Examining Florida’s QB situation for 2016: Help is on the way
One thing will be for sure next year — the Florida Gators won’t have a shortage of quarterbacks.
Will Grier’s midseason suspension was a major blow to the Florida offense, and production at the quarterback position worsened each week after Treon Harris took over. Despite Harris’ regression, Florida coach Jim McElwain stuck with him because he had no other viable options.
That won’t be the case in 2016.
Barring Harris transferring, the Gators will have at least four signal-callers for spring and fall, and five once Grier’s suspension ends six games into the season.
In addition to soon-to-be eligible transfer Luke Del Rio and incoming early enrollees Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask, the Gators are still recruiting UGA commit Jacob Eason and Maryland commit Dwayne Haskins, both of whom have officially visited Florida. Haskins is considered a long shot.
Franks is not worried about Eason or the potential of a stacked quarterback depth chart.
“Competition, I’ve been around it my whole life. I wouldn’t even know how to live without it,” he said.
Franks and Trask have both signed their early enrollment paperwork with the Gators, and they sent Eason home with his at the end of his visit. He plans to make a final decision between Florida and UGA next week.
McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier will need a true freshmen to step up.
“They are telling me to be ready when I get here because they need depth at the quarterback position,” Trask said. “I’m ready to do what I need to do. I feel like I can run Mac’s type of offense because he has developed the quarterbacks that I feel are similar to me. I’m looking forward to it.”
Del Rio, who impressed in offseason workouts last summer, is considered the leading candidate heading into the spring. How Grier will factor in remains to be seen, but it’s unlikely he transfers prior to next season. He would have sit out a year and then continue serving the rest of his suspension before he could play.
Harris’ days as Florida’s starter appear to be numbered given his skill set and McElwain’s direction with the offense.
“I’m trying to push the envelope,” McElwain said. “That’s how we’re going to be offensively as we continue to grow.”