19 for ’19: 19 key offseason topics: No. 8. The most interesting quarterback battle in every Power Five conference.
There are great position battles going on throughout the college football world, but the quarterbacks all take center stage.
Out of the 64 Power Five programs – let’s make it 65 if we include Notre Dame – rough half of the starting quarterback situations are as close to being settled as possible.
Most will need the fall camp to decide the issue, and some will be ongoing fights that will make-or-break a season. In the world of grad transfers and transfer portals, it’s a bigger call than ever for the head coaches.
Which Power Five quarterback situations are the most interesting? Which ones will play the biggest roles in the 2019 season? Here we go, starting with …
ACC: Florida State Seminoles
It was one of the key parts of the rebuild puzzle under head coach Willie Taggart – Deondre Francois was going to be the starting quarterback.
That’s when the James Blackman transfer rumors went wild.
Blackman stepped up when Francois went down in 2017 and had a decent true freshman season, throwing for 2,230 yards an 19 touchdowns, but he only completed 58% of his passes with 11 picks. Francois was healthy last year, Blackman was the backup, and that wasn’t going to change going into 2019.
Fast-forward to early February. Francois was dismissed from the program after being accused of an alleged domestic dispute, and Blackman was established as the main man.
However, the Noles went hard after other options. They missed out on Justin Fields (Ohio State), Tate Martell (Miami), Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma), and Nick Starkel (Arkansas), but in a massive surprise, they were able to get Wisconsin grad transfer Alex Hornibrook.
But is the veteran healthy? He missed most of the late part of last season with concussion issues, including the Pinstripe Bowl.
He has been through the Big Ten wars with a 26-6 career record, won an Orange Bowl, and he’s just the type of steadying veteran presence who can step in and make the offense move. He might have thrown 33 picks, but he completed 61% of his throws for 5,438 yards and 47 touchdowns.
Hornibrook had several options to be the missing-piece quarterback, and he’s going to want to play after graduating in May and coming to Tallahassee.
It’s Blackman’s gig for now, and he’s the QB1, but …
Watch out in August for this to heat up and become one of the ACC’s biggest storylines.