CLEMSON, SC - SEPTEMBER 24: Clint Trickett #9 of the Florida State Seminoles drops back to pass against the Clemson Tigers during their game at Memorial Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
This is the fourth in a series of posts counting down the most important players for Florida State in 2012. There are 54 days until FSU football, and that's how many are left on the list. That means no off days. These are not in any specific order.
Son of FSU assistant head coach/offensive line coach Rick Trickett...outstanding student who graduated early from high school with a 3.8 GPA...carried a three-star ranking from both Rivals and Scout...Rivals rated him as the No. 36 quarterback in the nation...earned All-Big Bend honors as a senior...member of the Florida Super 75 list by the Florida Times-Union and was rated the No. 3 quarterback...rated No. 8 quarterback in Florida by Bill Buchalter of the Orlando Sentinel...member of the SuperPrep All-America 290 as the 10th rated quarterback nationally...threw two touchdowns for the North team in the FACA All-Star game...completed 103 of 169 pass attempts for 1,671 yards, 21 TDs and seven interceptions as a senior...in three seasons amassed more than 5,300 passing yards and tossed 59 touchdown passes for the perennial small school state power...earned first-team 1A/1B All-State honors as a junior...won a state championship as a sophomore...had multiple offers but settled on FSU after closely considering Florida and Arkansas...born March 19, 1991. -- Seminoles.com
The backup quarterback is often the most popular player on a football team, or so the saying goes. That might not be the case in Tallahassee, but it's probably pretty close after red-shirt sophomore Clint Trickett came in and nearly led Florida State back over Oklahoma after starter EJ Manuel went down with an injury.
The hype around Trickett only grew after he threw for 336 yards and three scores against a Clemson defense that, at the time, nobody knew would be one of the worst in the BCS.
It all came crashing down the next week at Wake Forest, as Trickett struggled and did not receive much help from a jumbled and injured offensive line, a senior running back taking a ridiculous safety, etc. He wouldn't throw another pass all season as Manuel played the second half and returned for good the week after.
So is the book closed on Trickett? Hardly. Trickett has a quick release and is accurate. His arm is not huge, and he is slight of build, being listed at a generous 6'2 and 180 pounds. Insert the comment about him gaining good weight after being diagnosed with celiac disease. He's definitely bigger now than he was during any of his first two years on campus.
The Countdown* 57: Cason Beatty, Punter
* 56: Terrence Brooks, Safety
* 55: Dan Hicks, Tight End
* 54: Clint Trickett, Quarterback
Trickett makes the list of 57 because of his value as a backup. He has a good understanding of the offense, perhaps even greater than Manuel. It's quite rare to find those traits in a reserve QB, and allows FSU to run close to its full offense should Manuel go down and Trickett be pressed into action.
That said, there should be no quarterback controversy between Manuel and Trickett. Trickett as a full-time starter is not nearly as appealing as he is in spot duty. Manuel is the better player and gives the best chance to win.
Manuel has suffered a number of freak, non-chronic injuries during his time in Tallahassee, and if needed, Florida State fans have to feel good about having a backup in Trickett who can deliver the ball accurately and run about as much of the offense as their starter.