Grad-transfer rule a hot topic for Gators at SEC meetings

Gators football coach Jim McElwain and men’s basketball coach Mike White are in Destin for the SEC spring meetings. (Photo: Tim Casey/UAA Photographer) GAINESVILLE, Fla. – To say the Gators have entered fall camp in recent years with uncertainty at quarterback ranks among the most obvious understatements in program history.

The familiar trend held true in head coach Jim McElwain ‘s first two seasons.

Two years ago, the battle was between Treon Harris and Will Grier . A season ago, it was Luke Del Rio and Austin Appleby . Even so, the Gators ended up as Southeastern Conference East champions both seasons.

What about in McElwain’s third year?

"There isn’t a school in the country that is not looking for that piece,” McElwain said of the game’s most important position. Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks had a solid performance in spring camp to elevate his status. (Photo: Tim Casey/UAA staff photographer) At the end of spring camp in April, McElwain said redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks had distanced himself atop the depth chart in the competition with fellow redshirt freshman Kyle Trask . Meanwhile, former starter Del Rio was unavailable (shoulder surgery) in the spring and true freshman Kadarius Toney , who flashed skills as a playmaker, had been on campus just a couple of months and needs more experience.

The Gators added a fifth quarterback to the roster this month when freshman Jake Allen enrolled in Summer A classes and joined the team for offseason conditioning.

Could a sixth quarterback soon join the mix?

You folks have been down this road before with me on this issue. Due to NCAA compliance, I am not supposed to mention specific names of prospective UF student-athletes on until they have officially signed with the program.

This one has been rumored for months, so much so that you and probably your grandmother know exactly whom I am talking about. He’s a quarterback. He earned his undergraduate degree recently from a famous school up north. And if he joins the Gators, he’ll be their first left-handed quarterback since Tim Tebow .

He’ll also only have one season of eligibility, the same status as a year ago for Appleby, who transferred to UF from Purdue for his final college season.

"We did it a year ago with Austin and he came in and ended up helping our program," McElwain said Tuesday. "What you are constantly trying to do is enhance each position group no matter what that is. Competition breeds quality."

On the first day of the SEC spring meetings in Destin on Tuesday, the league’s grad-transfer rule was a hot topic. The SEC is the only conference with the rule, which prohibits schools from signing a grad transfer for three years if the previous one failed to remain academically eligible.

"If we have rules in the SEC that are different than the rules that we are playing against, I don’t know what we’re trying to prove,” McElwain said.Former Gators coach Will Muschamp , now at South Carolina, offered a strong opinion on the rule when asked."I […]