Quarterback: 2013 review, grade and 2014 spring preview
Florida State finished 14th nationally in passing offense, averaging 315.9 yards a game through the air, a 50-yard per game improvement vs. 2013. More importantly, FSU ranked 1st nationally in passing efficiency with a better than 3-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio (42 TD, 13 INT).
Jameis Winston turned in one of the most successful seasons by an FSU quarterback in school history. He completed 67 percent of his attempts, threw for over 4,000 yards and racked up a whopping 40 touchdown passes. The redshirt freshman also won the school's third Heisman trophy and led the 'Noles to an undefeated season and a national championship.
It would difficult to script a better season for a redshirt freshman quarterback. Winston came of the gates like a polished veteran chopping up the Pittsburgh secondary in the season opener and kept up his prolific pace all season. He finished with the top quarterback rating in college football and averaged over 10 yards per pass attempt. He also kept mistakes to a minimum with a 4-to-1 touchdown to interception ratio. And he proved in the national championship game that he is also a clutch performer leading his team to a game-winning drive with just over a minute left to give FSU its third crystal ball.
RS Sophomore Jameis Winston 6-4/200 Bessemer, Ala. (Hueytown)
RS Sophomore Sean Maguire 6-3/200 West Orange, N.J. (Seton Hall Prep)
RS Freshman John Franklin 6-0/171 Plantation, Fla. (South Plantation)
position outlook for 2014
Gene Williams, Publisher
What a difference a year makes. At this time last year there was a three-way battle for the starting job with no clear-cut favorite. Now, FSU returns college football's top signal caller who will defend both his Heisman trophy and a national championship in 2014. There is no question who will lead the Seminoles this season but which player will emerge as Winston's primary backup is undecided. FSU caught a break in 2013 with Winston getting through the season injury-free. The Seminole coaches can't count on that again and will need to find a capable backup just in case. With the transfers of both Clint Trickett (last spring) and Jacob Coker (this spring) there is practically no experience after Winston. Redshirt sophomore Sean Maguire is the top candidate to fill the role as backup but he had just a handful of appearances last season in mop-up duty. Scout team hero John Franklin will have a great opportunity to impress the coaching staff and make a move on Maguire for the coveted No. 2 spot on the depth chart.
Powell Latimer, Staff Writer
Well there's that Heisman-winning guy under center for FSU, and that's awesome. As long as Winston is under center, FSU feels great about its national title chances. The biggest question mark here is who takes over the backup spot? Sean Maguire has the inside track after stepping into that role last year and the coaches love his arm. John Franklin drew high praise working with the scout team this year, and I'm personally interested to see what he looks like during spring practices. Either way, until a reliable backup surfaces, FSU will be on pins and needles every time Winston gets hit. Look out for true freshman JJ Constentino - he might make a run at the backup spot as well in the fall.
Ben Jones, Staff Writer
Even with college football's biggest returning star under center, there's still work to be done at quarterback this spring. If Maguire is established as the No. 2 option, getting him some work to be more comfortable with the offense should be a focus. Spring practice is also a time for players to get back to basics and improve their abilities, so it's an opportunity for someone like Franklin to make a big step forward. Winston will have plenty on his plate as well as he adjusts to a receiving corps without Kenny Shaw and redzone monster Kelvin Benjamin. Winston is the most important piece in FSU's offense, but he still has to develop rapport with the players who will try and replace Shaw and Benjamin's production. He's secure as the starter, but he'll have more pressure and responsibility this spring than the last time around.