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How Jordan Travis became one of the best quarterbacks in the country

Florida State Seminoles quarterback has elevated his game — and the entire offense

Charles Mays/Tomahawk Nation

From day one at Florida State, Jordan Travis established himself as fast, elusive, slippery — an athlete, and for his first few years, that was one of the only labels that most were willing to attribute to him.

This season, he’s changed the perception of himself as an athlete playing quarterback to a quarterback who’s also an elite athlete. Through eight games, he’s proven he’s a gifted thrower and precise passer, highlighted by his improved decision-making and enabled by an improved receiving corps.

Let’s take a further look into what has made Jordan Travis one of the country’s best passers.

Maximizing mobility

Over the last two seasons, the Seminoles' rushing attack has been crucial to the success of the offense — in 2021 it was the strength of their offense, but the team could not pass effectively. In 2022 rushing has improved, while the passing attack is much improved (we’ll get to that).

2021 & 2022 Team Rushing Stats

Rushing Statistic 2021 2022
Rushing Statistic 2021 2022
Yards Per Attempt 4.78 5.65
PFF Rushing Grade 80.9 90.7
TDs per Game 1.75 2.22

Jordan’s development as a passer has led to the Seminoles running the ball more efficiently. He has always been an explosive athlete but this season the threat of him in the backfield is improving the rushing attack more than him being keyed in on and used primarily as a runner.

So far this year, he’s been able to get the most out of his athleticism, avoiding pressure and creating more off-schedule passing plays.

Notably, he’s opted to throw at a much more frequent rate than attempting to take off. In 2022 so far, he’s played only 24 fewer snaps (212) than in 2021 (236) but has less than half the amount of designed rushing attempts in 2022 (26) than in 2021 (63).

Of course, Jordan is always a threat for an explosive run...

The utilization of his athleticism has allowed him to evade pressure effectively, which has helped create fewer sacks alongside Travis being more decisive with his passing and releasing the ball much quicker.

Pressure to sack rate:

  • 2021: 23.1%
  • 2022: 10.2%

Sacks taken:

  • 2021: 25 (271 dropbacks)
  • 2022: 9 (254 dropbacks)

Time to throw:

  • 2021: 3.25 seconds
  • 2022: 2.77 seconds

Prior to this season, Travis would take lots of sacks, some due to him holding the ball too long and allowing the defense to convert pressure into a play. This season he has cut his pressure-to-sack rate in half, a testimony to the speeding up of his decision-making process.

His development as a passer and confidence in his arm instilled after spending the offseason as the sole starter has created a very dangerous offense, one just a few improvements from being one of the nation’s best.

Deep Ball Efficiency

Jordan Travis has always been willing to be aggressive with the deep ball, taking aggressive shots often.

The difference between his deep throws from 2021 to 2022 is how efficient he has been with them.

Jordan Travis Deep Throws

Throws Over 20+ Yards 2021 2022
Throws Over 20+ Yards 2021 2022
Adjusted Compleiton % 37.10% 54.80%
PFF Passing Grade 88.9 93.7
NFL Passer Rating 83.6 123.5
TD:INT 4:4 6:1

He’s throwing the ball more accurately downfield, showing massive improvement in how well he has protected the ball. His adjusted completion rate has jumped by almost double — potentially as telling of his elevation as any other stat. Improving accuracy at that kind of rate does not happen by accident.

He has thrown more touchdowns and fewer interceptions on more throws — so even though he is targeting receivers more often over 20+ yards his overall efficiency improving.

I made this thread of all of his deep-thrown touchdowns this season, showcasing what makes him such a dangerous player:

In short, Travis has been extremely effective throwing deep without putting the ball in harm's way — not just compared to last year, but at an impressive rate.

This has helped open up the rest of the Seminoles' offense, taking pressure off the run game and only improving the intermediate and short passing game.

The Seminoles' offense has just seen an overall jump in production with Jordan’s jump in efficiency:

FSU Offensive Production

Team Stats (via ESPN) 2021 2022
Team Stats (via ESPN) 2021 2022
Yards Per Game 379.3 487.1
Points Per Game 27.6 32.1
Passing Yards Per Game 201.6 277.5

His improvement has obviously been helped by the infusion of talent in the wide receiver room, with Seminoles providing him with options like Johnny Wilson and Mycah Pittman, but Travis has been the one able to put it all together and push the offense forward.