FSU coach Willie Taggart spoke about the early signing period class.
Wayne McGahee III, Tallahassee Democrat
Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts will be the most sought-after transfer of the off-season.
Hurts has played in 42 games during his Alabama career and started 28 games over his first two seasons. He led Alabama to the National Championship Game in both of his years as a starter.
He’s thrown for 5,626 yards with 48 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while completing 62 percent of his passes during his three-year career with the Crimson Tide.
Hurts was replaced as the starter in 2018 by Tua Tagovailoa, but still played in 13 games. He took over for an injured Tagovailoa in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia and led the Tide to a comeback victory.
As a graduate transfer with immediate eligibility, Hurts will have programs lining up to bring him in, and Florida State will be one of them.
But how would he fit in Tallahassee?
Why Hurts is a good fit for FSU
Hurts is an exceptional running quarterback and would be an immediate upgrade in that area over any quarterback on FSU’s roster.
He rushed for 954 yards as a freshman with 13 touchdowns and 855 yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore when he was the starting quarterback.
FSU coach Willie Taggart’s Gulf Coast Offense has proven to be very effective when he has a quarterback that has the ability to take off on designed running plays or scrambles.
South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers rushed for 1,530 yards and 18 touchdowns during Taggart’s final year with the Bulls in 2016.
Hurts isn’t the most exceptional passer in college football, but he has done enough to get the job done. He’s a capable downfield passer, which was a large part of FSU’s offense in 2018 in Taggart’s first year.
He’s also got the experience of playing in three National Championship Games and hasn’t been rattled during his time on the field. He’s a confident player.
Hurts is also the kind of player you want in your locker room. He’s a team-first player, as evidenced by the way he handled the 2018 season after being demoted from the starting quarterback position for Tagovailoa.
FSU needs more guys like that in the locker room if its going to change the culture around the program and Hurts can help with that, even if it’s just for one season.
Why Hurts is a bad fit at FSU
FSU’s quarterback situation is complicated.
Starting quarterback Deondre Francois is back for the spring along with back-up quarterback James Blackman, who started 12 games in 2017.
If Hurts is brought in, it wouldn’t be a surprise if both quarterbacks weren’t on the roster following spring practice.
Francois was contemplating transfer in December, and still could transfer after the spring is complete. That would leave Blackman as the only quarterback on the roster for the fall if that happens.
Blackman sat behind Francois this past season, and it would be surprising if he was willing to do it for a second straight season, especially since he used his redshirt in 2018.
FSU brought in transfer Jordan Travis, but he probably won’t be eligible to play this season after coming from Louisville. The Seminoles are also trying to bring in multiple high school quarterback recruits to fill out the quarterback room, but they wouldn’t be early enrollees and would have no experience other than a month of practice before the start of the 2019 season.
As for on the field, Hurts has played behind one of the best offensive lines in college football for the past three seasons.
How he would handle playing behind FSU’s offensive line is a legitimate question for his fit in Tallahassee.
The Seminoles finished 129th (2.77) in yards per carry in 2018 and allowed 36 sacks, which was tied for 109th in college football.
Hurts would fit very well at FSU and the Seminoles would be lucky to get in such a talented and experienced player despite the consequences that it would cause.
He would excel in the offense that Taggart and offensive coordinator Kendal Briles will be running in 2019 and would instantly make FSU better.
It would also leave FSU in a bind in 2020 with Jordan Travis and a redshirt freshman quarterback or two on the roster if Hurts was to choose FSU and Blackman chose to leave. There would be no experienced players at the quarterback position.
It comes down to whether or not Taggart believes that Blackman is the quarterback of the future for the Seminoles or if he believes he needs to find another option.