Next season, the Florida State Seminoles return starting QB EJ Manuel, who is coming off a decent year statistically. Manuel finished 2011, which was his first full year as starter, with 2,666 yards passing, 18 TD’s and 8 interceptions with a 65% completion percentage. While these numbers are not among the best in the country, they are much more than serviceable and the Seminoles know what they have in EJ Manuel. One of the questions on the minds of Seminole fans is how the battle behind Manuel will shape up over the coming months leading up to the 2012 season. Florida State has two talented candidates in redshirt sophomore Clint Trickett and redshirt freshman Jacob Coker, who will go head to head for a shot at being the first off the bench in case of emergency or blowout.
I will start with Clint Trickett, who has more talent than he is given credit for. When looking at Trickett, the first thing that people notice is his size and that isn’t a good thing. He is extremely thin and not very mobile. Fortunately for him and possibly for FSU as well, it appears that he has finally started to make at least some gains in that department. Having seen him recently, I would not be surprised if he weighed 180 lbs. Obviously, that is still not very big at all for an elite level college QB. Despite the size concerns, Trickett has shown some solid arm talent and competitive nature that makes it impossible to simply write him out of a race. In his limited time, Trickett showed flashes of how promising a player he could be with a great performance against Clemson in 2011.
In that game, Clint Trickett threw for 336 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The performance was a bit of a surprise for some and to a degree got others more excited than they should have been. Trickett performed well against Louisiana-Monroe and Charleston Southern, which is of course a good thing; but those are both subpar competition teams. Against an Oklahoma team that was then ranked #1 in the nation, Trickett performed as expected under the circumstances. It was one of the biggest games of the year in an electrifying environment and he had no running game to fall back on for support. He showed some serious guts in that game, but completed less than 50% of his passes, threw an interception and one of the luckiest touchdown passes in Seminole history. As mentioned before, the big day against Clemson was great to see for FSU fans, despite the loss. Ultimately we would all gain further confirmation as the season went on that the Clemson defense simply was not very good, which doesn’t negate his play, but simply puts it into perspective.
The following week, Trickett performed poorly on the road against Wake Forest, where he turned the ball over three times in just under a full half of play. Overall, what can be taken away from Clint Trickett’s redshirt freshman season is that he’s a kid with talent who needs more playing experience to settle himself down and prove he can be consistent. For those who would like to write him off based on his play against Wake Forest, slow down. For those who would like to crown him for his play against Clemson, slow down. As it stands now, he is Florida State’s #2 QB and despite the talented young man we are about to discuss next, that may not change this season.
Redshirt freshman Jacob Coker has a lot of things going for him as a quarterback and one glaring advantage he has over Trickett is that he passes the eye test. Coker is 6’5 and weighs around 235 lbs. In addition to the size, he also brings mobility and athletcism to the table that Trickett does not have. By all accounts, this is a sharp kid who works hard and has natural leadership qualities. When you add all of these attributes together, it is easy to see why FSU fans and media are eager to see what Coker can actually do. In two weeks, Seminole fans will see Jacob Coker unleashed in live action for the first time and make the first judgment for themselves. There is a lot of promise and buzz surrounding him. So much so that there are many who argue he may beat out Clint Trickett and incoming #1 QB prospect Jameis Winston in 2013 and beyond as starter for the Florida State Seminoles. Only time will tell.
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