James Blackman warms up in this file photo. (Melina Vastola/USA Today Sports)

Opening Credits Roll for Florida State, James Blackman Primed For Breakout

Profile: Florida State’s James Blackman

Slender Man is a horror movie monster, one that stands very tall and is hauntingly thin. In movies characters that are being haunted by the tall and thin supernatural monster know not to fall asleep, or he’ll be waiting to haunt your dreams. This season defensive backs facing off against FSU should take these fictional victims’ advice. 

Don’t sleep on James “Slender Man” Blackman! At 6’5 195 lbs., Blackman fits the bill of the supernatural horror icon. Tall, thin, and possessing scary arm strength, the newly anointed starting quarterback for FSU is here to haunt the nightmares of all the defensive backs lining up across from him this season. 

Earlier this week Florida State’s head coach, Willie Taggert announced that redshirt sophomore, James Blackman would be the teams starting quarterback to begin the season. Blackman beat out Wisconsin transfer, Alex Hornibrook for starting duties. Seminole fans should be slightly familiar with Blackman, he played 12 games back in 2017 after then starting QB, Deandre Francois went down with an injury. 

In 2017 Blackman was truly thrown into the fire. Coming into the season as a true freshman he wasn’t expected to have any relevant playing time. Then late in the season opener against Alabama, Francois went down with a season ending injury that put Blackman in position to run the show. During the stint, FSU went 7-6 and Blackman threw for 19 TDs, 11 INTs, and 2,230 yards.  Not bad numbers considering his circumstances being the first true freshman FSU had started at QB since Chip Ferguson in 1985. 

He was also sacked 29 times that season resulting in the freshman truly feeling the pressure in the pocket. Blackman went on to lead the Seminoles to a win in the 2017 Independence Bowl against Southern Mississippi. In that game he threw 4 TDs, an Independence Bowl record and won Offensive MVP.

2018 wasn’t as exciting of a season for Blackman, or any FSU player for that matter. Francois came back from injury and took over starting duties under the new head coach, Taggert. Blackman only appeared in three games starting in only one of them. In his lone start of 2018 against NC State he went 29 of 46 throwing for 421 yards 4 TDs and 1 int. That performance netted him ACC Quarterback of the week honors. His 421 passing yards were the most passing yards thrown in a game by a FSU quarterback since 2013 when Jameis Winston threw for 444 yards. Those 421 yards are also the most passing yards thrown during Taggert’s still short tenure as head coach. Blackman’s lack of playing time last season allowed him to red shirt his sophomore year, making him a redshirt sophomore this season.  

2019 should be the year of Slender Man at FSU. Blackman goes into this season as the starting QB and the job is his to lose. His first test of the season will come Saturday night in Tallahassee against Boise State. Both teams are starting the season unranked and will hope to quickly change that. FSU is the favorite to win the season opener and if Boise State’s secondary hasn’t improved since last season, Slender Man could be in for a huge game. 

Last season the Broncos’ secondary was prone to giving up big plays and were ranked 70th nationally in pass defense allowing 233 passing yards a game. Those dismal numbers pushed Boise State to bring in a new defensive coordinator to try and right the secondaries problems. Saturday night could be the coming out party Blackman needs to showcase his talent, put FSU back on the map, and keep DB’s awake at night thinking of their future matchups. Saturday night, tune in to see if the Boise State Broncos will heed warning or if they will become his first victim of the season.

Aaron Breeding is a contributor to Feud Sports
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october, 2021