GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two years ago, no one could’ve convinced Kyle Trask he’d be competing for the starting job at Florida in 2017.
At the time, he wasn’t even the starter on his high school football team. Now, the former 2-star recruit is in contention to become the Gators’ next signal caller.
“It’s definitely a big step up,” Trask said Wednesday.
SEC Country chronicled his incredible journey to UF last spring, going in depth with Manvel coach Kirk Martin on why Trask was a backup and how he caught on with the Gators.
Trask played in a spread-option offense behind dynamic athlete D’Eriq King, who accounted for 11,428 offensive yards and 163 total touchdowns in his three seasons as the starter. He’s a wide receiver at Houston.
But Trask typically played the third and seventh series of every game and chose not to leave from Manvel because the University Interscholastic League requires players to sit out a year if they transfer for athletic reasons.
“My mom, she wasn’t going to let me transfer for something like football,” Trask said. “She was hard on academics. It worked out in the end.”
Trask, his father and Martin all believed he could earn scholarships in 2015 from the spring evaluation period and college summer camps. Trask landed offers from Houston Baptist, McNeese State and Lamar University — all FCS schools — before the Gators entered the mix.
“They were giving me a fair chance and they were being honest with me, telling me I’m not going to be the only quarterback recruit,” Trask said. “I’m like, ‘I’m up for any competition.’ The coaches felt confident in me and I felt like I had a good shot.”
He threw in front of Florida coaches four times before receiving his offer in July. His fourth workout came at Friday Night Lights, winning over coach Jim McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. They offered him the following morning.
“I thought about committing on the spot, but the coaches were telling me to go home, talk it over with your family,” Trask said. “I committed in the car ride driving back to Texas. Less than 24 hours.”
Trask never had any doubts or reservations about coming to Florida. He had faith in his abilities and didn’t shy away from competition, as he proved in high school.
“Once I got here, I was just working my tail off. Coach Mac told me he’s happy to have me here,” Trask said. “When I first stepped foot on campus, I was kind of taking everything in. But with more and more reps, I feel more confident.”
Trask was the story of the spring last year with a strong showing in the Orange & Blue Debut, receiving high praise from his teammates. He still redshirted in 2016 but knows it was needed for his development.
“I think redshirting was a good thing for me to kind of sit back and watch Luke (Del Rio) and Austin (Appleby) with all their experience and how they approach the game,” Trask said. “I was trying to pick away at their brain and add that into my game. … I feel a lot better than I did last year during this time.”
Trask said he has adjusted to the speed of the game but is still working this spring on being a vocal leader and going all the way through his progressions instead of locking in on one receiver. Still, he feels capable and ready to start at Florida and play in the SEC.
“Another year of experience really helps,” Trask said. “After one year, coming in as an early enrollee to now, I feel 100 percent more confident at the line of scrimmage. I feel like that’s really important because the whole offense looks to you. You gotta be confident. Your energy reflects on everybody.
“I’m just trying to focus on what coach Mac and coach Nuss have in their game plan. They have us going in a great direction and if I can just do whatever they want … I think I can bring the offense to a higher level.”