Position Breakdown: QB
Drew Weatherford: Going into 2008 Weatherford will be the most experienced quarterback in the ACC. The redshirt senior will come into the season with 33 starts under his belt. It is no secret the struggles the offense has seen with Drew under the helm, thus it is not out of the question that FSU will see another quarterback battle going into the Spring and into the fall. If Drew is able to get it together and become a consistent quarterback, look for him to be the opening game leader.
Xavier Lee: One word can describe Lee: enigma. After what looked to be him turning the corner versus Alabama, he fell apart against Wake Forest and Miami, causing the coaches to go back to Drew. Not to mention that Lee was suspended for two of the biggest games of the year in Boston College and Virginia Tech. There probably isn't a player on FSU's roster with more ability than Lee, but he hasn't put it together mentally. We saw spots of genius from Lee this year, but we also saw the play of a guy with less than 10 career starts. It is up in the air if he'll be a Nole next year, so it's too early to say yet what, if any, impact Lee will have next year.
Christian Ponder: Ponder is a legacy who came to FSU in 2006. As an early-enrollee he came in a semester earlier than the rest of his class, thus he'll be going into his 3rd spring as an FSU quarterback. While he has seen very little time in practice, he came into the game against Virginia Tech and was able to get some things going, showing poise and leadership to go with the ability to move in and out of the pocket. As of right now, Ponder is the best shot going into the off-season to supplant Weatherford as the starting quarterback in 2008.
D'Vontrey Richardson: A talented athlete who missed a vital spring while playing baseball, D'Vo has the tool-set to make a run for the starting spot. But, rumors again have risen of his future at FSU. Also there has been talk of him focusing primarily on baseball after the season is over. This young standout is the wildcard in this race.
FSU Commitments-(1) E.J. Manuel
E.J. Manuel: As the crown jewel of the 2008 recruiting class, Manuel is widely regarded as one of the top 2 signal callers this year. While Terrell Pryor has the ability to become another Vince Young, Manuel is more polished as a quarterback at this time.
Strengths: Manuel is an athletic quarterback, but is a legitimate pocket passer who can run. He stands tall in the pocket and has the ability to pick defenses apart. This is a quarterback who can make all of the throws, which is a lethal combined with his quick release. Whether with velocity or touch, Manuel gives a very catchable ball to his receivers.
Possibly the best attribute about E.J., and a reason he is so highly respected in this year's crop, is the leadership he brings to a team. One of the biggest stories out of the Elite 11 combine this year was the on-field leadership ability he showed. Fans have seen it with regards to the recruiting class. Confident and poised are two words that best fit this prospect at this stage.
Weaknesses: While the comparisons to former Jimbo Fisher QB JaMarcus Russell are often thrown around, the first thing people mention with E.J. is that he hasn't yet grown into his frame. To be able to sustain the hits on the college level he must be able to build onto his frame. At 210 pounds, he projects to be around 215-220 when he gets to FSU.
Another weakness that people have discussed is the level of competition, and the fact that his Bayside team has not been overly successful. Minus one standout receiver, that argument can be heavily debated. But until Manuel gets on the field, this will be a topic of discussion between fans and observers.
At this stage, there are not many weaknesses in the game of E.J. Manuel. While some experts feel this is a weak year for signal callers, many have thought that Manuel is one of the best to come out over the past 3 years. His somewhat lite frame and the time it'll take to adjust to college game is what he needs to work on.
Although a trend of dual-threat quarterbacks is the craze, pocket-passers like Manuel can still take over the game. E.J. is still growing as a quarterback, and once Jimbo Fisher gets a hold of him the sky is the limit. Working with one of the best coaches in the country, Manuel has a great shot to be the best quarterback for FSU since Chris Weinke, and overall one of the best the school has had.
FSU Targets: (0)
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