With the news hitting the college football world Sunday of Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois having torn his patellar tendon, an injury that will force him to miss the remainder of the season, two things come to mind.
First and foremost without a doubt is the well-being of Francois. Hopefully he recovers fully and returns to the field next fall to lead the Seminoles.
Second — now what?
The Seminoles fell to No. 1 Alabama Saturday, but have an entire schedule ahead of them and a chance to do some big-time damage along the way. Their national titles hopes took a hit with the 24-7 loss, but they haven't been dashed completely.
So who quarterbacks the 'Noles? Freshman James Blackman will get the call when FSU takes on UL Monroe Saturday in Tallahassee.
Blackman stands 6-foot-5 and is listed at 185 pounds on the school's roster, though it appears he'd added at least 10-15 pounds. The true freshman from Belle, Glad, Fla. has, obviously, never started a game or even thrown a pass at the college level. But he's certainly not without skill and talent.
Blackman was a three-star recruit and despite good athleticism is considered a pocket passer. He has good arm strength but is still very early in his developmental stages. How could he not be, he's been on campus mere weeks?
Many analysts have lauded Blackman's ability to make plays on the move, both as a passer and as a runner. He's played a lot of spread
There's cause for concern with Blackman's lack of experience, but one thing is for sure: FSU isn't facing another team with anywhere near the talent of the Crimson Tide until at least the visit to Clemson November 11. Perhaps by then, Blackman's experience will prove valuable.
The Seminoles do host No. 18 Miami in two weeks, a primetime game oin national television, head coach Jimbo Fisher and the offensive staff have some time to get him ready and he'll have the UL Monroe game to get his feet wet.
It would also help if the running game showed up. Florida State ran for 40 yards on 27 carries Saturday with a long run of nine yards.
HERO Sports spoke to a school's recruiting coordinator to get the scoop on Blackman, who was highly recruited by West Virginia, Miami, Temple and Louisville before choosing Florida State.. Here's what he said:
"He's a really good athlete and what makes him fun to evaluate is his ability to improvise. That's also what makes him a project. For a prep kid he throws a nice ball and generally gets his feet set before starting his motion unless he's sliding from the pocket. He makes all kinds of throws on the run and shows an above-average throwing arm.
"James sometimes showed an advanced ability to read a defense and make the throw with timing and touch. He wasn't asked to make a lot of pro-style throws, but displayed skill on out routes, posts, flys, seam routes, hooks and digs … all the basics. And it's tough to knock a kid for not doing more than that if he's not being asked to. And really, there's not a ton more to it.
"The keys to his development will consistent mechanics and getting comfortable in the pocket without leaking before he has to. He'll need to get stronger in his lower half and is a risky prospect, but it may just take some time. He's wiry strong, though, and everything is fluid and smooth. He's got really good feet and his release is quick and natural.
"FSU was a perfect situation for him because Deondre had at least two years left in school. We liked him a lot, but he stayed home and it was pretty clear from the start he was going to do that. He could end up a top-tier college QB."