When James Blackman took his first snap vs. NC State on Saturday, it marked the first time since 1985 that a true freshman quarterback started at Florida State. Once the game concluded, Florida State ended up on the losing side of the scoreboard. There were many reasons and areas that could be blamed, whether that be the receivers, red zone offense, or poor defensive play. However, the play of James Blackman in his collegiate debut was not a point of criticism.
The Belle Glade, Fla. native threw for 278 yards on 22-38 passing and a touchdown. Of the eight total quarterbacks to make their debut under Jimbo Fisher at FSU, the NC State defense that Blackman faced was the third toughest according to S&P+ rankings. Despite those challenges, the true freshman had coaches and his fellow teammates pleased with his results.
One of those teammates, redshirt sophomore defensive back Derwin James, didn’t miss a beat after being asked about Blackman’s performance postgame,
“He’s good. He played a great game for his first time being up there. It’s a lot of pressure playing quarterback...I tilt my hat off for him for stepping up and going out there making plays.”
Junior running back Jacques Patrick also chimed in,
“He showed a lot of poise. He never got flustered as a true freshman in his first start. It was very intriguing and something you can build off of. I’m really proud of him and the way that he came out and stepped up for our team.”
There was a reoccurring theme of Blackman’s teammates being proud and excited to see how the talented quarterback will progress through the season.
Defensive end Brian Burns agreed with his teammates’ assessment,
“I like James. I really do. I think he’s a great upcoming leader. He played with a lot of poise. He played like he’s been there before. I’m proud of him, he did a great job.”
While Blackman and his fellow teammates can say all they want about his performance, head coach Jimbo Fisher’s opinion is the one that means the most.
“I thought he did a great job in the game for a young guy making throws and decisions he made for the most part taking care of the ball, I definitely do. I thought he prepared himself very well.”
Fisher wasn’t the only head coach to praise Blackman following Saturday’s performance. Opposing NC State head coach Dave Doeren also spoke highly of the true freshman.
“For a true freshman, he played well. He threw some good deep balls. Even made a couple of plays on his feet. We had no idea if he could run or not from the film we had. He’s going to be a good player for them...For a true freshman in his first college start he was pretty impressive.”
With a full season left and years of eligibility remaining, James Blackman is shaping up to be a reliable option at the helm of the Florida State offense.