FSU Football: Depth Issues at Quarterback an Issue For 2017?

Apr 9, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Malik Henry (6) throws a ball during the Florida State spring game at the Citrus Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 9, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Malik Henry (6) throws a ball during the Florida State spring game at the Citrus Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports /

FSU football coach Jimbo Fisher is renowned for developing quarterbacks. After the transfer of Malik Henry, Fisher finds his self in a peculiar situation.

The front-line talent that Jimbo Fisher has developed at the quarterback position is undeniable. Regardless of the results after they get to the NFL, Fisher is a proven commodity when it comes to getting quarterbacks to the league.

Fisher and FSU football are set at starting quarterback with redshirt freshman Deondre Francois returning. However, the transfer of Malik Henry leaves the ‘Noles in an uncomfortable situation when analyzing the depth of the position.

Depth In 2016

In 2016, FSU football found their selves in one of the more desirable backup quarterback situations in college football. Deondre Francois took over at starting quarterback and experienced senior Sean Maguire was ready to step in when needed. Entering 2016, Maguire had already attempted 259 career passes and also gained experience starting big games against Clemson and Florida – with a 2-1 record as a starter against the Seminoles’ rivals.

Henry Transfer

Unfortunately for FSU football, they won’t be afforded the luxury of an experienced backup in 2017. The transfer of former blue-chip recruit Malik Henry will leave the Noles with depth issues at quarterback. Henry enrolled at FSU in January and showed great promise in the 2016 spring game. The red flags have been there for Henry since high school – where he made multiple transfers before enrolling at FSU.

Henry showed discipline issues in his short FSU career, receiving a suspension for violating team rules early in the season. While Henry wouldn’t fit the bill of experienced backup, he possesses the natural talent that masks deficiencies caused by inexperience. None of the quarterbacks left on the FSU football depth chart are considered to have the same type of natural ability as Henry.

Depth in 2017

So what does the Malik Henry transfer mean for FSU’s quarterback depth in 2017? The transfer of Henry leaves the Seminoles with only two scholarship quarterbacks going into 2017 (excluding commits that are likely to redshirt).

First in line to backup Francois will be red shirt junior J.J. Cosentino. Cosentino has seen limited action at FSU, most notably replacing an injured Sean Maguire in the 2016 Peach Bowl. While Cosentino was not in an advantageous situation in the Peach Bowl, his performance left much to be desired.

Quite frankly, in the limited action we’ve seen of Cosentino he has yet to show anything that would lead one to believe he should be taking significant snaps at a program like FSU football.

The other candidate to backup Francois is redshirt sophomore walk on Jake Rizzo. Rizzo comes from a prestigious high school program: St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Although Rizzo lacks the prototypical size of a quarterback at only 6 feet and 190 pounds, he is considered to be a pro-style quarterback. Rizzo achieved great success in high school, leading the Raiders to a Class 7A state title in his senior season. Expect a serious battle through-out the spring and off season between Cosentino and Rizzo as they jockey for the position of backup quarterback.

Potential Dilemma

The issues of depth at quarterback leave FSU football in a less than desirable position. Jimbo Fisher will look to prepare one of the aforementioned players to be a solid backup to Deondre Francois. With neither of the backups being proven commodities, the FSU football fan base is understandably uneasy about the quarterback depth chart.

Injuries are a part of football and there is no doubting the toughness of Deondre Francois. Still, the fact remains that the Seminoles could find their selves in a catastrophic scenario if Francois were to suffer an injury that caused him to miss a significant amount of time in 2017.