Florida State landed quarterback Jordan Travis as a transfer from Louisville as a late Christmas present this Boxing Day Wednesday. Travis is a class of 2018 quarterback from the Benjamin School in North Palm Beach, Florida. Ranked a high three-star prospect by all the major recruiting services, he committed to Louisville in the summer of 2017.
Louisville was not the only offer Travis had, however. According to Rivals, Florida Atlantic offered him a scholarship— while current FSU offensive coordinator Kendal Briles was there. Baylor offered Travis as well, and while the timeline is not entirely clear, Briles may have been on the Bears’ staff at the time. This makes sense, as Jordan Travis is an excellent fit for the Briles/Taggart offensive mentality.
While looking into Travis and his eventual decision to head south to Tallahassee, we came across this article from Card Chronicle, our sister site that covers Louisville for SB Nation. In announcing Travis’ choice to leave the Cardinals, one thing was made very clear by our colleague Mike Rutherford, who penned that piece: Louisville did not, at all, like losing Travis.
Travis played in just three games for Louisville in 2018, which is good news for FSU, because he can redshirt that season. However, it does mean that we have limited collegiate game film to work with, so let’s start with his senior highlight film from high school:
Travis identified and threw a lot of good “50/50” balls, finding his receivers in single coverage in wide areas. He shows good deep ball accuracy. One throw was over 60 yards in the air, so arm strength is not a serious concern.
These are critical in the Briles offense: being able to identify and let playmakers try to win contested catches in single coverage is an important component of the Gulf Coast Offense, including the Waco/Houston variety.
Travis is arguably the most athletic quarterback FSU has had since Christian Ponder. He is not an athlete who plays quarterback, but a quarterback who is very athletic.
Another significant plus is that noted QB guru Bobby Petrino brought Travis in and played him as a true freshman. Petrino played Travis against Boston College to try to “provide a spark,” recognizing him as a serious playmaker and not simply depth.
But speaking of Travis’ time with Louisville, the aforementioned Mike Rutherford was good enough to answer some questions for us, given what he and the folks at Card Chronicle were hearing from the inside. Here are our questions, along with his answers:
David Visser: We know that Travis has a big arm, but what of his accuracy? Deondre Francois often threw plays out of sync by poorly locating passes, even ones he completed. Travis’ in-game passes were far too small a sample size, but what was the word about his placement on short, intermediate, and deep throws in practice?
Mike Rutherford: Like you stated, this is a tough one to answer since Travis saw limited snaps during games and also wasn’t around to participate in the 2018 spring game. All I can tell you is that almost immediately from the time he arrived on campus last spring, the word from the wide receivers was that he had the liveliest and most accurate arm of any of the quarterbacks on Louisville’s roster. Once camp started in the summer, it was the coaches who started repeating the same thing.
DV: Let’s talk about running the ball. What’s Travis’ reputation as a rusher (again, practice notes are fine)? Specifically, was he known for making the right reads on when to give and when to keep the ball? Does he run with trepidation?
MR: Travis was billed as a “dual threat” coming out of high school, and while he wasn’t Lamar Jackson, his rushing numbers were solid. It should also be noted that he won the same Groza Award (given to the best player in Palm Beach County) that Jackson did in high school.
He scrambled effectively during his limited number of game snaps, but never gave any sort of clear indication as to how he might fare running something like the read option if he were Louisville’s every down quarterback. Still, him notching 845 yards and 16 touchdowns on just 71 carries (an 11.9 yards per carry average) as a senior in high school leads me to believe that he could be a solid runner for FSU.
DV: Finally, concerning off-the-field matters: what kind of teammate was Travis at Louisville? What was his locker room persona like? His demeanor at practice?
MR: Again, we couldn’t go to practice and Travis was rarely available to the media, so it’s a little tough to answer this. My understanding was he was known for being a bit quiet, which is understandable for any true freshman quarterback sitting at third on the depth chart.
Our thanks to Mike for taking his time during the holiday season to respond to our queries. In summation, we’d just like to add that Florida State fans should be excited to have such an athletic option at quarterback, who seems to fit the offensive philosophy quite well. Even if he does not become a starter, Travis significantly improves the quarterback room the moment he steps into his first meeting.
And as a parting gift, here’s a quick glimpse of Travis using his legs in 2018 against Georgia Tech: