Pro Football Focus ranks Blackman as No. 35 QB in 2019

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Florida State’s offense is looking to take a big step forward in 2019 under the cohesion brought on by new offensive coordinator Kendal Briles and new offensive line coach Randy Clements. Much of that improvement will be deemed on how the Seminoles’ offensive line performs following their failures last season but this team will also need to get much more out of its quarterback.

Former QB Deondre Francois simply wasn’t what FSU needed in 2018. It was clear that he didn’t have full confidence in his surgically repaired knee and it significantly hindered his ability to run the offense to its full design. Francois also struggled to deliver under pressure last season as he tossed a career-high 12 interceptions. His tenure with the ‘Noles was unstable throughout and when the team needed a leader to rally behind, it just didn’t feel like the Orlando native was that guy.

James Blackman is the complete opposite. He brings no controversy or drama to the team, he’s just a guy that’s want to work hard and go win football games. Blackman has a massive arm and he’s added the necessary weight to his slim frame to hold up against hits. He’s also held a major leadership role within the program ever since he stepped on campus in 2017 and you constantly see him talking to other players and keeping guys focused. Basically, head coach Willie Taggart has to feel very comfortable with the player and person he’s starting at quarterback during his second season in Tallahassee.

Pro Football Focus recently named James Blackman as the No. 35 overall quarterback in the country in 2019. The full article can be viewed here, the snippet on Blackman is below.

A bit surprising, considering he redshirted and dropped back to pass just 61 times a year ago, Blackman was every bit of a top-notch quarterback when he did see the field in Willie Taggert’s offense in 2018, especially in his 421-yard, 4-touchdown performance against NC State. Blackman is no stranger to big-time performances as he had three game grades of 81.0 or higher in 2017 and if he can remove some of the negative plays, those highly-graded performances will start to come in at a flurry.

Despite sitting behind Francois for all but one game a season ago, Pro Football Focus is still quite high on Blackman’s ability and they should be. He has the potential to put up huge numbers in Briles’ offense and has all of the tools and qualities to be one of the better quarterbacks Florida State fans have watched recently. Based on this list, PFF is also projecting the ‘Noles QB to be the top signal-caller in the state of Florida as he’s ranked higher than FIU’s James Morgan (No. 38), Florida’s Feleipe Franks (No. 43), USF’s Blake Barnett (No. 44), UCF’s Brandon Wimbush (No. 64), Miami’s Jarren Williams (No. 77), and FAU’s Chris Robison (No. 81).

Elsewhere, Blackman is also expected to be one of the better quarterbacks in the ACC, as only Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence (No. 1), Virginia’s Bryce Perkins (No. 15), and Notre Dame’s Ian Book (No. 18) are rated higher than him. Wake Forest’ Sam Hartman (No. 37), Boston College’s Anthony Brown (No. 45), Syracuse’s Tommy DeVito (No. 70), Virginia Tech’s Ryan Willis (No. 73), Miami’s Jarren Williams (No. 77), Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett (No. 84), Duke’s Quentin Harris (No. 91), NC State’s Matt McKay (No. 98), North Carolina’s Sam Howell (No. 99), Georgia Tech’s Tobias Oliver (No. 103), and Louisville’s Jawon Pass (No. 128) are all rated lower than the 6-foot-5 Belle Glade native.

Finally, some other quarterbacks that ‘Noles fans might have some familiarity with are Ohio State’s Justin Fields (No. 16), UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson (No. 68), Auburn’s Joey Gatewood (No. 96), Arizona State’s Jayden Daniels (No. 97), UNC’s Howell (No. 99), Nevada’s Malik Henry (No. 109), and Rutgers’ Artur Sitkowski (No. 130).

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