Just three months ago, Sean Maguire was the heir apparent to the most successful quarterback in Florida State history.
A hard-working, strong-armed, rugged signal caller, he emerged from spring practice as Jimbo Fisher’s best option to replace Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, who lost one start in two years and brought FSU its third national championship.
But because he was the best option didn’t mean he was the final option. And Fisher quickly opened up that competition again when he brought in graduate transfer Everett Golson, who came as close as anybody to handing the Seminoles their only regular-season defeat in the past two years while playing for Notre Dame.
Since Golson’s arrival, Maguire, a 6-3, 221-pound redshirt junior, has become the forgotten man. Early this year, all anybody wanted to know was how Maguire was handling being the guy replacing the guy and how his teammates were responding.
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Now, those same questions are being directed at Golson — despite Maguire entering camp No. 1 on the depth chart — making many wonder whether Maguire’s 15 minutes of fame have expired.
Not according to Maguire.
“I remember the phone call,” Maguire said Sunday during FSU’s Media Day. “I was like, ‘All right, let’s go.’ ”
No promises were made to Golson, which gives Maguire hope. After all, he knows this offense better than anybody, being that he is the only quarterback signed from 2010 to 2012 other than Winston who did not transfer.
Although Maguire might be able to cite Fisher’s playbook from cover to cover, he has started one game in the past three years, in place of the suspended Winston last season. Meanwhile, Golson has started 24 games for Notre Dame, including the national championship game following the 2012 season.
Seminoles quarterback coach Randy Sanders expected Maguire to be “mature enough to handle” Golson’s arrival. He has not been disappointed.
“I don’t know how much he really welcomed it, but he hasn’t run from it,” Sanders said. “You don’t get to this level without being competitive. He has that competitiveness. He has the desire.
“I think he would have loved for us to just say, ‘Hey, it’s your job, don’t worry about it.’ It’s easier to sleep. At the same time, I think he recognizes competition makes him better.”
Golson arrived in early June, and he and Maguire have worked out and studied film together. Although acknowledging Golson is the one who stands between him being on the field or standing on the sidelines wearing a headset, Maguire said the situation will not become divisive.
“It’s not going to cause problems,” Maguire said. “If he’s got questions, I’ll answer them. If we’re on the field, I’m going to help him. We’re all on the same team. It’s a competition. It’s the only way to look at things.
“I think everyone on the team is going to know by the end of fall who is going to give this team the best chance to win.”
Fisher continually praises Maguire for his attitude and hard work and takes advantage of every opportunity to include Maguire in his assessment of the position, even if the question is about Golson.
And during Sunday’s open practice, both players took snaps with the first- and second-team offenses, something Fisher said would continue until he decides on a starter, something on which he has not put a timetable.
“I’m going to give it all I got in practice and that’s all I can do,” Maguire said. “It’s the only way.”