With question marks at quarterback, Willie Taggart and the Florida State Seminoles were desperate for some help, and they may have found just what they are looking for with Alex Hornibrook announcing he will transfer to FSU.
Hornibrook, who played for three seasons at the University of Wisconsin, provides much-needed depth at quarterback. Even if he doesn’t become the starter over James Blackman, it is reassuring to have another scholarship player at the most important position on the field.
A grad transfer may be exactly what this team needed, just giving the team another season to bring in some more skill at quarterback. It also fills the gap so Louisville transfer Jordan Travis can be eligible next season.
In three seasons for the Badgers, Hornibrook played in 35 games and threw for 5,438 yards, 47 touchdowns, and 33 interceptions while completing 60.5 percent of his passes. But what are the Seminoles really getting in the lefty quarterback?
Coming from a program that runs the ball much more than they pass, it is tough to judge his numbers. However, he has had some good games in his career even though he only has eight games of throwing more than 25 passes.
A great way to see what Florida State is really getting is looking at his best performances. What does a good game from Hornibrook look like? These are his best seven games of his time in Wisconsin. It should reassure ‘Noles fans that his best game came against Florida State’s biggest rival in a huge game.
7. 10/21/17 vs. Maryland
Stats: 16-for-24, 225 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception
Even though 225 yards isn’t that impressive, he managed the game well and completed 66.7 percent of his passes and made plays when needed to compliment a good running game. With the Badgers’ offense, it is rarely going to require a quarterback throw the ball often, and if it does, it probably means the offense is struggling and isn’t set up well for the quarterback to succeed.
6. 11/25/17 vs. Minnesota
Stats: 15-for-19, 151 yards, 3 touchdowns
He didn’t put up much for passing yards, but he threw three touchdowns and didn’t throw an interception. Also, completing 78.9 percent of his passes is great, getting the ball into the hands of his playmakers. He may just find open receivers for short yardage, but when you, as an offense, are trying to just stay ahead of the chains and pick up four or five yards each play, that is all you need from your quarterback.
5. 08/31/18 vs. Western Kentucky
Stats: 17-for-29, 257 yards, 2 touchdowns
To start the 2018 season, Hornibrook put up his second-best game of his career as far as passing yardage. In this game, he averaged 8.8 yards per attempt, which is a pretty nice number. When he completed passes, he averaged over 15 yards. The use of play-action in the Wisconsin offense is important, so imagine faking the ball to Cam Akers and having the defense step up. That is a strength of Hornibrook coming from a run-first offense.
4. 09/22/18 vs. Iowa
Stats: 17-for-22, 205 yards, 3 touchdowns
The Badgers scored 14 points in the final minute of regulation to steal this game on the road. Hornibrook threw a 17-yard touchdown pass with 57 seconds remaining to take the lead. If you watch highlights of his time in Madison, a lot of his pass plays are involving only a couple of receivers, many of them being tight ends and full backs. I can’t imagine having a few actual receivers running routes for him would be a bad thing. And a player like Tre’ McKitty, a talented tight end, should have fun playing with a quarterback who has spent most of his career finding tight ends.
3. 09/01/17 vs. Utah State
Stats: 15-for-23, 244 yards, 3 touchdowns
Hornibrook began the 2017 season — his best year in red and white — with a big win over Utah State. They did fall behind 10-0 to start the game, but scored 59 straight points to win the game. He averaged 10.6 yards per attempt and 16.2 yards per completion while completing 65.2 percent of his passes. This set a career-high in passing yards, though it wouldn’t stand for very long.
2. 09/16/17 vs. BYU
Stats: 18-for-19, 256 yards, 4 touchdowns
Two weeks after his great performance against Utah State, Hornibrook played even better, only throwing one incompletion against BYU. He had, at the time, his career-high in passing yards and also a career high with four passing touchdowns. His 94.7 completion percentage is a career-best for a game when he threw more than five attempts.
1. 12/30/17 vs. Miami
Stats: 23-for-34, 258 yards, 4 touchdowns
Hornibrook capped off a really good 2017 season with his best career game against Miami, a team Florida State quarterbacks have struggled against over the last two seasons. He set a career-high with 258 passing yards and matched his best with four touchdowns while leading his team to a 34-24 win over the Hurricanes in the Orange Bowl.
To protect the ball against a Miami defense that intercepted 17 passes during the 2017 season is impressive, especially since he threw 34 pass attempts, which is the second highest total of his career. Even though he has yet to pass for 300 yards in a game, that shouldn’t be overly concerning because he has never really needed to pass for a high number of yards. And with the offense changing under Kendal Briles, he isn’t at much of a disadvantage compared to Blackman, so the better of the two should play, and that is a great thing for the offense moving forward into the 2019 season.