GAINESVILLE — With quarterback Will Grier leaving Florida and current starter Treon Harris struggling mightily, the Gators will have an open competition at the position this spring.
Transfer Luke Del Rio, who will be eligible in 2016 as a redshirt junior after sitting out this season, is expected to contend for the job. Del Rio reportedly impressed during offseason workouts in the summer and throughout this fall.
“He’s been having some really good practices out there,” Florida coach Jim McElwain said of Del Rio. “I think you guys were probably updated even through kind of the summer of when he came here he was a little bit of a sparkplug out there.
“A guy who kind of knows how to go about it. He’ll be a guy obviously heavily in the mix moving forward. We’re sure excited he’s here.”
McElwain said Del Rio is not currently on scholarship, but he’ll determine his status moving forward.
“That doesn’t really matter,” McElwain said of a potential scholarship for Del Rio, whose father is Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio.
The 6-foot-1, 216-pound Del Rio, a 2013 recruit, competed in the Elite 11 in July 2012 and received an offer from Colorado State when McElwain was the Rams’ coach.
Del Rio passed on that offer and a few others to walk on at Alabama. He spent the 2013 season with the Crimson Tide before transferring to Oregon State, where he was on scholarship and served as the Beavers’ backup QB in 2014.
But after Mike Riley left Oregon State for the head coaching job at Nebraska, Del Rio decided to transfer to Florida.
Del Rio will compete with Harris and incoming freshmen Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask for the starting job in 2016.
“We’re going to have a real competitive spring,” McElwain said. “It’s going to be fun.”