Blackman is No. 1 on the depth chart, but don't go calling him the starter just yet

Credit: Mitch White | FSU Sports Information
Credit: Mitch White | FSU Sports Information(WCTV)
Published: Jul. 17, 2019 at 6:17 PM EDT
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July 17, 2019

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (247SPORTS) -- Florida State head coach Willie Taggart isn't ready to name redshirt sophomore quarterback James Blackman as the clear-cut starter for the Seminoles on August 31 against Boise State in Jacksonville, Fla.

But Blackman knows where he stands with his head coach as the preseason gets set to begin.

"It’s a competition," Taggart said on Wednesday at ACC Kickoff of his team's quarterback situation. “[Blackman] is the starting quarterback, he has been starting the spring, and he has the understanding that he will go in [to preseason camp as the] No. 1.

"But those guys are going to compete and get the reps and the best man is going to win the job,” Taggart added.

The competiton for Blackman will come from transfer quarterback, graduate Alex Hornibrook. The Wisconsin transfer arrived at FSU in May, and according to comments by both Taggart and wide receiver Tamorrion Terry on Wednesday, has done an outstanding job of acclimating himself to the program, as well as the offensive system. Redshirt freshman Jordan Travis could also enter the mix, but as of today, he is still reportedly pursuing a waiver for immediate eligibility after transferring from Louisville.

"I think James appreciates that," Taggart said of the newfound competitors for Blackman. "You ask James, he will tell you that is why he came to Florida State, was to compete. That is what he intended to do. I don't think any one of our kids came to Florida State not anticipating to compete.

"James will be the first to tell you that he embraces that. He loves competition. He thrives off of it," Taggart added.

But heading into camp, Blackman is the odds-on favorite to be the signal caller for the Seminoles this year. He has put on good weight, as he is now being listed at 195 pounds by FSU. He is also working to be the best player he can be for the Seminoles.

"He is ahead of where he was last year," Taggart said. “I think James has grown up. He’s always been a great leader, but I think he’s taken another step when it comes to leadership. He’s working his tail off, I’ve seen him around the office more than ever, in there learning and going over football.

"I think last year was beneficial for him to be on the sideline and see it from a different angle," Taggart added.

Taggart added where he wants to see growth from the third-year quarterback.

"Well, I just want James to understand the game of football better," Taggart said. "He has been a great leader, like I said before, and the players love him. Just understanding the game better and understanding why we are doing things that we are doing. He has put the work in to be able to do that.

"He has taken pride in being a better quarterback," Taggart added. "But I think he also understood that he had to. He had to work at it, becoming a better quarterback."

FSU is expected to open preseason camp on August 2.

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