clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jordan Travis, Trey Benson excelled in 2022 — and can only get better

The duo accounted for 76.3% of total offensive yards over the final 5 games of the season

Syndication: Tallahassee Democrat Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat / USA TODAY NETWORK

FLORIDA STATE- Not too long after Florida State finished off the 2022 regular season with its best record in six years (9-3, 5-3 ACC), still-eligible players started to make decisions on whether to return to Tallahassee for another season.

While some players are still waiting to make official announcements, on the offensive side of the ball, Seminoles fans got excellent news fairly quickly as both starting quarterback Jordan Travis and running back Trey Benson announced their return for the 2023 season.

On a team that managed to produce one of the most explosive offenses in the country, Benson and Travis were the only 2 FSU players with a 90+ PFF offensive grade (the next highest being 82.6).

With both getting another offseason to perfect their role in Mike Norvell's offense, it’s reasonable to expect them to be even better than they were in 2022.

Both of them had some elite seasons this year:

Trey Benson:

77 missed tackles forced (tied for 4th) on 141 rushing attempts with every player ahead of him having at least 100 more rushing attempts

1st among RBs in yards after contact per attempt (4.76), and PFF’s elusiveness rating

Top 10 in YPA (6.9), runs over 15 yards (22), PFF run grade (92.8), and offensive grade (91.0) among RBs

Jordan Travis:

Top 15 in Big Time Throw % (6.4), ADOT (10.7), and PFF passing grade (86.4)

Top 10 in Turnover Worthy Play % (1.8), YPA (8.9), PFF QB rushing grade (78.3), and offensive grade (90.6)

Perhaps the most exciting thing to look forward to next season is a full season of Trey Benson in the starting role and what he can do to elevate the offense. Benson ended the season as a workhorse running back but in the Seminoles’ first 7 games, he had 4 games with 7 or fewer rushing attempts.

Over the course of the full season, the Seminoles ranked 70th in the FBS in red zone scoring (83.6% conversion). In the last 5 games, when Benson took 86 of his 141 rushing attempts, they converted 26 of 28 red zone opportunities (92.8%) which would have ranked 7th in all of college football.

As for Travis, he’s gotten better every year at FSU, and things shouldn’t be anything different in 2023.

This past season he improved in two main areas — producing fewer negative plays and operating in a clean pocket. When under pressure in 2021, he would get sacked on 23% of the dropbacks, below average compared to the rest of the country. This past season, that number dropped to 13%.

Included within that were some of the ridiculous highlight-reel plays against Florida, but he also had a massive leap as a decisive decision-maker.

One of the biggest knocks against him heading into 2022 was how long he held onto the ball — last season, he held onto the ball for an average of 3.25 seconds per passing play and that led to him getting sacked often.

That dropped to an average of 2.85 seconds in 2022, a key indicator of his progression. By getting the ball out of his hands early and often, he created fewer opportunities for negative plays.

That quicker release coupled with his already-present athleticism (and an improved supporting cast) led to fewer sacks, allowing him to flourish and excell in the passing game.

Further indication of his progression as a quarterback, Travis became one of the best in the country with a clean pocket in 2022.

When kept clean, he was 3rd in yards per attempt, becoming PFF’s 4th highest-graded QB and ranked 6th in both big-time throw percentage and NFL passer rating.

With another year of development and understanding of this offense, he should be even better. Along with that the upgrades to his receiving core which includes receiver Winston Wright Jr. (returning from injury), Hykeem Williams (2023 high school signee), and transfer tight ends Jaheim Bell and Kyle Morlock will only take this offense to another level.

The combination of Benson and Travis made this team one of the most dangerous in the country, a truly elite stretch of offensive football. This offense was trending in the right direction to end the season, but after you take a closer look they have an opportunity to be among the best in the nation.