2022 FSU preview: Quarterback – Tomahawk Nation
As we get closer to the start of the 2022 Florida State Seminoles football season, we’re breaking down each of FSU’s position groups. From the main names to newbies, we’ve got a look at all the players you need to know. First up, quarterbacks.
Florida State Seminoles football: Quarterback
Main name to know
Jordan Travis, redshirt junior
It’s hard to believe that, despite being at Florida State since 2019, Jordan Travis has only appeared in 22 games for FSU. Under the previous Seminoles’ coaching staff, Travis was buried on the depth chart, appearing for a couple of jaw-dropping runs that would soon become the norm for the West Palm Beach native.
2020 saw him earn the starting role after impressing in-season, similar to 2021 where he battled transfer quarterback McKenzie Milton for playing time, switching off starting roles later in the year as Travis worked to stay on the field.
The end of that sentence is the key concern for the coaching staff and fanbase at large when it comes to Travis — his talent is obvious, his playmaking ability is amongst the best in the country, but he has yet to play a full season under center for the Seminoles. Some of that has been due to other players getting placed in front of him, but especially in 2021, the difference of him on the field vs. on the sideline is extremely obvious. Just looking at the win column, FSU is 1-7 under Mike Norvell when Travis isn’t starting — and that win actually came when he took the field in relief of Tate Rodemaker vs. Jacksonville State in 2020.
When Travis was on the field, PFF rated FSU’s offense as No. 40 in the country (6.24 YPP) and when he wasn’t, that fell all the way to 109 (5.08).
In situations where Jordan Travis was not under pressure in 2021 he was very efficient and productive
70.1% completion percentage
90.9 PFF Offensive Grade (91.6 Pass Grade)
10 Touchdowns, 2 Interceptions
8.7 Yards Per Attempt pic.twitter.com/M12C7z5QyU
— Ben Meyerson (@ByBenMeyerson) July 16, 2022
Any discussion about Travis has to mention his talent on the ground — according to PFF, he’s ranked No. 6 in the country when taking off from the pocket on both scrambles of 10+ and 20+ yards.
In only 22 career games, the West Palm Beach native holds FSU career records for a quarterback with 1,317 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns. He is the only quarterback in program history with at least 1,000 career rushing yards and the only quarterback with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games. His seven straight games with a rushing touchdown and four straight games with at least one passing and one rushing touchdown are both the longest in FSU history by a quarterback. He also is responsible for the two longest runs by a quarterback in program history with an 88-yard touchdown run against Pitt in 2020 and a 66-yard touchdown run at Boston College in 2019.
His ability to terrify defenses with his legs in addition to his arm adds a major benefit to the FSU offense as a whole, but more specifically the run game. With Travis on the field in 2021, FSU had a top 25 rushing attack — when he wasn’t, it dropped to 81st.
Are there areas Travis can improve on? Absolutely, with deep passing at the top of that list. Even considering the lack of dominance in the wide receiver room these last two seasons, there’s been a bit to be desired when it comes to hitting home run balls. An influx of talent at pass catcher, the elevation of homegrown talent like Ja’Khi Douglas and Malik McClain and an even more fortified offensive line will go a long way in elevating his game.
How Travis goes, Florida State goes and the foundation and tools are there for a major step up in the quarterback’s game.
Tate Rodemaker, redshirt sophomore
Thrust into action in the early aughts of his FSU career, Rodemaker has been working to improve his consistency and processing as he looks to leave those less-than-desirable opening impressions in the past.
In spring camp, he seemed to have found a comfortable spot as a second-year learner, perhaps a bit more at ease given FSU’s quarterback was settled before spring camp for the first time since 2014. He’d show flashes of brilliance, combined with streaks of head-scratchers. Rodemaker has the athletic tools and the arm to make things happen — now the question is, can he make them happen?
AJ Duffy, freshman
Florida State’s highest-rated quarterback signee since 2016, AJ Duffy already has a spring under his belt as he works to get ready for the collegiate level.
“Being an early enrollee can just help in every aspect,” he said in spring. “You get an extra spring ball you get to come here early, learn more, lift earlier, just every aspect of it.“
Duffy is built for the Mike Norvell offense — light on his fight, quick on his release and fast on his progressions. With the NCAA allowing true freshman to participate in four games before becoming ineligible for a redshirt, it’s not hard to imagine seeing him get some time on the turf as early as Week 0 vs. Duquesne.