FSU took its turn on the main stage in Charlotte on Wednesday with head coach Mike Norvell, quarterback Jordan Travis, defensive end Jared Verse and linebacker Kalen DeLoach all speaking with the media at this year’s ACC Kickoff.
MIKE NORVELL: Because that is the standard at Florida State. We had the greatest example I think in collegiate football history of being able to sustain success.
What Coach Bowden and that staff and those great teams, what they were able to accomplish, there were tremendous players on the field, but it was also the standard and expectations for who they were developing and growing to be off the field.
I’ve got a great responsibility leading this program. I was fortunate to be able to meet Coach Bowden within those first couple of months of getting the job. I’ll never forget sitting down with him at my desk in that office. I remember him telling me, be true to who you are, and you continue to make an impact on those young men helping them to where they’re going.
That’s a daily challenge, and I owe it to him. I owe it to his legacy to make sure we’re doing this a certain way because I fully believe success is coming.
JORDAN TRAVIS: Coach Norvell recruits great people, before the player. This team is a really special team.
It’s very easy to gel with this team. All you have to do is work hard and be a good person. All those people are really good people. That’s the main thing.
It’s fun to be on the team with them. It’s fun to work with them. Yeah, I mean, their film speaks for itself. They are a bunch of great players, and I do look forward to throwing the ball to them a lot.
THE MODERATOR: Before we let you go, are our notes correct? Is this your third time here?
JORDAN TRAVIS: Yes, sir, it is.
THE MODERATOR: I think that’s a Kickoff record. Welcome home, right?
JORDAN TRAVIS: Yes, sir.
JARED VERSE: I wouldn’t say I’m a talker. I have casual conversations (laughing).
The one person who probably got me, I’m not going to lie, it was Treshaun Ward during a scrimmage. He was running inside. It was an inside play. I had it cut off, and I was, like, he is about to get it. He spun outside of it and he pointed at me after he spun and got away. The rest of the practice I didn’t talk because I couldn’t. He just did it to me the worst way (laughing).
KALEN DeLOACH: I’m very excited. We got some dogs up front. You know, we got Verse. We got Fabien. We got Braden Fiske. We got Darrell Jackson. We got Pat Payton. I feel like there’s a lot to worry about up front to where it’s going to help the back end from the linebackers back to make plays just to be free and run and tackle. That’s what we do best.
A great piece by ESPN’s David Hale, who took a look at new Arizona State head coach Kenny Dillingham’s history as a quarterback developer — including an interesting section about Jordan Travis:
Travis was broken when he first met Dillingham, and he was desperate for someone to believe in him. He’d begun his career at Louisville, where he endured Bobby Petrino’s tumultuous final year with the Cardinals, before transferring to Florida State — his dream school, the place where his older brother, Devon, had been a baseball star — with a plan to restart his career. Instead, Willie Taggart and his staff convinced Travis he wasn’t cut out for quarterback, exiling the sophomore to the fringes of the depth chart.
Dillingham, then just 29, was in his first days as Florida State’s new offensive coordinator under recently hired head coach Mike Norvell in 2020 when he first met Travis, who promptly suggested he switch positions.
“I had zero confidence,” Travis said. “The previous staff didn’t believe in me, and I didn’t think this staff would either. But I was wrong.”
Dillingham wasn’t sure what had happened inside Travis’ head, but he was convinced the arm was good enough after watching Travis’ tape from high school in West Palm Beach, Florida.
It was clear Travis needed time in the weight room (to add bulk) and film room (to better dissect defenses). But the biggest job, Dillingham said, was simply getting into Travis’ head and rewiring the circuits that were telling him he wasn’t cut out to play QB at Florida State.
Dillingham praised, prodded and often pleaded with Travis to believe in his own ability. There was a point in 2021 when Dillingham had become so frustrated with Travis’ lack of confidence that he decided to switch tactics. He’d been hyping the kid for months, and Travis’ performance on the practice field had convinced virtually everyone else around him that he was special. But Travis still wasn’t a believer.
So Dillingham started talking smack.
“He had this thing where he’d talk down to me every day,” Travis said. “He gave me so many negative thoughts that I just didn’t believe them anymore.”
