Five days before No. 3 Florida State faced No. 6 Georgia in the Orange Bowl game, its starting quarterback opted out and decided he was transferring.
Welcome to the era of the NCAA transfer portal in college football.
Many will blame Tate Rodemaker for the timing of the decision, made public on Christmas Day.
Don’t do it.
The redshirt junior stuck with the Seminoles for four seasons after being recruited out of Valdosta High in Valdosta, Georgia. Rodemaker, the son of a coach, Alan, made the best decision for himself and for the rest of his career.
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Florida State flirted with the idea of bringing in other transfer quarterbacks this offseason for official visits to Washington State’s Cam Ward and Oregon State’s DJ Uiagalelei.
Both visited the Seminoles and have one year of collegiate eligibility remaining, meaning they wouldn’t come to Tallahassee to sit behind Rodemaker.
Without saying it, Florida State’s coaching staff informed Rodemaker that he was willing to try someone else.
Why should we blame Rodemaker for making the same decision?
It’s a two-way street.
Why a move makes sense now for Rodemaker
Matt Zenitz of 247Sports first reported the news of the transfer on Monday. The Tallahassee Democrat confirmed with the state of Florida that he will not play in the Orange Bowl.
Florida State coach Mike Norvell confirmed the news to Andre Fernandez of the Miami Herald after landing in Fort Lauderdale Monday evening.
“This decision to enter the portal was incredibly difficult,” the source close to the Rodemaker family told 247Sports.
“However, with the unforgiving nature of the schedule regarding transfer portal players and bowl games and the limited opportunities remaining for transfer quarterbacks, the family felt this decision was in Tate’s best interest. The State of Florida publicly recruited several quarterbacks in this transfer cycle, so Tate and his family reluctantly decided that now was the time to move on.
Rodemaker has two years of eligibility remaining. If he wants a starting role next season, now is the time to hit the market rather than waiting another week. The transfer portal closes on January 2.
According to The Athletic, 46 quarterbacks who transferred on FBS scholarships have already committed to new schools. Once Ward and Uiagalelei announce their decisions, that will be two spots less for Rodemaker.
Rodemaker is loyal to Florida State. No one should ever question that. He remained with the team, supporting Jordan Travis and stepping in several times when Travis went down to lead the team to comeback victories.
He has been the consummate pro of the Seminoles program and does not owe them another game. Yes, he needs more tape with only two career starts. But he would have already been at a significant disadvantage in the bowling game with multiple opt-outs from key players.
Don’t blame Rodemaker for making this business decision for himself.
Just remember Rodemaker’s last triumph with the Seminoles: beating rival Florida in Gainesville in which he suffered a concussion and missed the ACC championship game.
What’s next for the Seminoles
First-year backup Brock Glenn will likely get the start. In fact, the Seminoles don’t have any other scholarship quarterbacks on the team without Travis out, as well as Rodemaker and redshirt freshman AJ Duffy in the portal.
Backups Dylan McNamara and Michael Grant (from Mcclay High) will dress as emergency QBs behind Glenn. Mike Norvell could get creative and run more wildly, like he did against Louisville in the ACC title game.
In this game, in his first career start, Glenn completed 8 of 21 passes for 55 yards. He was sacked four times and finished with a 12.8 QB rating.
To be fair, the Cardinals defense was good and had a great game plan for the true freshman.
But Norvell and his coaching staff will have a plan.
They still do, as winners of the last 19 games.
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