PINEHURST, N.C. -- Jimbo Fisher, even as an established college quarterback, remembers his senior-year nerves. He was a decorated player at Salem, but the transferring star now had one season to endear himself to those within the Samford program.
The current Florida State coach has been in the shoes of Everett Golson, who once helped Notre Dame to a title game but is now on campus in Tallahassee hoping to secure the Seminoles’ starting job.
“I said: ‘You have to be you. I can’t do that for you. You have to make that adaptation,’” Fisher told his quarterback shortly after he committed to FSU in May. “But he did it.”
Following two seasons as Notre Dame’s quarterback that included 23 starts and 41 touchdowns, Golson was on the cusp of losing his position. With it becoming clearer the intention was for Malik Zaire to start in 2015, Golson graduated from Notre Dame in May and announced plans to transfer. He arrived at Florida State in June, less than three months before the Sept. 5 season opener.
There were the obvious challenges facing Golson, such as learning the playbook and understanding the terminology. Maybe most important for Golson was to earn the respect from his new peers. Jameis Winston commanded the huddle for two seasons. Could the reserved Golson, who caused these same Seminoles all kinds of angst last season, do the same?
Junior cornerback Jalen Ramsey, the Seminoles’ best and most outspoken player, said Golson’s presence has fit in “perfect” with the locker room.
“He wants to be at Florida State [and] has the same goals we do,” Ramsey said. “… We welcomed him with open arms. Right when he stepped foot on our campus, he was a part of our family. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary to make him feel comfortable.”
The Florida State leaders watched Golson come into the program and immediately make the adjustment his priority. Redshirt junior kicker Roberto Aguayo said Golson can usually be found around the weight room, football offices or practice field despite triple-digit heat indexes that offer no day-to-day respite through the draining north Florida summers.
“The way you [fit in] is you go in and work your butt off and you show them that you are one of them and willing to do all of the things they’re willing to do,” Fisher said. “People realize you work hard and you’re here to win games, and people will adapt to you.”
Fisher said he is “100 percent” sold on Sean Maguire, who was the clear No. 1 quarterback through the winter and spring, but Golson’s transfer offered another avenue to strengthen the roster. Despite Golson’s sharp fall from grace at Notre Dame, Fisher polled the room at the ACC Kickoff earlier this week seeking reasons against signing the departing senior.
“It has nothing to do with being disappointed about the guys that were there,” he said. “It has to do with adding to a group of guys that could also win you a game down the road.”
While Golson has the experience Maguire, who has one career start, failed to obtain sitting behind Winston, Fisher said the quarterback situation remains unsettled with preseason camp nearing on Aug. 5.
Ideally, it’s a competition that will resolve itself, Fisher said.
“I’m not going to make that decision. They are by their performance,” he said. “It will all sort itself out.”