It would take nearly three years before Travis fully embraced all his coach had promised. By the time Travis blossomed, with 31 touchdowns and just five interceptions in 2022, Dillingham had departed for the OC job at Oregon, where he’d begun rehabbing Nix’s career.
Dillingham remembers a conversation he had with Travis’ dad, James, during that first year at Florida State.
“This kid can win the Heisman,” Dillingham said.
James Travis laughed — partly because of how ridiculous the notion seemed at the time and partly because he was so happy to finally find someone who truly believed in his son.
“I like you, Kenny D,” he replied.
It’s true that many others had somehow overlooked Travis’ talent, but Dillingham is the first to admit it didn’t take an advanced degree in quarterbacking to see something special in him. What was truly special about Dillingham’s work with Travis — and Norvell and current FSU QBs coach Tony Tokarz, Travis is quick to add — was getting Travis to see how high his ceiling was, too.
“It went from almost laughable,” Dillingham said, “to this.”
Yet, it easily could’ve gone a different way. Dillingham and Travis both think about that now — how delicate the process really was. Travis was surrounded by coaches who knew the X’s and O’s, but until Dillingham came along, he hadn’t found one capable of understanding him.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Johnson also wrote a piece on the Heisman Trophy contender:
While Travis is more of an internal motivator, he remembers things from his struggles. Like the night the Florida State quarterback was booed at home against Notre Dame, or the feeling of melancholy after a crucial interception on the road against NC State, a moment he called a turning point in his career as the Noles lost while trying to mount a comeback. Now he’s back, as a moderator joked, for what may be a record third media day appearance. But Travis’s career has been a true act of persistence, including a potential position change. He admitted to being down in the dumps at various times, especially when former coach Willie Taggart was fired and Mike Norvell took over.
To get to Norvell’s office, he would have walked past a reception desk and three gleaming crystal national title trophies that represent FSU’s past success. He’d also have to walk past the three Heisman trophies won by Seminoles quarterbacks Chris Weinke, Jameis Winston and Charlie Ward. Few people, if any, would have picked Travis to join that group in the spring of 2022 after an up-and-down season, but Norvell did. He told his QB that he believed he could win one. Now, the hate has turned to hype, and there aren’t many players with shorter Vegas odds to bring home the stiff-arming trophy.
Travis enters the year as a presumed Heisman Trophy candidate — according to DraftKings, he has the fourth-highest odds (+1400) to bring home the stiff-armed trophy, behind USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (+550), Texas Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers (+1200) and LSU Tigers quarterback Jayden Daniels (+1200).
PFF has him ranked as its No. 3 quarterback heading into the season — in 2022, per the site, he was the only Power Five quarterback who ranked in the top 10 in big-time throw rate (7.1%) and turnover-worthy play rate (1.9%) and his 91.7 grade was also the highest among Power Five signal-callers, beating out all four Heisman finalists — Williams, former Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett, former Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback CJ Stroud and former TCU quarterback Max Duggan.
He is the only player in program history with at least 20 touchdown passes and seven rushing touchdowns in a season, and his 32 touchdowns responsible for rank as the third-highest single-season total in program history. The West Palm Beach native became only the fourth player in FSU history – joining Heisman Trophy winners Jameis Winston, Chris Weinke and Charlie Ward – with at least 3,000 total yards and 30 total touchdowns in a season. His 3,631 yards of total offense ranked fifth on FSU’s single-season list, while his passing yards total was seventh, his passing touchdowns were tied for 10th and his completions were 14th.
Travis led the ACC and ranked third nationally with his average of 8.35 yards per play, ranked first in the conference and fifth in the country with an average of 9.10 yards per pass attempt, led the ACC and ranked eighth nationally with an average of 14.22 yards per completion and led the ACC and was 14th in the country with a pass efficiency rating of 160.1. His average of 247.2 passing yards per game, 24 total passing touchdowns and 64.0 completion percentage all ranked third in the ACC, while his 194 points responsible for and average of 279.3 yards of total offense per game were fourth in the conference.
