Headed into Spring practice the dark-horse in Florida State's four-man quarterback race is 6-3 215-pound Seton Hall Prep product, Sean Maguire.
Clint Trickett has already started games for the Seminoles and comes into 2013 as the safe, if unsexy option at QB. Jacob Coker is a redshirt sophomore entering his third year at FSU. He succeeded Alabama QB AJ McCarron in high school. He has his supporters. So does two-sport star and former Elite 11 QB prospect Jameis Winston who is already becoming a fan favorite at Florida State.
And then there's Maguire, the one name Jimbo Fisher has repeatedly inserted into the conversation since the end of last season. A relative unknown, Maguire seems like a long-shot to win the quarterback job to many.
But don't tell him that.
"Yeah, that’s like your guys’ perception on things, that’s not mine at all," said Maguire on Friday morning. "In my mind I do my thing, I work hard, I do things off the field by myself, I do things on the field with them. But in my mind I’m getting every equal rep that they are in practice, I’m learning the playbook, I’m developing.
"That’s exactly the way I’m looking at it, everyone portrays it as them three but in my mind and I know in coach Fisher’s mind I’m right there. I’ve been working hard and this is my chance to prove that I belong right there."
Maguire came from a prep school in New Jersey that ran a wing T. He's got a good arm and good versatility, but lacks the hype Winston came to Tallahassee with.
The Jersey product was the top QB in his state. Rated a four star prospect by ESPN, he turned down offers from Alabama, NC State and Maryland to come to Florida State and play for the Seminoles.
“I wanted to come here, I loved the coaches, I love the whole school," said Maguire. "I think the competition is awesome. I could have taken the easy way out and went to some school up North and been starting but I’d rather compete with the best. They always say compete with the best to be the best, that’s the way I look at it.”
Taking the easy way out is clearly not something that's in Maguire's nature. The redshirt freshman signalcaller wanted to come to a top school and compete. And he's not going to leave anything on the table.
Maguire plans on winning the QB job by outworking everyone else for it.
“I just like to think that no matter what you do throughout your career, if you work hard and do the right things on and off the field eventually you will be rewarded," said Maguire. "That’s why I love to stay in the weight room later than everyone, or stay watching film or stay after practice and throw. I just feel like no matter what happens in life if you continue to do that, you’ll be rewarded.”
Something that might also work in Maguire's favor is that Florida State has a new quarterbacks coach in the fold. Dameyune Craig left for Auburn this past Winter, Randy Sanders is now coaching quarterbacks. That may seem only partially significant, but one of the more interesting Christian Ponder anecdotes was that he became the quarterback when Jimbo Fisher arrived and had a shot to evaluate everyone.
Had there not been coaching turnover the 3-star recruit likely would have never seen the field and would never have been selected 12th overall in the NFL draft.
Dameyune Craig recruited Jacob Coker and Jameis Winston, James Coley recruited Maguire. Had Craig stayed on, just by virtue of his familiarity and relationship with the two young men he helped bring to the university, Maguire would have been at a disadvantage.
With Sanders new to the program, all things are again equal. Preconceptions and pre-existing relationships can't influence the competition. Everyone starts with a clean slate.
Of all four quarterbacks, that's the best news for Sean Maguire.
"It’s good, I like coach Sanders a lot," said Maguire. "I mean it was tough see coach Craig and coach Coley leave. I liked them a lot.
"But coach Sanders is a very knowledgeable coach and I’ve been getting along with him so far."
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