After the graduation of Sean Maguire and the departure of Malik Henry after the 2016 season, Florida State is in desperate need of quarterback depth. Luckily for the Seminoles, they have a pair of quarterbacks in their 2017 recruiting class. One of these two, Bailey Hockman, is already on campus as an early enrollee. The other, James Blackman, will be arriving over the summer and has potentially the higher ceiling of the two.
Blackman, a four-star quarterback on Rivals and 247 and a three-star on ESPN and Scout, grades out as a three-star QB on 247Sports’ composite rankings. He rates as the No. 391 overall prospect, the No. 18 pro-style quarterback, and the No. 51 player from Florida in the 2017 recruiting class.
His 6’5 frame is ideal for the quarterback position and something that current starter Deondre Francois lacks. However, his most recent recorded weight of 195 pounds is far too low and will surely be an early goal of the training staff once he arrives on campus.
Blackman, hailing from Bella Glade (Fla.) Glades Central, earned his Florida State offer after he impressed the coaching staff at a Jimbo Fisher Camp session last July. A few weeks later on August 3rd of 2016, Blackman announced his commitment to FSU. He made no visits to Tallahassee over the 2016 season and was rumored to be in talks for a potential visit to West Virginia before an in-home visit from co-offensive coordinators Randy Sanders and Lawrence Dawsey caused Blackman to shut down his recruitment and stand by his pledge to FSU on January 16th, just days after his official visit to Florida State concluded.
Along with Florida State and West Virginia, Blackman held scholarship offers from Miami, Louisville, and Temple, among others.
With Deondre Francois entering his redshirt sophomore season, Blackman will have time to learn Florida State’s system and develop into the high-ceiling player he has the potential to be. He is not a likely candidate for early playing time, but he is definitely someone to keep an eye on down the line at FSU.
Included below is our scouting report on Blackman, from a high school coach on our staff.
Blackman is a high ceiling, low floor quarterback prospect. Blackman whips the ball and can throw with good velocity. He uses a tight, repeatable motion to get the ball out of his hand quickly. Blackman shows good touch and accuracy on the deep ball, but can make all the throws on the field. He does this on the run, as most of his film shows him avoiding defensive linemen.
Blackman can get his shoulders around when throwing on the run or can take off when needed to. When he recognizes the coverage, he hits the top of his drop and gets the ball out of his hand on time. He has the ability to throw from different arm angles to get the ball around defenders. Blackman’s height allows him to throw over the top and keep the ball from being batted down. He has a knack for throwing from a balanced stance even when he is falling away, but his whipping motion provides plenty of velocity for the ball to get to its target.
Blackman has the potential to be a difference making prospect and is the perfect compliment to the safer Hockman. This is a prospect to be very excited about.