247Sports ranked the top 10 transfers in the ACC — and FSU had five of them:
- Fentrell Cypress, Florida State Seminoles
- Devontez Walker, North Carolina Tar Heels
- Javion Cohen, Miami Hurricanes
- Jaheim Bell, Florida State Seminoles
- Keon Coleman, Florida State Seminoles
- Braden Fiske, Florida State Seminoles
- Matt Lee, Miami Hurricanes
- Ali Jennings, Virginia Tech Hokies
- Jeremiah Byers, Florida State Seminoles
- Francisco Mauigoa, Miami Hurricanes
Our position-by-position Mount Rushmore got another entry on Wednesday, with four names being voted as the top all-time FSU defensive ends — Peter Boulware, Andre Wadsworth, Reinard Wilson and Derrick Alexander.
Quarterbacks: Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke, Jameis Winston, Jordan Travis
Running Backs: Warrick Dunn, Dalvin Cook, Greg Allen, Amp Lee
Wide Receivers: Peter Warrick, Fred Biletnikoff, Rashad Greene, Ron Sellers
Tight Ends: Nick O’Leary, Pat Carter, Lonnie Johnson, Melvin Pearsall
Offensive Tackles: Walter Jones, Alex Barron, Pat Tomberlin, Cam Erving
Interior Offensive Linemen: Rodney Hudson, Jamie Dukes, Bryan Stork, Clay Shiver
Fall camp is a week away and we have @NichelsonBlake taking over our instagram to show you how he’s getting ready for his first go in the garnet and gold. Make sure you’re following the instagram to tune in https://t.co/czlsjg3lA4 pic.twitter.com/tBTj0mgE0Z— The Battle's End (@TheBattlesEnd) July 26, 2023
Christs Highlights im ALBA-Trikot! ️ pic.twitter.com/RMDBbJRxVY— ALBA BERLIN (@albaberlin) July 26, 2023
Three Florida State men’s golfers will enter the 2023-24 season ranked in the Top 25 of the first PGA TOUR University rankings — redshirt senior Cole Anderson (11th), senior Brett Roberts (16th) and senior Frederik Kjettrup (12th):
Anderson enjoyed his best season yet in 2022-23, earning Golfweek Second-Team All-America honors and PING Third-Team honors. He carded an average score of 70.62 and finished with 27 rounds at par or less. The Camden, Maine, native ranked 18th overall in the final Golfstat player rankings in 2023.
Roberts was a second-team All-American by both Golfweek and PING last year. The Coral Springs, Fla., native led FSU with a 70.59 scoring average and a -0.62 score vs. par. Roberts delivered one of FSU’s most crucial wins of the season when he topped Illinois’ Piercen Hunt 3&2 to help clinch a trip to the NCAA Match Play Semifinals at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Kjettrup was selected as the ACC Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year for Men’s Golf. He was an honorable mention All-American by Golfweek and PING last year, shooting a 70.94 scoring average and -0.21 vs. par. The Aabybro, Denmark, native delivered an impressive win against a top-notch field at the Watersound Invitational at Shark’s Tooth Golf Club in Watersound, Fla.
In partnership with the World Amateur Golf Ranking® (WAGR®), PGA TOUR University ranks players based on the last two years of their collegiate careers. Eligible Tournaments include NCAA Division-I men’s team competitions, official PGA TOUR tournaments and select DP World Tour events. The Ranking Period for the Class of 2024 began Week 23/2022 and concludes May 27, 2024, following the final round of stroke play at the NCAA D-I Men’s National Championship.
Stanford, Florida State and Vanderbilt each have three players in the top 25, while North Carolina has two. In all, the pre-season top 25 includes players representing nine different countries: Australia, China, Denmark, England, Germany, Ireland, Norway, South Africa and United States.
Speaking of FSU golf, the always illustrious Michael Rogner took a look at some of the current professional Seminoles — Brooks Koepka, Vincent Norrman, Daniel Berger, Chase Seiffert, Dan Bradbury, Cristobal Del Solar, Hank Lebioda, Jonas Blixt, Jack Maguire, Bjorn Hellgren, Josh Lee, Harry Ellis and George McNeill.