GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Here are the grades from Florida’s spring game on Friday.
With an entire half of first-team reps, quarterback Feleipe Franks cemented himself as the clear favorite to win the starting job. He launched a perfectly-thrown deep ball to Josh Hammond on the game’s opening drive and had a nice touchdown pass to Antonio Callaway in the first half. He also missed on some passes — including a few in the red zone — and Gators coach Jim McElwain said that can’t happen. While his accuracy needs improvement, Franks didn’t turn the ball over like he did last year.
Running back Jordan Scarlett averaged 4.3 yards per carry and looked great, but the offensive line didn’t get the type of push you would expect from a starting lineup facing backup defensive linemen. Early enrollee Kadarius Toney was electric with the ball in his hands — albeit against the third-team defense — and will have a role this coming season, according to McElwain.
The starting defense pitched a shutout against Florida’s second-team offense. Anything less would have been a disappointment. The starters harassed backup quarterback Kyle Trask all night. He rarely had time to throw and his receivers were constantly covered. Trask finished 4 of 13 for 31 yards with an interception and a couple close calls. The defense also held a Scarlett-less rushing attack to 42 yards on the ground.
Duke Dawson had another strong spring game after picking off 2 passes last year. He came up with a turnover once again (this time a fumble recovery) and played well as a starting cornerback. Linebacker Jeremiah Moon was all over the field Friday, making a huge hit and displaying freakish athleticism. He could be an impact player for the Gators in 2017.
Special teams: I
With no punt or kickoff returns, we didn’t see much from the special teams. Johnny Townsend boomed a 57-yard punt, while kicker Eddy Pineiro hit the right upright on an unsuccessful 49-yard field goal attempt.
Franks and Toney provided the only excitement in an otherwise boring game, but the quarterback competition came to an end for all intents and purposes. Florida’s new defensive starters also looked the part.