FSU names Blackman its starting quarterback to open season

Florida State quarterback James Blackman winds up to throw a 69-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage against Alabama State on Nov. 16, 2019.

Florida State coach Mike Norvell named James Blackman his starting quarterback to open the season.

Blackman got the nod Tuesday after beating out Louisville transfer Jordan Travis and freshman Tate Rodemaker during fall camp. Four-star recruit Chubba Purdy had been in the mix before breaking his left, non-throwing collarbone last month. Purdy had surgery and will be sidelined at least several weeks.

Blackman, meanwhile, showed Norvell he has “all the skills and traits of what’s necessary to be a very successful quarterback.”

The Seminoles open the season Sept. 12 at home against Georgia Tech.

“I’m excited about what the season is going to hold,” Norvell said. "I’m excited about the continued competition that we’ll have at that position. ... These guys are very talented. I would not be shocked to see other guys at that position get opportunities to help impact this football team and to help put us in a great situation to be successful.

"But James, I think, has done an extraordinary job. Really proud of the young man and all the things that he’s done for him to earn this job.”

Blackman threw for 2,230 yards, with 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions last year while playing behind a woeful offensive line that allowed 48 sacks — sixth most in the Football Bowl Subdivision — and under a coaching staff that looked lost at times.

Although he played behind Deondre Francois in 2018, Blackman got his first taste of college football during Jimbo Fisher's final season in Tallahassee. He replaced an injured Francois in the 2017 opener and ended up throwing for 2,339 yards, with 17 TDs and 11 INTs, the rest of the way.

The 6-foot-5 junior from South Bay enters this season with his fourth play-caller in as many years.

“I think it speaks to him," Norvell said. "He wants to be successful. A lot of people can sit around and tell you how bad they have it and how unfortunate it is, and I’ve got empathy for what James has had to go through in his playing career. You don’t ever want to see a player who’s gone through all the coaching changes and different circumstances that have shown up. ...

“I’m really pleased that that young man specifically has responded in a great way. He’s had some highs and some lows, but in our experience together, he’s done everything that I’ve asked him to do to prepare himself and put him in position to be our starting quarterback.”


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