J.J. Cosentino

AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser

Unproven FSU quarterbacks getting opportunity to prove value this spring

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Who will be Florida State’s starting quarterback in 2016? Your guess is as good as anyone’s at this point early in the spring practice schedule for Florida State. Head coach Jimbo Fisher is in no real rush to name a starter and says the competition early on is far too close to make such a decision.

“You’ve got to come back and do it in the fall, but [spring] gives you an evaluation of what a guy is capable of, why he plays, what he can and can’t do,” Fisher said (via The Orlando Sentinel). “His demeanor, how he responds in a team atmosphere, how he leans, how he plays [under] pressure. We put a lot of stuff on them.”

With Sean Maguire (perhaps the likely starter in the end) out for the spring with a broken ankle, the competing candidates for the job in Tallahassee include redshirt freshman Deondre Francois, Malik Henry and J.J. Cosentino. Maguire has prior starting experience, which figures to help his case when healthy, but Fisher has put everyone on high alert this spring. For now, don’t expect players to be choosing sides.

“They’re completing passes, they’re making the throws,” Florida State safety Derwin James said. “The best man is going to win. They all look good though, and I like all of them.”

Of course, there is no reason to rush any decision on such a key position. Fisher is stressing the importance of competition this spring, and now is as good a time as any to give these quarterbacks a chance to prove themselves while Maguire sits on the sideline rehabbing his ankle. Look for that to continue this spring and take center stage in the upcoming spring game in Orlando, and then carry over to the summer.

Charlie Strong gets his next Bridgewater, flips QB from FSU to Texas

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Texas head coach Charlie Strong is doing all he can to rebuild the Texas football program, and now he may have his quarterback to get things going. Kai Locksley switched his commitment from Florida State to Texas, giving Strong a huge recruit just days before National Signing Day.

Locksley, the son of Maryland assistant coach Mike Locksley, is a four-star recruit according to Rivals. The recruiting service labels Locksley an athlete, but he is expected to play quarterback for the Longhorns. Locksley had committed to the Seminoles last July, but with a crowded quarterback position in Florida State’s recruiting class and in Tallahassee, it was likely one quarterback was going to pursue a different route. This turned out to be Locksley, who now will have a chance to step in early and have an impact in Austin as Strong attempts to revive the program.

Strong did tremendous work in building the Louisville program and he had a quarterback more than capable of carrying the load the entire time in Teddy Bridgewater. It would be premature to suggest Locksley will be as good as or better than Bridgewater turned out to be at Louisville. Bridgewater was a special player and was the perfect quarterback to buy into Strong’s philosophies. If Locksley brings the same qualities to Austin, then things should be pretty fun to watch at Texas rather soon.

As for Florida State, the job to replace Jameis Winston loses one potential candidate in 2015 with Locksley going to Texas. Florida State returns Sean Maguire, J.J. Cosentino and John Franklin and will add early enrollee De’Andre Johnson and Class of 2015 commit Deondre Francois (unless he has a change of heart as well).

Florida State (over)loading up on QB recruits in 2015

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It is amazing what a national championship can do to a program’s recruiting production. Just take a look at Florida State, now with three quarterback recruits verbally committed for the Class of 2015. For now.

As of today, Florida State has three four-star quarterbacks lined up in the Class of 2015, according to Rivals. That includes in-state prospects Deondre Francois and De’Andre Johnson and Maryland recruit Kai Locksley, the son of Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley who surprised some Thursday afternoon by committing to the Seminoles. Locksley’s verbal came slightly before that of Francois, which makes the recruiting plan a bit interesting for Florida State moving forward. In case you forgot, Florida State is already in a pretty solid position under center with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Jameis Winston, returning for just his sophomore season. Florida State also added four-star quarterback J.J. Cosentino in the most recent recruiting class. Simply put, life is good for head coach Jimbo Fisher as far as quarterbacks are concerned. Francois, Johnson and Locksley are all classified as dual-threat options, while Cosentino is scouted more as a typical pro-style quarterback. Winston, of course, is labeled a dual-threat quarterback as well, so that may give a sense for which direction Fisher would like to go on offense. Hey, it worked last season, but what do you do with all of that talent under center?

The first question to address is the future of Winston in Tallahassee. Winston has stated he intends to play two more seasons for Florida State before deciding on his pro future, which echoed comments made by his father earlier in the offseason. If Winston does stay on campus through the end of the 2015 season, the next question is what goes through the minds of four four-star quarterbacks hoping to be the next starter for Florida State? What are the odds Francois, Johnson, Locksley and Cosentino are all still in Tallahassee? They may not be all that great.

For Fisher, that is a problem he will have to begin sorting through now, although the additions of Francois, Johnson and Locksley will not become official until the next signing day, if they all choose to stay committed to Florida State. By then Fisher will have a better idea of whether or not Winston really will be back in 2015 or if he ends up heading into the NFL. The planning for the position all hinges on Winston’s decision, and Winston’s decision could be an influential one to the future decisions of the Class of 2015 quarterbacks. If Winston does come back, might one of these Class of 2015 quarterbacks re-open his recruiting process? It certainly would not be out of the question, nor would it be against the norm in college football recruiting. Florida State is even in a position where it would not be worth sweating over if one of the quarterbacks did start looking again.

Florida State’s recruiting “problem” is one that every program would love to have. There is never anything wrong with having too much talent in a recruiting class, just ask Alabama.