C’mon, did you really think a guy named Blake Bortles was going to be a sure-thing superstar?
Apparently so! The Central Florida quarterback was at the center of the school’s best season in history, culminating in a 52–42 upset victory over No. 6 Baylor in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl. Forgoing his senior season, Bortles left college with 7,598 passing yards and 71 total touchdowns in three years.
The hype took over from there and Bortles was picked No. 3 overall in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, the first of 14 QBs taken that year. The stars were aligned for the Florida boy to make good in the pros. And if you asked a whole lot of people, Bortles was going to make magic happen because the kid just had that “it” factor.
Don’t believe us?
— ESPN 580 (@ESPNOrlando) August 15, 2013
— Mark Craig (@markcraignfl) March 19, 2014
— Damon Amendolara (@DAonCBS) April 22, 2014
— Cassie Armstrong (@cassiearmstrong) April 22, 2014
And well after the draft and into his rookie season, Bortles’ “it” factor remained very evident.
Sounds like Blake Bortles made a good first impression for the #Jaguars. Should wrestle away starting job. Has that elusive "it" factor, IMO
— Ryan Lownes (@ryanlownes) August 9, 2014
The Jaguars are going to fill their stadium with the QB they drafted.- Blake Bortles. Had the "it" factor since watched at UCF! Real deal!
— Connie Carberg (@ConnieScouts) September 28, 2014
Frank Frangie on Blake Bortles "When the lights go on he has that it factor & I think he has the flare for the dramatic."
— XTRA 1360 (@XTRA1360) September 27, 2014
There’s only three people you can describe as having “that it factor” and “the flare for the dramatic.” Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, and Blake Bortles.
— Courtney Fallon (@CourtneyFallon_) October 13, 2014
Jags WR coach Jerry Sullivan: "I love Blake Bortles, he's got IT factor. If it was easy there would be 11 people in stands, 80,000 on field.
— Brent Martineau (@BrentASJax) October 29, 2014
Blake Bortles' gritty performance shows teammates he has 'it’ factor http://t.co/MZgQWJIXoc
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) December 19, 2014
“That’s that ‘it’ factor, man,” receiver Cecil Shorts III said, per ESPN.com. “That’s why he went third overall. He’s got that ‘it’ about him. When you really need it, he’s going to make the play, he’s going to find a guy, he’s going to do what he needs to do.
Bortles went on to start 13 games as a rookie, throwing for 2,908 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions. That “it” factor came through in his second season when he totaled 4,428 yards, 37 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions. Last year, however, he lost “it,” ending up with 3,905 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions.
The Jaguars haven’t given up on Bortles yet. They picked up the fifth-year option on his contract and he heads into the upcoming season with the weight of the franchise on his shoulders.
“It” factor? Bortles certainly has a chance to prove he’s got something. But so far, we’re not sure he’s got “it.” At least not as sure as those people were.