Florida State’s quarterback room has significantly improved over the past two years. The Noles enter 2023 in the best position they’ve been in since probably 2014. That is due mainly to the development we’ve seen from Jordan Travis (91.7 PFF). If you read last year’s magazine, you saw my case for why Jordan could potentially have a breakout season. I compared him to other ACC quarterbacks across 22 categories and another QB from Norvell’s past.
Even though the projection ended up being within a few hundred yards and a couple of touchdowns, what we saw from Jordan was more than almost anyone expected. We already knew he was an elite runner with an almost unnatural ability to make people miss. Still, it was his pass game we anxiously awaited to see take off, and it certainly did.
Jordan wasted no time announcing he was ready for the role of QB1 with a huge game against LSU. He put up almost 300 all-purpose yards but, more importantly, showed immense poise and leadership throughout the game which carried on during the season. According to Pro Football Focus, Travis finished the season as the highest-graded Power 5 quarterback. He led the ACC in yards per play, yards per completion, and pass efficiency rating. He had his first 400-yard passing game and a second one at 396 yards. Travis also became only the fourth player in FSU history to produce at least 3,000 yards and 30 total touchdowns in a season, joining previous Heisman winners Charlie Ward, Chris Weinke, and Jameis Winston.
Remember that 2022 was also only his first full season as QB1, so he should see more improvement from the experience alone. Jordan’s QBR of 85.8 was 7th highest in all of college football. His big time throw rate (BTTR) of 7.1% was top 10 in quarterbacks with at least 100 dropbacks, and his turnover-worthy play rate (TWP) of 1.7& was also top 15. Travis also improved at pushing the ball down the field which I suspect we’ll see more of this year as Johnny Wilson and Keon Coleman were both top 20 in deep targets (20+ yards) last season. Let’s take a look at Jordan’s downfield passing on the graphic below.
Despite his running ability, Jordan didn’t use his legs as much last season. However, he was still a major factor in the run game and seemed a more efficient runner, with his number of attempts going down but his yards per attempt going up. That, combined with improved offensive line play, helped contribute to a nice reduction in sacks. In 2022, Jordan was sacked eight fewer times despite having over 120 more dropbacks, and his pressure-to-sack ratio saw a significant decrease from 23.1% to 13.8%.
For 2023, Jordan will return with more experience, weapons to work with, and the confidence to know he can perform on the big stage. There is already Heisman hype being thrown his way, and rightfully so when you look at the high-powered offense, he’ll be at the helm of this season. The only questions will be staying healthy and whether he can perform at that high level again this year, which I firmly believe he can.
Behind Jordan on the depth chart, is Tate Rodemaker (73.0 PFF) at the QB2 position. Tate has built-up years of experience in this offense and has a nice arm. Although we’ve seen some rather questionable moments from Tate in the past, he came through when it was needed most last year, leading FSU to victory at Louisville when Jordan went down with an injury. While you want Jordan at the helm, Tate would also benefit from the improvements up front and at the receiver positions.
If FSU handles its business as expected in a few games this season, chances are we’ll see the rest of the quarterbacks play a good amount once Jordan puts on the baseball cap. I know he’s had his ups and downs, but with the weapons available on this offense, having a veteran backup with a conference road win under his belt makes me sleep better at night.
FSU also has a couple of talented young quarterbacks (AJ Duffy and Brock Glenn) that we should see gain valuable experience this season. This is crucial for development but something FSU hasn’t had the luxury of doing in recent years. It is certainly possible for Duffy or Glenn to push for the QB2 spot. Glenn has already received high remarks during fall camp, and with having a high ceiling, he could be the one to watch for at the QB2 position and into 2024.
While we hope not to find ourselves in a situation where we must rely on an inexperienced quarterback in a big game situation, these snaps will go a long way in setting this room up for 2024.
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