Florida State football: Will McKenzie Milton win Seminoles quarterback job?

McKenzie Milton, the former UCF star quarterback who’s been sidelined since 2018, will battle with four other Seminoles this spring for the starting role

Much to the delight of Florida State head football coach Mike Norvell, the Seminoles will open spring practice in a few days with transfer quarterback McKenzie Milton fully cleared to play.

Despite the good news coming from the Florida State football team’s medical staff, Norvell’s decision on naming a starting quarterback has now become even more strenuous.

Milton now joins a crowded quarterback room and will have to contend with four others for the starting role in 2021. The Seminoles featured four starters during the 2020 campaign, including returnees Jordan Travis, Chubba Purdy and Tate Rodemaker.

The Seminoles are heavily relying on Milton to achieve the same success he had during his time at UCF, where he was one of the best players in the country in 2017 and 2018, finishing in the top 10 in Heisman Trophy voting both years while being named the offensive player of the year in the AAC.

McKenzie Milton, if healthy, should be the Florida State football quarterback

Since Milton arrived in Tallahassee last year, the Hawaii native has taken part in the offseason conditioning drills and has impressed the coaching staff with his recovery effort.

Milton, who suffered a catastrophic leg injury during a game against South Florida in 2018, has been waiting for his opportunity to lead a program on the field for over two years.

The Mililani High grad finished his three-year career with the Golden Knights third in program history with 630 pass completions, 12 300-yard passing games, and 1,020 pass attempts. Milton ranks fourth in UCF history with 72 passing touchdowns, 92 touchdowns responsible for, and 8,683 passing yards.

Most impressively, the Redshirt Senior also has an active 24 consecutive games with a passing touchdown streak that will be waiting for him once he returns to the gridiron.

Of the other four quarterbacks that Milton will be competing with for the starting nod, redshirt sophomore Jordan Travis has the most experience. The Louisville transfer has made 12 appearances with the Seminoles over the last two seasons and is 78-for-142 passing for 1,135 yards and six touchdowns while also compiling 787 yards and 10 touchdowns on 120 carries.

Travis had six straight games played in 2020 where he rushed for a touchdown, marking the longest stretch for a quarterback in school history. Travis also etched his name in the Seminoles record book after having four consecutive games with at least one rushing and one passing touchdown.

Despite having only played 12 games in the garnett and gold, the West Palm Beach, Fla., native ranks fifth in program history in rushing yards for a quarterback and owns the two longest rushes by a signal-caller in school history.

Other Florida State quarterbacks competing for the starting role

Rodemaker, Purdy and Gino English round out the quarterback room for the 2021 season.

Rodemaker, the Valdosta, Ga., native played in four games and became the fourth true freshman quarterback in program history to be named a starter. The redshirt quarterback finished the season 17-of-29 passing for 130 passing yards.

Purdy, the redshirt freshman gunslinger, appeared in three games last season and became the fifth true freshman in Seminoles history to start at quarterback. He finished the 2020 campaign 27-of-53 passing for 219 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 19 times for 57 yards.

English, also a redshirt freshman, has yet to take a snap for the Seminoles. The Winter Park, Fla., native was a standout quarterback for Winter Park High School through 2017-18.

Norvell’s second season as head coach will primarily be measured by how successful he handles his quarterbacks. Both Milton and Travis offer a lot in both promise and skill, thus making this a difficult decision to make.

Given Milton’s storied success with the Knights, college football fans would love to see his comeback tour be a successful one. If the six-year quarterback is 100 percent healthy heading into September, he deserves the opportunity to be the opening night starter.

One thing is certain for the Seminoles football program — they are locked and loaded at quarterback for the foreseeable future.

Florida State squares off with Notre Dame in a highly-anticipated matchup during Labor Day Weekend to kick off its 2021 season.

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