Southern Miss football picks up FSU QB transfer Rodemaker

Published 9:46 am Tuesday, January 9, 2024

The Southern Miss football roster got an upgrade this week with the addition of Florida State transfer quarterback Tate Rodemaker.

Rodemaker, a native of Valdosta, Georgia, started in the regular season finale this year against Florida after FSU starter Jordan Travis suffered a season-ending injury the week prior.

The Golden Eagles went 3-9 last season with Billy Wiles, a Clemson transfer, starting for much of the year. Wiles was a walk-on at Clemson who had played 11 total snaps before coming to Hattiesburg.

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In Rodemaker, head coach Will Hall is adding a much more experienced signal caller who spent four seasons in Tallahassee. In his career, Rodemaker has thrown for 901 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions. In 2023, he went 32-of-56 for 510 yards and five touchdowns.

Rodemaker will have two years of eligibility in Hattiesburg. Also in the quarterback room for Southern Miss is Ethen Crawford, a dual threat quarterback who drew two starts this season after recovering from a knee injury suffered in his senior season. The Golden Eagles also signed Madison-Ridgeland Academy quarterback John White, the all-time leading passer in state high school football history.

Rodemaker, who chose Florida State over Virginia Tech, Pitt and Baylor will be the lead horse when the quarterback competition begins during spring practice. He is one of just four players all time to start in a game at quarterback for Florida State as a true freshman.

That start as a freshman came against Jacksonville State. In 2022, Rodemaker came in when Travis was injured against Louisville and led FSU to a 35-31 win by tossing two scores.

Before the injury to Travis, Rodemaker played mostly mop-up duty in 2023 for Florida State, which included a second half appearance of a 66-13 Seminole shellacking of Southern Miss in Tallahassee.

That day, he went 3-of-3 for 78 yards and two touchdowns against his future team.

Rodemaker was injured late in the game against Florida and opted out of playing in the Orange Bowl for FSU in order to get in the transfer portal.

Florida State got its likely starting quarterback for next year out of the transfer portal recently when it signed former Clemson and Oregon State signal caller DJ Uiagalelei.

Southern Miss has struggled to find consistent quarterback play during Hall’s time in Hattiesburg.

Wiles, Crawford, Jake Lange, Ty Keyes, Trey Lowe, Tee Webb and Zach Wilcke all got a crack at the position over the last three years. Keyes is now at Louisiana Tech after a stint at East Mississippi CC, Lowe transferred to Liberty, Lange recently transferred to Delta State and Wilcke has transferred to Northwest Mississippi Community College.

Hall is 13-24 after taking the head job in Hattiesburg following a stint as the offensive coordinator at Tulane.

There has been a lot of turnover in his staff ahead of year four in Hattiesburg for Hall. Included in that is new offensive coordinator Chip Long, who once held that same position at Notre Dame. Southern Miss also added new defensive coordinator Clay Bignell, who most recently held the same position at Eastern Illinois.

Two more additions to the staff were recently announced by Hall in running backs coach Micheal Spurlock and defensive line coach Fred Wyatt.

Spurlock played quarterback at Ole Miss and then went on to have a solid NFL career as a special teamer before getting into coaching.

Southern Miss also recently added a wide receiver transfer from Copiah-Lincoln CC in Dakota Thomas. A native of Snellville, Georgia, Thomas battled injury and only played in five games this season in Wesson. He caught 16 passes for 172 yards and three scores. Thomas transferred to CLCC from Western Kentucky. On the first day of signing day, Co-Lin had 18 players from its 2023 team sign to transfer to four-year programs.