What should FSU football fans expect from the 2020 QB class?

TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 7: Florida State Seminoles fans cheer during the first half of an NCAA football game against the Miami Hurricanes at Doak S. Campbell Stadium on October 7, 2017 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images)
TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 7: Florida State Seminoles fans cheer during the first half of an NCAA football game against the Miami Hurricanes at Doak S. Campbell Stadium on October 7, 2017 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images) /

With two quarterbacks signing to play for FSU next fall, Chop Chat’s Sam Tschida takes a look at why FSU fans should be excited about each QB.

For the first time since 2017, FSU Football has officially signed a quarterback commit in their recruiting class. Tate Rodemaker, a three-star quarterback from Valdosta High School, just up the road from Tallahassee, officially signed his letter of intent with Florida State last Wednesday. After the de-commitment of four-star quarterback Jeff Sims last week, the new coaching staff getting Rodemaker to commit so quickly is very important for the program, which we talked about here.

Along with Rodemaker, the ‘Noles reeled in another quarterback commitment on the first day of the Early Signing Period. Chubba Purdy, a four-star quarterback from Arizona and longtime Louisville commit, officially signed with the ‘Noles. Purdy, the younger brother of Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy, was a surprising commitment who received an offer only a week ago.

Purdy was not really on any fan’s radar, even almost a week after Norvell’s hiring, but in less than four days, the coaching staff got a commitment from a blue-chip quarterback. Purdy is the first blue-chip QB to commit to the ‘Noles since Bailey Hockman in the 2017 signing class.

Florida State Seminoles Football
Florida State Seminoles Football /

Florida State Seminoles Football

First, it is important to note that nearly half of Power Five quarterbacks end up transferring. A recent study from The Athletic showed that over a four-year period, 57% of blue-chip quarterbacks transferred schools. FSU fans are familiar with quarterbacks transferring; since the 2012 recruiting class, not a single quarterback who signed with Florida State has finished his career at FSU, the last one being Sean Maguire in 2016.

This isn’t to say that either Purdy or Rodemaker will transfer, but it does illustrate the importance of signing multiple quarterbacks, especially at a school like FSU.

Still, FSU fans should be excited about landing multiple quarterbacks with a brand new coaching staff. With Rodemaker and Purdy now officially apart of the Tribe, what should FSU fans expect out of each quarterback?

Tate Rodemaker

First, let’s look at Rodemaker, who was a USF commit just one week ago. Rodemaker is a three-star quarterback from Valdosta High School, one of the best high school football programs in the country. He has been the starting quarterback for Valdosta the past two seasons, and this past year led the Wildcats to the third round of the Georgia 6A playoffs.

Rodemaker threw for 42 touchdowns against just 10 interceptions and totaled 3225 passing yards this year, and is in contention for player of the year in south Georgia. This wasn’t against bad competition either, with the Wildcats playing at the 6A level, the second-highest in the state.

Despite the ridiculous passing numbers, Rodemaker is still ‘only’ a three-star. Standing at 6’4 and weighing 190, Rodemaker is not undersized for a quarterback. The main issues seem to be a slightly-long throwing motion and not an incredibly strong arm. But Rodemaker shows a lot of positives in his film.

Here, we see Rodemaker drop a dime between two defenders for a touchdown. The slot receiver runs a skinny post up the middle and gets behind the safety who bites on the underneath route. quickly makes a good decision here, recognizing the open space in the middle and tossing a beautiful ball right between two defenders for the score.

This throw demonstrates really good accuracy from Rodemaker, and is a big reason why so many schools took a heavy interest in him later in the cycle. Another example of quick decision making can be seen here.

This isn’t a difficult throw, but it does demonstrate the quickness in which Rodemaker makes decisions. He recognizes the blitz, sees a ton of space, and quickly makes the throw. This is an RPO (Run-Pass-Option), meaning he can either hand it off or throw the ball to a receiver. Rodemaker quickly makes the correct decision, and it results in a touchdown for his team.

In Mike Norvell’s offense (which I gave a brief overview of here), it sets up a lot of quick throws and sets up receivers in space off of play-action and RPOs. The quarterback does not need a rocket arm to succeed, which is why Rodemaker can be successful.

Chubba Purdy

The second quarterback commit, Chubba Purdy, is the highest-rated quarterback signed by FSU since Malik Henry in 2016. A four-star QB rated as the sixth-best dual-threat quarterback in the country, Purdy led Perry High School to a 7-5 record this past season. During his senior year, he passed for 33 touchdowns against just 7 interceptions and threw for over 3300 yards. Purdy is also a dangerous runner, gaining 2315 yards on the ground during his high school career, and scoring 43 touchdowns rushing during the past three seasons.

Purdy is a good athlete who keeps defenses on their toes, with a good arm and decent speed. He also has shown an ability to get out of the pocket under pressure, something that is incredibly crucial with FSU’s still rebuilding offensive line.

Here’s a great example of Purdy’s arm and accuracy. Now, full disclosure: this highlight is from his junior year, the defense in this video gave up 75 points against Purdy’s team. Still, that does not take away the dime Purdy drops here. The defense is sitting in a soft zone (look familiar FSU fans?) and Purdy sees his slot running a fly up the middle. He tosses it a bit to the left of the receiver in a relatively-tight window for a big gain. Those are the types of throws that FSU quarterbacks should make.

This is a good example of Purdy’s scrambling ability. He won’t be able to dance around like this against collegiate defensive lines, but it is indicative of his pocket awareness. The pocket breaks down, he avoids a tackle then outruns several for the TD.

Bottom Line

Florida State signed two very-capable quarterbacks in the 2019 class, and both players will push the current scholarship quarterbacks during spring practice and fall camp. There is no guarantee that either will start, but both Purdy and Rodemaker are good fits for the offense, and if they develop well, fans could see one of them starting against West Virginia next season.