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Florida State coach Willie Taggart has named redshirt sophomore quarterback James Blackman the starting quarterback for the 2019 season.Â
The Seminoles will open the season at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla. on Aug. 31 at 7 p.m.
Blackman, 6-foot-5, 195 pounds, beat out Wisconsin graduate transfer Alex Hornibrook and Louisville transfer Jordan Travis for the starting job.
“James is an unbelievable kid. Love James,” FSU offensive coordinator Kendal Briles said.Â
“His passion, his competitiveness, his belief in himself. So James is right where he needs to be. Heâ€™s hungry and he wants to eat.”
Blackman has started 13 games for the Seminoles over his first two years with the program.
He started 12Â games in 2017 as a true freshman after then starting quarterback Deondre Francois went down with a knee injury in the season-opener against Alabama.Â HeÂ threw for 2,230 yards with 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions despite only having a month of practice under his belt before his first appearance.
He lost the quarterback battle to Francois in 2018, but started one game with Francois out with injury.
Against North Carolina State,Â Blackman threw for 421 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. He earned ACC Quarterback of the Week honors for his performance.
Blackman and Hornibrook were the leaders in the competition with both players earning time with the first-team offense right up until Blackman was named the starter.
The competition was closer than expected with Hornibrook’s consistency keeping him in the raceÂ throughout fall camp, according to sources.
“I think he does have great abilities,” Briles said.Â
“Heâ€™s not the best runner in the world, heâ€™s not the strongest arm in the world. But when you put everything together, heâ€™s a dang good quarterback.”
The South Bay, Florida,Â native was ranked as the No. 16 pro-style quarterback and the No. 389 overall prospect in the 2017 class by the 247Sports composite ranking.Â
Blackman has the most upside of any quarterback on the roster. He has a strong arm and has the respect of his team as a leader.
Briles likes to take deep shots in his offense, and Blackman fills that role the best of any of the three quarterbacks.Â
He’s an underrated runner and has a quick release. He also has the firmest grasp of the offense after being here for the spring, along with Travis.Â
Blackman still needs work when it comes to consistency from play to play and his accuracy is getting better, according to Briles.Â
Overall, Blackman at quarterback gives FSU’s offense an extra dimension — the deep passing game –Â that it wouldn’t have with the other quarterbacks. He’s also someone that the team can rally around when things aren’t going well, which is something the program has lacked in recent years.Â
Follow Wayne McGahee III on Twitter @WayneMcGaheeIII