The Florida State football team was in a great situation with its quarterbacks going into the start of the regular season. Jameis Winston, a 5 star all-world recruit, and Jacob Coker a 3-star who was being chased heavily by Alabama after he was offered and committed to Florida State. There are some who actually believe that Coker outplayed Winston during Fall camp when they were competing for the starting job of the 2013 season. Winston won the job, and Coker was a very good backup.
There is a general consensus that Coker potentially has a future as an NFL quarterback. He was getting some decent film of his game when he would come in for Jameis Winston after the first team offense blew away most of FSU's competition. The game against Boston College is the only game this season that Jameis Winston has played the whole time, so Coker was getting quite a few reps in. Unfortunately Jacob Coker is missing the rest of the regular season after he went down with a knee injury in garbage time against Wake Forest. So who takes hold of the back-up QB position?
Enter Sean Maguire, an unheralded 3 star recruit from New Jersey whose other FBS offers came from Buffalo and Boston College. He was also in the same recruiting class as Jameis Winston. It seemed like he would not be a player that would be getting a good slice of playing time while he was at Florida State. Many people will doubt the ability of a 3 star recruit to produce at a high level for a high level FBS program, but Jimbo Fisher certainly knows what he's looking for in his quarterbacks, which is why he had no problem offering Maguire a scholarship when his only other offer was Buffalo at the time.
Because of Coker's injury, Sean Maguire got some of his first meaningful snaps of his career in the game against Syracuse. Yes, Florida State was up 38-0 at the half, but Jimbo Fisher normally lets Jameis Winston command the offense for one more drive at the beginning of the second half. Instead, we saw Sean Maguire trot out on the field with the first team offense, a luxury that Jacob Coker did not get too many times.
Maguire didn't come out and put on a clinic for everyone, but we did see some flashes of his talent and potential. Namely, on a beautiful 17 yard throw to Nick O'Leary for his first collegiate touchdown pass in his career. I think the word I used after to describe the play was "perty" or something along those lines. Maguire would also throw an interception on the next drive, glaringly showing us his inexperience.
Maguire's teammates were incredibly happy for him, as was Jimbo Fisher. When asked about getting Maguire into the game early Jimbo said "I felt very comfortable and thought we needed to give him quality snaps and wanted to keep the one's in there in there with him a little bit so he could feel comfortable and be able to execute his part of the gameplan and I thought he did a nice job." Jimbo was obviously pretty happy with his performance despite the mistakes and it can still be confirmed that Jimbo only speaks in run on sentences. When asked about his TD pass to Nick O'Leary Jimbo also said "You see some of Sean's talents. Sean has the arm talent, he just needs reps and what we're doing and he's going to be a good player."
I got to talk to some of the players after the game and they were incredibly excited for Maguire's first foray as a QB for a big time program. Jameis Winston heaped praise on his fellow Redshirt Freshman compatriot telling us "Sean has a cannon. He's young just like me, so obviously we're still learning the offense." Winston also remarked about how Sean Maguire can be successful in this system due to how excellent of a QB coach Jimbo Fisher is.
I also got some one on one time with Junior Guard Josue Matias and asked him about Maguire working with the first team offense and I loved his answer. Matias told us "You couldn't even tell the difference. He came in like Jameis, with a big smile. He was excited and we were excited for him. We jsut went out and protected him and blocked for him." I also asked Matias about Maguire's first career passing touchdown and he said he was pretty happy that he was able to be part of that experience.
We got around to asking Nick O'Leary about the touchdown as well, seeing as he grabbed it. O'Leary also broke the FSU record for TD receptions by a Tight End on the play. O'Leary had this to say about the play, "it was just cool to be Sean's first touchdown and it was also the record-breaking touchdown for me, so for both of those things to happen was pretty amazing. He threw the perfect ball." Maguire and O'Leary are also roommates and Maguire remarked that O'Leary is one of his best friends so I can imagine that that made the touchdown even more special for them.
Lastly, we got around to talking to Sean Maguire about his performance. He was incredibly excited about getting the opportunity to gets some reps with the first team offense. He said "it has been awesome in practice knowing you're going to get a lot of reps in the game. I just try to make the most of my reps in practice and carry it over in the game. I had some jitters on that first play, but once I got that first snap, I was fine". He also told us that Jameis Winston was a huge help to him the whole week of practice, specifically with reads and middle linebacker calls. When asked how he felt about his touchdown pass he simply said "it was pretty awesome". Overall, Maguire was pretty happy with his overall performance and understood some of the mistakes that he made and what he can do to correct them. It will be interesting to see how he does for the rest of the year considering he will still have a chance to get a good amount of reps in before it's all said and done.
It is incredibly important that Sean Maguire gets as many reps as he possibly can, because there is a decent chance that he could be FSU's starting quarterback in 2015. I get the feeling that Jameis will be leaving after his redshirt Sophomore season and there is also a strong collective feeling that Jacob Coker will be transferring to another program after this season. That leaves Sean Maguire as a Redshirt Junior, Jonathan Franklin as a redshirt Sophomore, and current 2014 recruits JJ Consentino and Treon Harris as Redshirt Freshman. There could also be a few unnamed players and things can obviously change at the drop of a dime in college football. I know that FSU fans would love nothing more than to have a somewhat experienced quarterback take the reigns after the Jameis Winston era.