Florida will go into fall camp with a three-way battle at quarterback between last year’s starter Luke Del Rio, graduate transfer Malik Zaire and redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks. There’s an old saying that if you have three quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks. Even so, having that many options is not something the Gators are used to.
Last year, UF had only Del Rio and Austin Appleby as real choices given the decision to redshirt Franks and fellow 2016 signee Kyle Trask. The year before, Jim McElwain had to recruit graduate transfer Josh Grady, who almost never played at Vanderbilt, to have anyone behind Will Grier and Treon Harris.
Will Muschamp’s teams didn’t really have much depth behind center either. The 2012 season was the only one with a true battle for the starter’s role in preseason camp with sophomores Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett fighting it out. Brissett transferred after the year. In 2014 the true freshman Harris managed to pass up Driskel — whose confidence cratered through the year — but that wasn’t an example of having more than one solid option at the position.
Urban Meyer’s UF teams never had much behind the starting quarterback either. In only one of his six seasons was his second-string quarterback not a freshman. Chris Leak and Tim Tebow’s durability simply prevented the thinness at the position from being an issue. Even in 2010 when Meyer was using as many as three signal callers in a single game, two of the three (Jordan Reed and Trey Burton) were players who did not finish their college careers as quarterbacks.
Even in the Ron Zook era, the reserves under center weren’t inspiring. First Rex Grossman and then Leak were backed up by the likes of Ingle Martin (transferred to Furman), Gavin Dickey (quit football for baseball) and Cornelius Ingram (moved to tight end).
It’s not clear if any of the options that Florida has in 2017 are as good as the run of starters from Grossman to Leak to Tebow. That said, there are multiple players who could conceivably play well enough for the team to contend for the SEC East title. Florida hasn’t been able to say that often in the last 15 years.
McElwain landed a big get at quarterback thanks to a successful recruiting event last weekend . Matt Corral, a California signal caller rated a 4-star by the 247 Sports Composite and a 5-star by Rivals, pledged to sign with the Gators in the current cycle.
Corral’s addition puts UF in truly unfamiliar territory: having too many quarterbacks.
Despite 2017 being his fifth season in college, Del Rio already has a waiver for a sixth year of eligibility in 2018 thanks to transferring multiple times as a walk-on. Zaire may pursue a sixth year of his own due to missing most of the 2015 and 2016 seasons to injury. Franks and Trask will be redshirt sophomores. The 2017 signing class brought aboard a pair of quarterbacks in Jake Allen and Kadarius Toney. The 2018 class now appears […]