Monday Mailbag: Alex Hornibrook, coaching staff, breakout receivers

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With the addition of former Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook, Florida State has rebuilt its quarterback room with three transfers. Hornibrook, Louisville transfer Jordan Travis, and Western Michigan transfer Wyatt Rector make up the group of signal-callers that are now Seminoles. Elsewhere, Mike Martin has reached 2,000 career wins, the softball team is surging, and the men’s basketball team locked up a top-four ACC finish with its best finish in conference play in school history.

It has been a thrilling week for a plethora of FSU teams and that will only continue with Leonard Hamilton’s team tipping off in the ACC Tournament on Thursday and Sue Semrau waiting to hear where her team will be seeded in the big dance. Let’s hop into this week’s questions.

Is Blackman still going to be the starter, even though we just got Hornibrook as a transfer? – Joshua Schultz

Has Willie Taggart done what he said he would and fixed the quarterback problem? Also, your take on the Hornibrook commitment? – @BUCS_N_NOLES

FSU’s situation at quarterback is already beginning to look better than it did in 2018. The ‘Noles entered last season with just two scholarship quarterbacks and the panic button was definitely pressed when Deondre Francois was dismissed earlier this year. However, Willie Taggart has done a capable job adding the three aforementioned transfer quarterbacks but the university is still waiting to hear back from the NCAA if Travis and Rector will receive eligibility waivers.

Despite the staff bringing in a veteran starter from Wisconsin in Hornibrook, I don’t think he’ll be much of a threat to James Blackman in the starting quarterback competition. This is Blackman’s team and there’s no doubt about that. Hornibrook will more than likely end up backing up Blackman and the experience will be useful in his coaching career following his playing days.

When are we getting white numbers? – @cheif_rico

It may happen sooner than you think…..

Three transfer QB’s, any of them looking at starting competition? Or did we just build depth? – @turbo_mehico

While Taggart will most likely still hold a quarterback competition, it’s hard to see any scenario where Blackman doesn’t come out on top. Hornibrook will be valuable as a backup in 2019 while both Travis and Rector will be players to watch in the future as they continue to progress. Plus, FSU still has to successfully get them waivers and that’s no guarantee at this moment.

I do think that the quarterback room is in better shape than it was last season at this point, especially if at least one of those waivers comes through. Hornibrook could end up being serviceable but it’s James Blackman time in 2019.

How important is Telly Lockette to the coaching staff? He is very inexperienced and is now coaching TEs. This group did not do so well last season. My main question is: Should Willie get rid of Telly and hire Jim Leavitt, an experienced defensive mind? – Rojay Gordon

I can’t say it would be the worst idea with the majority of Florida State’s assistants allocated to the offensive side of the ball. The coaching staff currently consists of five offensive coaches, three defensive coaches, a special teams coach, and an offensive coach turned recruiting coordinator. So, it does make sense for Taggart to add another defensive mind to his staff that can help out with the defensive backfield and we’ve heard those whispers throughout the offseason.

However, with how far we are into the offseason, I don’t see Taggart making another change to his on-field coaching staff at this point. I do think it’s possible that the Seminoles could add Jim Leavitt as a defensive analyst and that sounds even more likely after his visit to Tallahassee last week. It’s a situation NoleGameday will continue to monitor going forward.

Is Khalan Laborn 100% healthy? – Joshua Schultz

Yes, Khalan Laborn is back and ready to go. He’s feeling fully healthy.

Will we have another WR breakout this year to take some of the load off Terry as far as a deep threat? – Thomas Johnson

Absolutely, Florida State is loaded with talent at wide receiver and I expect three of the #Tribe18 guys to step up and start becoming more consistent threats in 2019. Keyshawn Helton, Tre’Shaun Harrison, and Jordan Young were all studs at the prep level and both Helton and Harrison have already flashed some of their ability at the collegiate level. Young dealt with injuries and ended up redshirting last season despite having arguably the top highlight tape of any receiver in the 2018 class, he was that good.

All three of these guys are threats to push Keith Gavin and DJ Mathews, the only upperclassmen receivers on the roster, for snaps behind Tamorrion Terry next season. Helton might be the fastest player on the roster and he’s a smooth route runner. Harrison is a freak athlete with the shiftiness to make defenders miss in the open field. I mean, remember the spin move and then the juke for his first career touchdown against Wake Forest? You can’t teach moves like that and the Seattle native is only going to continue to be more exciting as his career goes on. Young oozes the size, speed, and physicality you want in a receiver. He’ll make a contested catch in traffic or moss a defensive back and he’s not afraid to let them know after.

I think this trio of receivers will provide some excitement in 2019 under offensive coordinator Kendal Briles.

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