AMELIA ISLAND – Florida State’s quarterback room is filling up.
The Seminoles have replenished depth at the position by playing the transfer market. They have landed graduate transfer Alex Hornibrook (from Wisconsin) as well as Jordan Travis (from Louisville) and Wyatt Rector (from Western Michigan).
After coach Willie Taggart dismissed Deondre Francois in February, and the Seminoles didn’t sign a quarterback in the 2018 or 2019 classes, FSU was quite thin at the position with just James Blackman and walk-on Nolan McDonald.
“We went from not having any to a busload of them now, huh?” Taggart said on Tuesday at the ACC spring meetings. “Crazy how that works.”
Taggart said on Tuesday that Hornibrook and Rector had arrived on campus, as has offensive tackle Ryan Roberts (Northern Illinois). He said there’s no update on Travis, who is still awaiting a decision on his appeal to play this fall.
Rector, who just arrived on campus, must also appeal to be eligible in the fall.
“A very athletic quarterback who has done some good things at his old school,” Taggart said. “He’s a guy you can do a lot of different things with. He’s a good-looking athlete. Brings some more depth to our quarterback position. Looking forward to seeing him come out and competing.”
Xavier Peters’ departure
Defensive end Xavier Peters was suspended from the team for unspecified reasons and didn’t play in Florida State’s spring game.
Peters told 247Sports on Monday that he was looking to transfer to play closer to his home in Ohio. A day later, Taggart lamented the loss of Peters and said he wishes him the best.
“You always like to talk to them,” Taggart said. “It doesn’t happen all the time, again because a lot of guys make up their minds or have been talked into doing something and they don’t want to hear you try to talk them out of it. So they make up their mind and go. … You wish them the best and hope everything works out for them.”
Taggart expressed some concern about the NCAA transfer portal setup where players can go without knowing what direction they will end up or if they will have a home.
“You see some guys stuck because they just assume that you go in and get a scholarship,” Taggart said. “That’s not happening. Kids that’s giving up a scholarship and getting their school paid for and then they’re out. I don’t think that’s right for the kids. I think we have to do a better job of studying it and making sure we’re doing what’s best for the kids.”
FSU has lost junior Brian Burns, a first-round pick by the Carolina Panthers, as well as Peters. Beyond Janarius Robinson (27 tackles, one sack) and Joshua Kaindoh (19 tackles, three sacks), the Seminoles are short on experience at defensive end.
But FSU does have a large group of potential outside linebackers, such as Leonard Warner and Josh Brown, who could be used as edge rushers. And the Seminoles signed four defensive ends in the 2019 group.
“Very confident that we have guys on our team that will get the job done,” Taggart said. “And we got some guys coming in that will help.”
Taggart ‘shout out’
FSU made headlines for its 2017-18 APR score but Taggart also made a point to tweet about 24 athletes on Friday who were excelling in the classroom. He stated on Tuesday that 29 players had their personal-best GPAs for the spring semester.
“I was giving them a shoutout,” Taggart said. “I was proud of our guys. We put emphasis on it. If you put emphasis on it, you want to show them some love. Showing some love for the work that they put in. You get 29 guys with a personal-best (GPA), that says a lot for young men that was just kind of getting by. And then you challenge them to step their game up academically and they do it, to me that’s a big deal. Or guys getting over a 3.0 that’s a big deal because our team goal is to have a team GPA over 3.0. … I feel like our football team got better academically.”