WATCH: Travis Discusses Spring Game and Following his brother at FSU
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – It wasn’t all that long ago that an 11-year-old Jordan Travis used to leave school early every Friday, make the six-hour ride with his parents from home in West Palm Beach to Tallahassee, and spend the weekend at Dick Howser Stadium watching his older brother, Devon, play baseball for Florida State.
Seven years later, Travis is making some new memories at FSU. And he doesn’t have to drive nearly as far to do it.
Now an 18-year-old quarterback, Travis late last year transferred to Florida State after a redshirt season at Louisville.
And he made his debut inside Doak Campbell Stadium during Saturday’s Garnet and Gold spring game – mere feet from the baseball field where he had once spent so many hours.
“It was awesome, man,” Travis said. “It was a dream from a little kid. And God truly blessed me with the opportunity to come here.”
Based on his performance on Saturday, Travis plans to make the most of that opportunity.
Serving as the starting quarterback for the Garnet team, Travis completed 22 of 28 passes for 241 yards and finished with a passer rating of 150.9.
Travis’ efficient, accurate outing might have been the game’s most pleasant surprise, especially given that he’s only had 15 practices with his new team.
“I told him before the game, ‘I’ve got a feeling you’re going to go out and have a good game today,” FSU coach Willie Taggart said afterward. “I thought he threw the ball well – well, he missed a couple throws there – but, for the most part, he threw the ball well.”
“Jordan Travis ran the offense very well,” Garnet running back Cam Akers added. “He made a lot of good reads. Everyone has seen him progress a lot.”
Travis’ effort is encouraging news for Taggart as he looks to build a competitive depth chart behind veteran James Blackman.
But it might not come as much of a surprise.
A former standout at The Benjamin School in West Palm Beach, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Travis tore through his prep competition, racking up more than 3,000 total yards (2,190 passing, 905 rushing) and 40 touchdowns as a senior on his way to area Player of the Year honors.
That was enough to earn scholarship offers from Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan State and Baylor, but Travis eventually settled on Louisville and its offensive guru head coach, Bobby Petrino.
The Cardinals, however, suffered through their worst season in more than 20 years and Petrino was fired in mid-November.
By then, Travis had decided that he needed to find a school that better fit his goals.
“It was a tough process,” Travis said. “I loved it there. I love all my teammates there. It was very tough and stressful.”
Ready for a fresh start – and after some gentle encouragement from his Seminole-loving older brother – Travis officially announced his decision to attend Florida State on December 26.
He joined Taggart and the Seminoles for their offseason conditioning program in February, was a full participant for the month of spring practice and hopes to receive an eligibility waiver that clears him to play this fall.
NCAA rules typically require undergraduate transfers to sit out one year, and Travis would also have to be cleared by the ACC, which has rules to restrict players transferring within the conference.
Florida State’s compliance office has applied for a waiver Travis’ behalf and is still awaiting a decision.
“I’m just waiting to hear,” Taggart said last week.
While they wait, the Seminoles can take comfort in the visible progress that Travis made over the last month.
“Early on, he was so nervous in spring ball and not sure about a lot of things and the confidence wasn’t there,” Taggart said. “And then, somewhere around Week 2, you started to see him get confident in what he was doing and he started making a lot more plays.”
Asked about his improvements, Travis credits his new teammates for welcoming him in to the fold and for encouraging him while he learned the ropes.
“Every single day at practice, they pushed me to get better,” he said. “And just said ‘You’re going to get there, you’re going to get there.’
“And, eventually, I got it together and got my stuff right.”
That was evident on Saturday, when Travis started by completing nine of his first 10 passes.
And also when he went on a later run of 12 straight completions, a stretch punctuated by a 38-yard pass to D.J. Matthews down the middle of the field.
All told, Travis had five throws of 17-plus yards, and although he didn’t throw a touchdown, he didn’t throw an interception, either.
“I’ve seen ‘J-Trav’ grow a lot,” said Matthews, who caught seven passes from Travis on Saturday.
“I expected him to do that,” receiver Tamorrion Terry added, “I feel like he’s just been holding back, but I feel like he’s going to be one of those guys, if J-Black’ goes down, he’s going to help out a lot. He can put that thing on you too.”