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Clark: Will Florida State really be ‘fine’ at quarterback?

When everything settles, when the depth charts are set and the new coordinator has installed his own version of the spread offense, and when Justin Fields is throwing touchdown passes to Tamorrion Terry and the Seminoles are scoring 40 points a game, none of us will think twice about Sam Howell.

Maybe you’ll be with a buddy at the bar, after the Seminoles win their seventh straight game to open the 2019 season, and say, ‘Hey, what was the name of the stocky kid from North Carolina that chose to play for 2-9 North Carolina because the great Walt Bell left? What was his name again?”

You’ll get out your phone, search on Google and then exclaim, “Sam Howell!” And you’ll both share a good laugh before watching highlights of Fields for the next 10 minutes.

But for now, well, for now I get the concern. Because Florida State currently has one sure-fire quarterback that we know about. James Blackman, who even though he played really well in his lone action of the 2018 season, was apparently so far behind Deondre Francois during the season that there was never even a notion of letting him be the starter.

As for Francois, I mean, who knows? Willie Taggart acknowledged in his press conference on Wednesday that the two-year starter was “weighing his options” after graduating last week — which kinda seemed like coach-speak for “he ain’t coming back.” The Orlando Sentinel then quoted anonymous sources as saying that Francois, who is from Orlando, definitely won’t be at Florida State next season. They said he’s either leaving for pro football or transferring to another school.

For what it’s worth, Francois retweeted the Sentinel story and called it “fake news” — he later said he might turn pro but hasn’t decided. We’ll have to wait and see where Francois ends up, but it’s long been speculated it won’t be in Tallahassee.

But the real kick below the belt for FSU fans came earlier in the day, right? When Howell, who had been “committed” for like a whole year, decided he’d rather play for Mack Brown than Taggart.

All of us had seen this coming for weeks. And there’s no doubt the FSU coaching staff fought hard to keep Howell after Bell left. But in the end, Mack Brown (Mack! Brown!) was who Howell would rather play for. Hoo boy! That’s not exactly a great look for Taggart.

Losing recruits to a legitimate senior citizen who has only been on the job for a few weeks? One that lost 21 games in his last four years at Texas before getting fired?

Yikes. That might be the reason some among us are panicking.

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