There's nothing like springtime. March Madness starts heating up, we trade the cold for pollen, and Florida State Football gets to put on pads and hit each other for a bit. This year there is a smidge more excitement surrounding that last bit than many would have guessed.
Head Coach Mike Norvell has been at the helm for just over a year now and his first year didn’t seem great from an outsider's perspective; however, the picture is completely different to anyone with a close eye towards the program. Things are trending up for the Seminoles and nowhere is that more apparent than the quarterback position.
There are several players who are worth watching at this position this spring but none sit at the forefront of the FSU consciousness like McKenzie Milton
2021 Florida State Seminoles Quarterbacks
THE COMEBACK KID: McKenzie Milton
McKenzie Milton is a transfer quarterback from UCF in his final year of eligibility. He proved to be one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country in his time in Orlando. His 2017 season in particular stands out. He ranked second in the country in yards per attempt and completion percentage, coming in a close second in both categories to the Heisman winning Baker Mayfield. He did this through his use of unorthodox arm angles, a quick release, and feet that could get hollow out space in the pocket.
Before you start buying up National Championship replica jerseys there is some doubt that follows this undoubtedly talented quarterback.
The first thing to keep in mind is that Milton underwent a horrific leg injury late in the 2018 season. This was no routine leg break. There were questions as to whether he would be able to keep his leg, let alone play football on it.
This will unquestionably affect his ability to gain yards with his legs and may be a hindrance to his pocket presence but the leg isn’t the only question potential question regarding his transition to the Seminoles.
While the AAC (UCF’s conference) is improving as a conference it is not yet a P5 conference. There will be a talent gap from what Milton is used to. He proved his ability to take on the top dogs in his performance in the 34-27 victory over Auburn in the 2018 Peach Bowl but can he reproduce that performance week in and week out? Only time will tell.
MR. FOOTBALL: Jordan Travis
Redshirt Sophomore Jordan Travis was the starting quarterback for the majority of FSU’s 2020 season. He was one of the most reliable and successful players wearing garnet and gold and yet many do not expect him to win his job back to start next season.
As a dual-threat quarterback, Travis has shown a lot more promise using his legs than his arm. He is one of the more electric athletes with the ball in his hands on the roster. For this reason, expect him to get the second-most snaps of any quarterback but not necessarily at the QB position.
Last year Norvell showed he was willing to experiment with Travis. When James Blackman was named starter early in the season Jordan Travis took snaps in the backfield as both a quarterback and running back and he even got some run at slot receiver.
An athlete like Jordan Travis has to touch the field. Whether he is getting his snaps directly or it's taking a longer path to get in his hands he should be a name all FSU fans are keeping a watch on.
THE GOLDEN BOY: Chubba Purdy
Redshirt freshman Chubba Purdy has everything you want in a young quarterback. He has the size, arm strength, and speed to be a potential NFL draft pick a few years down the line.
The last part of that sentence was important though. Purdy got some run in games down the stretch last year and showed a lot of promise. He threw the ball well and made some things happen with his feet. His ability and talent is clear but he has some room for improvement.
To live to his full potential Purdy needs to refine some of the rough edges of his game. These things, which include improving touch over the middle of the field and getting used to the speed of D1 athletes, are all things that could use some work on. Luckily these are minor things that often get fixed with game experience.
For this reason, Purdy should get a fair amount of snaps as the season progresses. He is the future of the program as it stands now and Norvell is smart enough to know that and prepare for that future.
THE PROJECT: Tate Rodemaker
Redshirt Freshman Tate Rodemaker was a coaches kid out of high school and it shows. His form in a vacuum looks solid and he has the arm strength to make the throws anywhere on the field. His long-term outlook has potential, but with potential comes risk.
There's a lot of similarities between his game and James Blackman. Blackman was also a lanky 3 star with a strong arm and potential long-term upside. Unfortunately for him, he was thrown into the fire too early and never got that essential time to develop.
Luckily for Rodemaker that is less of an issue. He can spend some time learning and getting comfortable with the system and potentially be a solid option at quarterback in a few years' time.
This is the most talented quarterback room FSU has had in a few years. There is a bright present with Milton and Travis and a bright future with Purdy and Rodemaker, but don’t just take my word for it.
While words can say a lot a picture can say approximately 1000 times more. So how much more can video say? I would be remiss if I didn’t remind all those interested in this topic of this video by Tomahawk Nation’s Triple Option video podcast. Here the guys lay out all of FSU’s quarterback options and back up their conclusions with film from each player. If you haven’t checked out one of these videos this is a good one to start with.