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Monday, February 11, 2013
State of the Noles: Quarterbacks

By NoleNation Staff

When it comes to recruiting, coaches need to be thinking long-term. It's not just about which holes must be filled immediately, but rather where the needs might be in two or three more years.

With that in mind, NoleNation writers David Hale and Corey Dowlar are going position by position looking at what FSU has on its roster now and who might provide reinforcements down the line, projecting starters and evaluating the depth through 2015.

First up is perhaps the most loaded and discussed position on the roster: Quarterback.

Florida State
Sophomore Jacob Coker has the athletic tools, but will that be enough to beat junior Clint Trickett and redshirt freshman Jameis Winston for the starting quarterback job?
Current scholarship QBs (5):
Clint Trickett (Jr.)
Jacob Coker (RSo.)
Jameis Winston (RFr.)
Sean Maguire (RFr.)
John Franklin III (Fr.)

Predicted starters (Hale's pick/Dowlar's pick)
2013: Coker/Coker
2014: Winston/Coker
2015: Winston/Winston

Potential early departures: Coker and Winston both have the potential to be early entrees in the NFL draft after as little as two years as the starter. Coker would be eligible at the end of 2013, Winston following the 2014 season.

Why they'll start: Little credit seems to be going to Trickett at this point, although he remains the nominal No. 1 on the depth chart. It's less an indictment of the junior, however, than it is a massive amount of expectations that surround his younger counterparts.

Coker and Winston both have an exceptional combination of arm strength and athleticism. Winston, who redshirted in 2012, comes with more potential upside and certainly more hype throughout the recruiting process. Coker, on the other hand, has two years of experience in the system, has taken game-day snaps already, and he has developed well beyond his three-star rating coming out of high school.

In the end, the decision remains a wild card, but a particularly intriguing one since only a year separates the two potential stars. If Coker wins the job, would Winston be willing to play understudy for the next two or three years before getting his shot? And if Winston wins out, does that mean he's passed Coker for good? Jimbo Fisher will have a wealth of riches this spring, but there has to be some concern about whether he can hang on to all that talent after someone officially wins the starting job.

Who might FSU add: Florida State already has a commitment at the quarterback position from De'Andre Johnson (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast), but he's only a sophomore. Franklin has been added from the 2013 haul, but odds are he won't be stay at quarterback position for long. He's got tremendous athleticism that could be better served at wide receiver or defensive back.

The real question is who will be Florida State's 2014 commitment at quarterback. The top target at the position is Deshaun Watson (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville). The only problem is, Watson is committed to Clemson currently. His high school plays a spread offense similar to what the Tigers run under Chad Morris, and it's close to Clemson's campus.

Right after Watson is J.J. Cosentino (Pittsburgh, Pa./Pittsburgh Central Catholic), the only other offered quarterback in the junior class. With Sal Sunseri's ties to the state, FSU could have an inside track to the 6-foot-5, 220-pound pocket passer.

Grade: A. At least, that's the grade for now. If Winston or Coker should decide to transfer -- and, to be clear, neither has indicated that they've considered the idea -- that would certainly shake things up. At the moment, however, FSU is in excellent shape at quarterback for the foreseeable future.