Spring Stock Report: Quarterback

Now that spring drills are in the rearview mirror for Florida State and the annual Garnet and Gold Game has been played, it's time to analyze the Seminoles position by position. Today? Quarterback.

Projected Starter: E.J. Manuel
Notable Backups: Clint Trickett, Jacob Coker, Jameis Winston, Sean Maguire

The Skinny: Every coach in the country would like to have a returning starter under center that's also a fifth-year senior and already has three bowl victories under his belt, and that's what Jimbo Fisher has in Manuel. Nevertheless, Manuel is yet to fully realize his limitless potential, as the 6-5, 238-pounder has everything you could ever want in a passer from a physical perspective but still makes some head-scratching decisions with the football from time to time. Additionally, he needs to avoid the injury bug once and for all -- he played most of 2011 on a bum shoulder and then broke his leg in the bowl game -- because while Trickett played well more often than not when called upon this past season, Fisher's offense has been engineered for Manuel and his enviable skill set.

Stock Up: Some media outlets in Tallahassee tried to play up the idea that Trickett and Coker were in a blood-and-guts battle for the No. 2 job behind Manuel, which wasn't totally accurate since spring practice is about competition at every position and building quality depth on both sides of the ball. Trickett earned valuable experience a year ago and did nothing to lose his role as the primary backup, and in the Garnet and Gold Game he completed 12 of 23 passes for 173 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, including a 70-yard scoring strike to junior receiver Greg Dent on the first play of the game.

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Stock Flat: Manuel managed to connect on 28 of 51 passes for 255 yards, found the end zone two times and looked as comfortable as ever driving the Gold team the length of the field on his opening possession, although he threw two INTs and had one of them returned 49 yards to paydirt by junior safety Terrence Brooks. The Virginia Beach native must learn to eliminate those one or two boneheaded things he does seemingly every game if he's going to be a great quarterback before it's all said and done.

Stock Down: Coker's numbers in the spring game were pretty sound, as he hit on 8 of 11 throws for 137 yards, highlighted by a 35-yard gainer on the run to junior tight end Dan Hicks that was nothing short of a thing of beauty. However, while the redshirt freshman is more gifted physically than Trickett in every capacity, his throwing motion remains a work in progress and he doesn't keep his eyes downfield once pass rushers begin to make their presence felt, which means he simply needs more seasoning.

Fall Wish List: A clean bill of health for Manuel and zero need at any point for the Seminoles to see what Coker can do when the outcome is still in doubt.

Spring Stock Reports: QB  |  RB  |  WR  |  TE  |  OL  |  DT  |  DE  |  LB  |  CB  |  S

John Crist is the editor-in-chief of NoleDigest.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

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