The Daily Nole

Top 5 QBs FSU Will Face in 2016

Jeremy Esbrandt/FSU athletics

The start of the regular season is just four months away for Florida State as the Seminoles look for fourth ACC title in five years and perhaps a spot in the College Football Playoff. The hot topic of the offseason for FSU has been who will start at quarterback, but the Noles will face some pretty good quarterbacks on the other side of the field this coming season as well. Here are the top 5:

1. Deshaun Watson, Clemson
2015 Stats:
68% completions, 4,104 yards passing, 35 touchdown passes, 13 interceptions, 1,105 yards rushing, 12 touchdowns.
Clemson junior quarterback Deshaun Watson might be the Heisman Trophy front-runner heading into 2016. Watson can carve up a defense with his arm or his legs and is very accurate, even on the run. Watson passed for 297 yards and a score and rushed for 107 more in last season’s 23-13 win over the Seminoles. The teams will meet in Tallahassee this season on Oct. 29.

2. Chad Kelly, Ole Miss
2015 Stats:
65% completions, 4,042 yards passing, 31 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 500 yards rushing, 10 touchdowns
Like Deshaun Watson currently does, Chad Kelly of Ole Miss, once took snaps for Clemson. Kelly is a dual-threat who was a big reason for Ole Miss’ Sugar Bowl victory and top 10 finish a season ago. Kelly is losing his top target in Laquan Treadwell, but is still seen by many as a Heisman Trophy darkhorse. Kelly and the Rebels will open 2016 against the Seminoles in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando on Labor Day.

3. Brad Kaaya, Miami
2015 Stats:
61% completions, 3,238 yards passing, 16 touchdowns, 5 interceptions
Brad Kaaya isn’t the threat with his legs that others on the list are, but he may be the best pure passer that FSU will see in 2016. With no help from his running game in Tallahassee last season, Kaaya nearly willed the Hurricanes to an upset of the Seminoles, passing for 405 yards and three scores in a 29-24 loss to Florida State. The Seminoles will visit Miami this season on Oct. 8.

4. Lamar Jackson, Louisville
2015 Stats:
55% completions, 1,840 yards, 12 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 960 yards rushing, 10 touchdowns
Lamar Jackson is probably the shiftiest quarterback Florida State had to face last season and the same will be true for 2016. Over the final part of 2015 however, Jackson really matured as a passer, beginning with last season’s contest in Tallahassee. In a 41-21 loss to FSU, Jackson passed for 307 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. After throwing just three touchdowns and four picks over his first five games last season, Jackson threw nine touchdowns and four interceptions over his last eight. Louisville will host FSU on Sept. 17 in what will be the Seminoles’ first true road game.

5. Quinton Flowers, South Florida
2015 Stats:
59% completions, 2,296 yards, 22 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 991 yards rushing, 12 touchdowns
Compare South Florida’s Quinton Flowers to Louisville’s Lamar Jackson and the body of work is similar. Flowers, a junior, is an outstanding athlete that matured as a passer as the season went on. Over the final five games of Flowers’ sophomore season, he accounted for 15 total touchdowns and just two picks. Against FSU last season, Flowers had a pedestrian day, throwing for just 125 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The Seminoles visit South Florida on Sept. 24.

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