Since the “glory days” of Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators winning national championships, the Gators have struggled due to the lack of good quarterback play. There is a lot of hope in this position with some of the quarterbacks the Gators have on campus. The two favorites to win the starting job were both recruited hard by Florida’s head coach Jim McElwain. The offense has the talent to be very good but they’re going to need a quarterback who can get the ball in the playmakers hands and make the ten players around him better.
Florida Gators Camp Breakdown: Quarterback
- Redshirt Senior- Malik Zaire
- Redshirt Junior- Luke Del Rio
- Redshirt Freshman- Feleipe Franks
- Redshirt Freshman- Kyle Trask
- Freshman- Jake Allen
- Freshman- Kadarius Toney
One of the favorites to win the starting job is the graduate transfer out of Notre Dame, Malik Zaire. Jim McElwain and the Florida coaching staff went after him hard once he announced that he would be transferring out of Notre Dame. Zaire named Florida as one of the favorites to land him and it seemed that Zaire would be a Gator. The only obstacle preventing Zaire enrolling into Florida was an SEC rule that didn’t allow a school to take in a grad transfer for three years if one of their previous graduate transfers didn’t finish graduate school. The SEC reversed that ruling which allowed Zaire to enroll at Florida. Zaire is one of the favorites to win the starting job thanks to his mobility, leadership and big game experience.
Luke Del Rio
Florida fans might not want to hear this but redshirt-junior quarterback Luke Del Rio is still in the race for the starting job. Del Rio was sidelined all of spring camp due to shoulder surgery. The redshirt-junior is going into camp trying to win his starting job back as he was Florida’s starting quarterback last season for six games. In those six games, Del Rio went 5-1 with wins against Georgia and Kentucky before a shoulder injury ended his season. Del Rio threw for 1,358 yards with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Going into spring camp, redshirt-freshman Feleipe Franks was the favorite to finish spring camp as the leader for the starting job. Franks did exactly that and is currently the leader for the starting quarterback job. The Army All-American was one of the biggest recruits Florida signed in 2016 and enrolled early to learn the offense and work on his fundamentals. Since he arrived at UF, Franks has shown much improvement and developed into a better prepared quarterback. He’s come a long way but is he ready enough to lead Florida’s offense against some of the toughest teams in the country? Franks has one of the strongest arms in the country. He has great size and confidence to be an elite college quarterback. If Franks has a strong spring camp, the Gators could be in great shape with a gunslinger at quarterback and playmakers around him.
In the 2016 recruiting class, the Gators signed two quarterbacks. One was Army All-American and four-star recruit Feleipe Franks. The other was three-star backup quarterback Kyle Trask. Not many people gave Trask a chance let alone get an offer from the Florida. The Texas quarterback has surprised a lot of fans and has gotten himself into the mix. Franks beat him out during the spring but Trask could still win the job. He had meniscus surgery after the spring but has fully recovered and ready to battle for the starting job.
Jake Allen was a three-star quarterback out of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. St. Thomas Aquinas is one of the top high schools in the country and one of their best players was Florida’s freshman quarterback. Allen was the starting quarterback for the Raiders for two years. During that time, Allen won two 7A State Championships and was a consensus First-Team All-State. The 6’3”, 200 pound quarterback enrolled at Florida in the summer along with four-star offensive lineman T.J. Moore. With four veteran quarterbacks in front of him, Allen is most likely to redshirt this season and learn from the older guys.
Kadarius Toney was a three-star athlete out of Blount High School in Eight Mile, Alabama. The mobile quarterback is an exciting player to watch. He has the speed, strength and playmaking ability to be on the field but maybe not as a quarterback. Toney is very explosive when you get him the ball and will likely play a big part in the Gators’ offense at another skill position. Toney will mostly likely to be used as a wide receiver or running back but he could also be used in wildcat packages. The Florida coaching staff will create schemes that will get him the ball in space. Toney could be Florida’s secret weapon in 2017.