The Daily Nole

Column: FSU Fans Should Be Thankful for Maguire Regardless of QB Competition Outcome

Jeff Romance/FSU athletics

Florida State is just days removed from its spring game and all the rave seems to be about the play of the Seminoles’ freshman quarterbacks.

In an intrasquad contest with a running clock, redshirt freshman Deondre Francois and early enrollee Malik Henry each shined. Francois finished 20-for-33 passing for 246 yards, a pair of touchdowns and two interceptions while Henry was 15-for-22 for 205 yards and two touchdowns. Francois added 37 yards on the ground.

After a stellar performance from the two young signal-callers, it’s beginning to look more and more like the Seminoles will go away from Sean Maguire, a redshirt senior. Maguire missed all of spring with a foot injury suffered during FSU’s 38-24 Peach Bowl loss to Houston.

Maguire threw four interceptions in the defeat to leave a bit of a sour taste in fans’ mouths, but regardless of whether or not that’s the last we see of Maguire in a prominent role at FSU, all Seminole fans should be thankful for his contributions to the program.

Considering that aside from FSU, the only FBS school to offer Maguire a scholarship was Buffalo, being the next Jameis Winston, Chris Weinke or Casey Weldon was probably never going to be in the cards for Maguire. Though he’s made only six starts, Maguire has been an important part of Florida State’s success over the last two seasons.

Maguire’s first start came on Sept. 20, 2014 in the Seminoles’ ACC opener against Clemson. Maguire, then a redshirt sophomore, was forced into action after starter Jameis Winston was suspended for shouting a profane meme on campus. Winston was originally suspended a half, but less than 24 hours before kickoff, his suspension was pushed to a full game.

In a contest where the winner had went on to win the ACC Atlantic in each of the previous five years, Maguire passed for 304 yards. His 74-yard touchdown pass to Rashad Greene with 6:04 remaining in the fourth quarter evened the game, 17-17. Thanks to a late forced turnover and a fourth down stop in overtime, the Seminoles went on to a thrilling 23-17 victory which allowed FSU to not only win its third straight ACC title, but to be a part of the first College Football Playoff.

After losing out on the starting job last offseason to Notre Dame transfer Everett Golson, Maguire again performed admirably on short notice. In an Oct. 31 contest against Syracuse, Maguire was given the start for a concussed Golson just hours before kickoff. Maguire proceeded to pass for 348 yards and three scores in a 45-21 FSU victory.

With Maguire at the helm, FSU lost 23-13 at Clemson the following week, which led to Golson reclaiming the reigns. In the 2015 ACC finale at home against North Carolina State, the Seminoles fell behind 17-7, thanks largely to three Golson turnovers. Maguire was inserted back into the lineup and promptly led four straight scoring drives as FSU came from behind to win 34-17.

In the regular season finale at rival Florida, Maguire helped the Seminoles roll their rivals, 27-2. Maguire passed for 160 yards and a touchdown as FSU notched a third straight win over the Gators. The victory assured Florida State a fourth straight 10-win season and a berth in a New Year’s Six bowl.

Though Maguire couldn’t seem to keep the ball away from the Cougars in the Peach Bowl, it’s worth noting that he battled through a noticeable limp for the majority of the contest. The foot injury would require offseason surgery and though his performance in Atlanta left much to be desired, his effort was admirable.

There can be plenty of arguments made as to why Francois or Henry should get the start over Maguire in 2016. Mobility, upside and the potentially long-term dividends are just a few. After watching home contests against Clemson, Syracuse and N.C. State over the previous two seasons however, Maguire is certainly a good guy to have on standby.

If in fact the short Sean Maguire era is over at FSU, it was far from unaccomplished. Maguire helped keep FSU’s playoff hopes alive in 2014 and was a big reason for the Seminoles’ 10-win campaign in 2015. Regardless of whether it’s Maguire, Francois or Henry who takes the opening snaps against Ole Miss on Labor Day, all FSU fans should be thankful for the redshirt senior from New Jersey’s role in helping the Seminoles remain one of college football’s most high-profile programs.

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