Quarterbacks FSU should consider with Howell’s status up in the air

Khalil Tate/Twitter

Florida State’s somewhat steady quarterback situation last spring has completely unraveled as we move towards the New Year. Backup quarterback JJ Cosentino left the program in February of 2018 to leave the Seminoles with three scholarship signal-callers and they were dealt another blow when redshirt freshman Bailey Hockman transferred just before the start of the season.

The losses left FSU with just two scholarship quarterbacks, Deondre Francois and James Blackman, and they dealt with that situation precariously throughout 2018. Now, it could get even worse. There have been whispers of Francois transferring to a different school even while the season was still going on. That wouldn’t have bothered most people with four-star quarterback Sam Howell committed to FSU but now his pledge is up in the air.

With Walt Bell skipping town to become the next head coach at UMass, Florida State has to fix things with Howell and fast. Bell was the main connection between the two parties and other schools are likely back in the picture with the offensive coordinator moving on.

If the Seminoles are unable to retain Howell’s commitment, they’ll have to scramble to land another quarterback. Willie Taggart can’t afford to potentially enter the 2019 season with one scholarship quarterback.

2019 Recruits

1. Jayden Daniels, Uncommitted

Daniels was one of the main targets Florida State was focusing on prior to Howell’s commitment and he’s the top uncommitted quarterback that’s still on the market. He unofficially visited Tallahassee back in April and already has a solid relationship with Taggart from his days back in Oregon.

The 6-foot-3, 174-pound dual-threat prospect is currently projected to commit to Utah but things could change if the ‘Noles turn up the heat. Daniels threw for a ridiculous 9,654 yards with 122 touchdowns to nine interceptions over his final two seasons of high school football.

2. Michael Johnson Jr, Committed to Penn State

Johnson is another guy that Taggart and his staff were pursuing heavily before they landed Howell. Taggart and Johnson also have a previous relationship through the four-star prospect’s father, who coached under Taggart at Oregon.

The 6-foot-3, 192-pound signal-caller is committed to Penn State but Florida State has an in with James Franklin’s willingness to continue to flirt with other potential jobs. Who does that remind you of?

3. Lance LeGendre, Uncommitted

The four-star quarterback has long been viewed as a guy that could be the second QB in this class for FSU. He was originally committed to Kansas but decommited¬†in August after landing offers from the ‘Noles, Georgia, and Texas A&M over the summer.

LeGendre is a pass-first quarterback who has the ability to run if the play breaks down. He’s been viewed as a good fit for the Gulf Coast offense.

4. Taisun Phommachanh, Committed to Clemson

Florida State was originally the favorite for Phommachanh in the spring before the ‘Noles landed Howell. Shortly after, he pledged to Clemson and has stuck with that commitment ever since.

With the way Trevor Lawrence has seemingly locked up the Tigers starting job for the foreseeable future, FSU may be able to get back into this recruitment, especially with its current depth chart.


1. Khalil Tate, Arizona

One of the most dynamic quarterbacks in college football a season ago is reportedly considering a transfer from Arizona. Tate has simply not meshed with Kevin Sumlin and the offense he brought to the program.

Whether it was the way he was used or an injury issue, Tate and Sumlin couldn’t make it work. If he does decide to transfer, expect Taggart to reach out. Tate is a potentially dynamic option in this offense.

2. Jalen Hurts, Alabama

While it’s a complete unknown if Hurts will actually consider transferring from Alabama, he’s another guy that would be a hot commodity on the grad-transfer trail.

Hurts expresses the maturity and leadership you want from a quarterback leading your program and he’d be a good stop-gap option for the Seminoles. He would fit well within what Taggart wants to do on offense.

3. Riley Neal, Ball State

This is a long shot, but if you’re looking for a guy to come in and a provide a spark at quarterback for a year, Riley Neal is a solid fallback option.

He’s thrown 46 touchdowns to 25 interceptions over his career and he’s also mobile enough to run FSU’s offense. If the ‘Noles fall through with some of the other quarterbacks on this list I don’t see why they wouldn’t take a shot on Neal.

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