I saw an interesting debate on twitter this morning: in how many games will FSU have the advantage at QB? Deondre Francois had a promising season as a red-shirt freshman in 2016. He has a strong arm, quick release, great toughness, and avoided interceptions. If he takes the next steps in the areas of accuracy, pocket presence, and processing speed, he’ll put FSU in fewer negative leverage situations, and the Seminoles could be a legitimate national title contender.
It got me thinking, so I’m turning those thoughts into a post. I think the answer is “a lot of games,” especially because the vast majority of the league’s good QBs left for the NFL Draft.
Definite advantage against: ULM, Miami, Wake Forest, Boston College, Delaware State, Florida
I don’t think this is really open for debate.
Miami fans are very excited about N’Kosi Perry, and for good reason, but that excitement might be a bit premature for a true freshman who did not enroll early, and, if he wins the job, will be making his first big road start as a true freshman in Doak Campbell Stadium.
Florida is interesting, as it will likely start red-shirt freshman Feleipe Franks. Franks has a huge arm, but is likely to experience some growing pains like Francois did.
We’ll see: Alabama, N.C. State, Duke, Syracuse, Clemson
I think Francois has the potential to be a much better passer than Jalen Hurts, but I know that Hurts was a much better runner in 2016. Hurts also has better talent around him (ESPN recently rated Alabama’s offensive talent as No. 1 in the nation). Against ranked teams, Hurts posted a QB rating of 119, while Francois had a 118. Against winning teams? Francois 135, Hurts 134. Dead even. Of course, Alabama supporters would likely argue that Hurts may make a bigger leap in 2017 as he was a true freshman, while Francois was a red-shirt freshman.
N.C. State’s Ryan Finley is also in the same ballpark as Francois production wise despite working with less talent. But I’d take Francois, because Francois was already as good, if not better, and is a year less experienced, suggesting greater potential for growth.
Duke QB Daniel Jones is highly regarded by those who watch a lot of ACC football, as he does a lot with hardly any talent around him. Like Francois, he was a red-shirt freshman in 2016. Against FBS winning teams (almost all of whom had more talent than Duke), he had a better completion percentage than Francois, but fewer yards/attempt, and a lesser QB rating. I’m taking Francois, but again, it’s not a slam dunk.
Syracuse’s Eric Dungey is on this list. The Orange don’t have much talent, and FSU will probably pound them, but you could flip the QBs and the result would almost certainly be the same. Dungey was really good when healthy, but after he went down against Clemson, Syracuse cratered. Syracuse comes to FSU in November, and we’ll see if the injury-prone Dungey is still upright.
I’m not sure who Clemson’s QB will be. I am sure that Clemson has recruited some QBs recently who are as talented, or more talented than Francois. But, following up the best QB in school history is no easy task, as Florida State fans saw after Jameis Winston left. Still, Clemson does a good job of putting its QBs in a position to succeed, and there is too much talent and uncertainty here to definitively put Clemson in either of the other categories.
Definite disadvantage against: Louisville
Louisville has Lamar Jackson. Jackson won the Heisman Trophy and might be the best passer and runner in the league. Not much need for debate here.
If I had to put a final number on it, I’d go with 9 games in which FSU will have the advantage. Considering all the talent it has at other positions, that’s a pretty sweet setup
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comment section.