Florida State Football Postseason Report Card: Quarterback
After years of battling for playing time, last season was the first time Jordan Travis was the unquestioned starter for Florida State. Now he is one of the top favorites to win a Heisman and the numbers back it up.
Travis was always a good playmaker but he took a leap as the leader of the team and the engine of a high-powered offense that ranked 7th nationally in yards per play (6.96) and 10th in yards per game (484.2).
Beyond him, they have Tate Rodemaker who proved he can come in and keep the offense running. His gutsy performance vs. Lousiville showed that he belonged and can step in and get the ball in his playmaker's hands. True freshman AJ Duffy saw some playing time in mop-up duty, but nothing of major significance as he still gets acclimated to the college game.
How did the quarterback room perform in 2022? Let’s dive into the numbers.
In 2022 Jordan Travis started in every game of a season for the first time in his collegiate career, playing 787 snaps.
The highest snap count he had ever had in a season prior was 527 in 2021 when he started 8 of the Seminole's 12 games.
Going into the season the primary concern with Travis was not how good he was but rather how he would play. He answered those concerns last season and only missed the last 2+ quarters of the Louisville game.
Travis also passed the eye test this year noticeably making strides as the leader of the team and engine of the most explosive offense in the country. By many metrics he was one of the best QBs in the country:
Jordan Travis is hanging around some Heisman winners in these categories. While the ‘Noles do have some NFL talent on the field, each of the four QBs who were the Heisman finalist had future 1st round picks they were throwing too.
He had an outstanding year and put up great numbers but he also showed a lot of growth operating from the pocket and cutting down on negative plays.
That starts with getting the ball out of his hands quickly, in 2021 his average time to throw the ball was 3.24 seconds. He was holding onto the ball and this was a product of a lack of talent at wide receiver and a revolving door along the offensive line.
In 2022 he was getting his throws off in an average of 2.84 seconds. With much better talent at receiver and more time in Norvell’s offense he was a more decisive player.
This led to Travis getting sacked much less than he did in the year prior. In ‘21 he was under pressure on 108 dropbacks and got sacked 25 times. This past season he was under pressure on 125 dropbacks and got sacked 17 times.
It’s exciting to see the big explosive plays from him in this offense but Mike Norvell has to be even more pleased with how well Jordan protected the ball.
He was able to put up some big numbers this season, part of that is because of the talent around him improving and him feeling more comfortable and confident.
But prior to 2022 Jordan was too volatile as a player, they would have explosive plays and put together good moments like they did against Miami in 2021. Now, he is making those big-time plays and eliminating more and more negative plays.
With that ability to consistently produce the highlight plays and take care of the football there is a reason he is one of the top Heisman contenders for 2023.
He should at least make it to the Heisman ceremony in New York and will have a good chance to win it if the team wins a lot of games.
The biggest fear for the Seminoles last season was what would happen if Jordan Travis missed time.
There was plenty of doubt that, after some disappointing previous performances, Rodemaker could come in and operate the Seminoles' offense in a crucial game. But on the road, in a high-pressure situation with the momentum of the season on the line, he did exactly that and more against Louisville.
While it was only one-half, Rodemaker looked confident and was able to get the most out of his playmakers against the Cardinals.
I’m not sure what the future holds for Rodemaker, but he has all the ability to come in and play good football for Mike Norvell.
It’s hard to fairly judge AJ Duffy based on what we saw from him in 2022. The transition from high school to college is tough for any player let alone quarterback, so we’ll grade him on the S/U grading scale, where you get credit for a class with no impact to a GPA. He only attempted seven total passes on the season, completing two — one of which was a touchdown toss vs. Louisiana late in the season.
With Travis established, Rodemaker steadied, and talent waiting in the wings, Florida State fans have to feel good about the quarterback position going into 2023.