This list includes:
- Malik Henry, a five-star quarterback who transferred (but was probably actually dismissed)
- Deondre Johnson:four-star QB who was the Gatorade Player of the Year in Florida in 2015. He was dismissed for punching a woman at a bar
- JJ Costentino: four star QB who left the program after three years. Only took significant snaps in 2016 Peach Bowl, where he looked very bad.
- Bailey Hockman: four star QB who transferred after one season
- Deandre Francois: Led the ‘Noles for two seasons, but was just dismissed for domestic violence after a multitude of incidents
So What Now?
So now, the Florida State quarterback ‘room’ is just James Blackman and a bunch of walkons. It is likely that the ‘Noles will try and get another grad transfer into the program, after bringing in Louisville transfer Jordan Travis earlier this offseason. Travis is a good addition to the QB room, but barring an unlikely waiver from the NCAA, it’s doubftul he’ll be able to play this season. The top quarterback on the market is currently Josh Jackson, and that’s who many exepect the coaching staff to go after in the coming weeks.
Florida State finds itself in a precarious spot at the most important position in sports. James Blackman is a very capable quarterback, but if he were to go down, so would the team’s season. I have long been a strong supporter of Coach Taggart, even after the dissipointing 2018 season. And the 2019 FSU recruiting class wasn’t bad by any means; it addressed the major offensive line issues that the team has faced, plus stacked up an elite defensive back class.
But the lack of a quarterback is very concerning. I still think Taggart is the right hire, and that the rebuild he has had to undertake was much larger than most of us realized. The lack of quarterback, though, could doom next season if Blackman gets hurt.
If that happens, the Seminole boosters might be faced with a tough decision on whether to retain Coach Taggart.