VALDOSTA, Ga. – Florida State felt like home. And it was just down the road.
Tate Rodemaker knew where he wanted to play college football.
His mom, Leah, said she knew as the FSU visit was beginning late last week that her son was comfortable and had found his future home.
“You could just see it in his demeanor once we were there for a little while,” Leah Rodemaker said. “He was more relaxed. You could tell he was at home. Loved the coaches, the players. You could just see it.”
On Wednesday, the 247Sports three-star quarterback made it official, signing with FSU on the first day of the early signing period. Rodemaker was a USF commitment but flipped to FSU on Friday night after he made a visit to Tallahassee. He will enroll early at FSU in January.
Rodemaker threw for 3,225 yards, completing 207 of 310 pass attempts in 2019 at Valdosta High. He threw 42 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He had five games where he threw for more than 300 yards.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Rodemaker will join an FSU quarterback room that includes James Blackman and Jordan Travis.
“I think I can come in and compete Day 1,” Rodemaker said.
Rodemaker said he chose FSU over Northwestern and Baylor. He was the first verbal commitment to new coach Mike Norvell.
“I always liked Florida State,” Rodemaker said. “I always wish they would offer me and they finally did. That was kind of a game-changer because they were so close to home.”
Rodemaker thanked his parents and teammates as part of a signing ceremony at Valdosta High. He will move to Tallahassee in January.
A relationship built early with Norvell at Memphis helped, too. Norvell offered Rodemaker earlier in the summer. Leah Rodemaker said it was clear that her son didn’t want to go as far as Memphis. But when Norvell landed the FSU job on Dec. 8, the prior relationship between coach and quarterback was renewed.
His coach and father, Alan Rodemaker, said he was reluctant early to play Tate, unsure if he was ready and wanting to make certain that he didn’t get any preferential treatment. But in Tate’s sophomore year, it was clear he was the best quarterback on Valdosta High’s roster.
“Tate has had to earn his way,” Alan Rodemaker said. “We tried everybody before Tate. he didn’t start until two games into his sophomore year. When we put him in games, he would always drive us down to score. So we finally tried him and he balled out. He’s had the position ever since.”
Another Valdosta High prospect, running back Jaheim Bell, chose South Carolina over Florida State and Oklahoma. He initially grabbed an FSU hat before picking up the Gamecocks hat and putting it on.