With the injury to redshirt sophomore Deondre Francois on Saturday night, Florida State football Head Coach Jimbo Fisher found himself in an unfamiliar position: giving a true freshman player a snap at quarterback. Flash forward to Sunday, when the news broke that Francois would miss the season. Fisher found himself with not just a new challenge, but one that Fisher hasn't experienced in almost 20 years: starting a true freshman at quarterback.
So how does a coach, who has not even given a snap to a true freshman in over a decade, found himself in a position of needing to start one on Saturday? We take a look at Florida State quarterback recruiting to see how Jimbo and the Seminoles found themselves in uncharted waters.
In the four years prior to last year's recruiting class (James Blackman's year) Florida State signed five quarterbacks.
2013: John Franklin III
2014: J.J. Cosentino
2015: Deondre Francois, De'Andre Johnson
2016: Malik Henry
John Franklin III, a dual-threat 3-star, transferred after the 2014 season after playing in only two games for Florida State.
Malik Henry, a 5-star quarterback, transferred after his embattled freshman year, seeing no game action (but seeing multiple suspensions).
De'Andre Johnson, a 3-star quarterback, was removed from the team after a much publicized arrest during the 2015 offseason.
J.J. Cosentino wasn't a heralded quarterback coming out of high school. The 3-star out of Pennsylvania was an unknown who picked up an offer early from Florida State after attending camp. He committed a month later and stuck with the Seminoles for nearly a year before signing his paperwork.
Cosentino redshirted his first year on campus (2014), while watching Jamies Winston and Sean Maguire lead the Seminoles. In 2015, he was the backup to Sean Maguire and saw very little action until an injury would provide him a chance.
In the first quarter of Florida State's bowl game against Houston, Maguire would go down with a foot injury. This was Cosentino's opportunity. And he failed. The redshirt freshman entered the game and looked lost. In his three series at quarterback, Cosentino completed 1 out of 4 passes for only 5 yards, while often moving the Seminoles in the wrong direction. Maguire would later finish out the game with a broken bone in his foot. In 2016, Cosentino lost out to redshirt freshman Deondre Francois for the starting role. He saw very little action in his backup spot.
And that brings us to the present year. During fall camp for the 2017 season, true freshman James Blackman won the competition for the backup role.
This wasn't Coach Fisher or Florida State's plan. A true freshman quarterback starting significant games was not what Jimbo envisioned going into this year. But the Seminoles also didn't plan on a player not developing, two transfers, an expulsion, and a season-ending injury.