The Daily Nole

FSU Football: The Case for and Against Bailey Hockman as Starting QB

Mitch White/FSU athletics

With new head coach Willie Taggart having wasted little time etching himself into the Florida State culture, the big topic of the 2018 offseason has become the quarterback competition.

Most believe the battle will be between the 2016 ACC Rookie of the Year, Deondre Francois and last season’s starter James Blackman. Redshirt freshman Bailey Hockman, however, is another player who cannot be slept on.

We previously looked at the reasons for and against Deondre Francois and James Blackman to assume the role. In the final part of a 3-part series, we’ll look at the dark horse in the race — Bailey Hockman.

The Case For
When it comes to the other two quarterbacks and Willie Taggart’s “Gulf Coast Offense”, Deondre Francois’ athleticism and James Blackman’s potential as a passer often gets brought up. The lefty Bailey Hockman may actually combine the best of the other two’s abilities.

Hockman has good size at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds and a lot of good intangibles. Hockman can throw or run the football and does a pretty good job throwing on the move and moving within the pocket. Although he’s the least experienced quarterback on the roster in terms of game experience, all three quarterbacks are starting from scratch when it comes to Taggart’s offense. The argument could be made that Hockman has the most upside.

Hockman and Blackman were the only two scholarship quarterbacks to compete in the spring game, but one could reasonably conclude that Hockman had the better day. Although he and Blackman each completed 50 percent of their passes, Hockman had more yards per attempt and a higher passer rating. With four years of eligibility remaining, starting Hockman could yield the biggest benefit long-term.

The Case Against
Unlike Francois and Blackman, Hockman has no experience playing in an actual contest and the schedule doesn’t allow for the Seminoles to ease a quarterback in. FSU opens with a top-25 Virginia Tech team in prime time and plays three ACC games, including two on the road, before the month of September ends.

Although his body has not endured the FBS-level hits that either Francois or Blackman has, it should be noted that Hockman doesn’t exactly have a clean bill of health. Hockman fought through a stress fracture in his foot during the spring, although that does speak to his toughness.

While Hockman did pass for more yards per attempt and hold a higher passer rating than Blackman during the spring game, his offense was much more stacked at the skill positions. With Khalan Laborn running wild, Hockman also had Tamorrion Terry and D.J. Matthews at receiver, who each went for over 100 yards. With that arsenal, one could argue that he should have had a better day than 11-for-22 passing.

Injuries for Hockman played a factor last season, but it should be noted that Blackman was given the nod as FSU starting quarterback following the injury to Francois despite not enrolling early like Hockman. Blackman was regarded as the better quarterback in fall practice. Hockman’s foot injuries are concerning and could continue as he puts a lot of pressure on his plant foot with his delivery.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

One Comment

  1. finance85

    July 9, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    Accuracy, especially while on the move, will be a factor. Taggart has also said that he values leadership. It might really be interesting to see what Taggart does under the new redshirt rules if Francois is slightly ahead of Blackman, and Hockman and Blackman are equal. Blackman could redshirt, and Hockman could get reps at number two, and get some game experience along the way.

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