James Blackman is Florida State’s quarterback and chances are, you didn’t hear his name until Saturday night.
So, in the interest of giving you the easiest access to what we know about Florida State’s newest starting quarterback (and first ever true freshman starter under Jimbo Fisher!), I’ve compiled everything that was written, said or seen about him prior to Saturday’s game, and some things from the last few days.
We’ve had a good bit of content on the Slim Reaper on Tomahawk Nation, dating back to his commitment in August 2016, so I’ve broken things up into sections to make your reading experience as convenient as possible.
What makes James Blackman a potential future FSU starting quarterback?
This article, aptly written and titled by Curt Weiler, is a perfect place to start.
To show how early the high expecations for Blackman were set, that piece was written in February.
With Deondre Francois entering his redshirt sophomore season, Blackman will have time to learn Florida State’s system and develop into the high-ceiling player he has the potential to be. He is not a likely candidate for early playing time, but he is definitely someone to keep an eye on down the line at FSU.
Also included in that article is a scouting report on Blackman from Tomahawk Nation:
Blackman is a high ceiling, low floor quarterback prospect. Blackman whips the ball and can throw with good velocity. He uses a tight, repeatable motion to get the ball out of his hand quickly. Blackman shows good touch and accuracy on the deep ball, but can make all the throws on the field. He does this on the run, as most of his film shows him avoiding defensive linemen.
Blackman has the potential to be a difference making prospect and is the perfect compliment to the safer Hockman. This is a prospect to be very excited about.
Just yesterday, our Mark Sanders offered a complete analysis of Blackman’s high school film:
While some areas of Blackman’s game might be raw, he has a high ceiling with a ton of traits that translate well to the college game. Being thrown into the fire this early might not be ideal, but luckily for Florida State, it has one of the best offensive coaches in football, a solid offensive line, and a ton of skill talent around him to ease the transition and take some of the pressure off.
Last week, at the first Jimbo Fisher call-in show of the season, the head coach took time to praise Blackman when asked a question about the backup quarterbacks.
He said J.J. Cosentino’s name, and then beginning praising Blackman, saying that “he’s probably had the best camp.”
Offensive Landon Dickerson offered his thoughts on the freshman on Monday:
“He does a great job...the way he talks can make everyone else go on with him,” Dickerson said. “He’s motivated, he’s always positive and he’s trying to bring people with him. He wants to motivate others...he’s always had a really supportive mindset and I respect that.”
Here’s Bud Elliott from when Blackman initially committed to Florida State:
Blackman told Tomahawk Nation in July that in offering him, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher told him that he loves the way he throws the ball, loves his footwork and wants him at Florida State.
Blackman is the second quarterback commitment in the class, joining Bailey Hockman. Our David Visser recently wrote as to why FSU was planning to take two quarterbacks in the cycle.
Blackman will have work to do in the weight room and in playing from the pocket, but he does possess some promising tools and playing for a QB guru in Jimbo Fisher was apparently too difficult to pass up.
Throughout training camp, Blackman’s impressive performances have been consistently referenced. Fisher had this to say at the beginning of August:
Fisher says that he loves the demeanor and presence of newly-arrived QB James Blackman. "Now just have to see how he picks it up."— Curt Weiler (@CurtMWeiler) August 1, 2017
He also offered praise on August 10:
“Very impressed. Picking things up. Very knowledgable. Very natural. Stores information well. Moves well. Has good presence and command. I think he’s doing a really nice job.”
Here’s some tweets from back in the olden days when practice footage existed:
This, from Bob Ferrante of Noles247, shows off Blackman’s throwing motion:
Freshman quarterback James Blackman takes part in his first practice at #FSU pic.twitter.com/TC8hiziRc7— Bob Ferrante (@BobFerrante) August 1, 2017
Which is further shown off in these tweets from our Andrew Miller and Curt Weiler:
Nice pass from James Blackman to Tre' McKitty. #FSU pic.twitter.com/vBr1PcZPMi— Andrew Miller (@Andrew_Miller36) August 17, 2017
James Blackman with a nice throw of his own. #FSU freshman QBs look good early in camp. pic.twitter.com/L0IbKwCF63— Curt Weiler (@CurtMWeiler) August 3, 2017
#FSU QB James Blackman with a dime to Alex Marshall. pic.twitter.com/hfW8uzdP0r— Andrew Miller (@Andrew_Miller36) August 5, 2017
Great passes from Francois, Cosentino, Hockman and Blackman in that order. #FSU pic.twitter.com/NP7mkgu1rV— Andrew Miller (@Andrew_Miller36) August 13, 2017
And to top things off, here’s a video from Florida State made for National Signing Day: