Gator Chomps: Baylor QB transfer Jarrett Stidham would provide quick fix to Florida’s offense

Jamie Squire/Getty Images Former Baylor QB Jarrett Stidham. GAINESVILLE, Fla. — After seven years of abysmal play, the quarterback issues still need to be solved at Florida.

The Gators have thrown for less than 170 yards in 10 of their last 18 games, including Austin Appleby’s 144-yard performance last Saturday in the 31-13 loss at FSU.

UF coach Jim McElwain has used four different quarterbacks in two seasons, and for various reasons, none of them have been the long-term solution. The Gators have started a backup QB in each of the last seven years, and they’ll likely have a new signal caller in 2017.

Fans are hoping one of the true freshmen quarterbacks can be the answer next season, but another passer could join Luke Del Rio, Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask and 2017 commit Jake Allen at the position.

McElwain and Nussmeier have reportedly reached out to former Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham, the nation’s No. 1 overall junior college prospect and a former 5-star recruit, according to 247 Sports.

Auburn and Texas A&M are also in the mix for Stidham, who plans to make a decision in December and report for mid-year enrollment the following month. He will be able to play immediately in 2017 with three years of eligibility remaining.

Nussmeier offered and recruited Stidham when he was the offensive coordinator at Michigan, so they have a prior relationship. UF is trying to get him on campus for an official visit before his decision.

Unlike Franks, Trask and former Alabama quarterback Blake Barnett, another junior college transfer Florida has contacted, Stidham is a proven commodity and would provide a quick fix for the Gators’ offense. He started three games as a true freshman and finished the 2015 season with 1,265 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and a 68.8 percent completion rate.

Stidham transferred from Baylor after the firing of Art Briles. There’s an argument to made about whether Florida, Texas A&M or Auburn will have the easiest path to playing time at quarterback in 2017, and how Stidham sees those situations will likely play into his decision. 5-star OT to officially visit Florida

Two weeks ago, Alabama commit Alex Leatherwood told SEC Country “maybe” when asked if he would a return trip to UF after attending the South Carolina.

That answer is now a yes.

The 5-star offensive tackle from Pensacola, Fla., told ESPN’s Derek Tyson he now plans to officially visit Florida, LSU and either Auburn or Georgia before making a final decision on Dec. 16.

Leatherwood visited Alabama last weekend and took a trip to Michigan in late September. He is ranked the nation’s No. 2 offensive tackle and No. 6 overall recruit.The Under Armour All-American told SEC Country he was “iffy” about his Alabama commitment following his Florida trip and recognizes the Gators’ need for linemen.“As we all know, their line needs help. It could be better. They’re struggling on the O-line,” Leatherwood said. “So basically I can come in and make an instant impact. It makes me feel good about the opportunity that […]