Blount head coach Lev Holly has no doubts about Kadarius Toney’s ability to adapt to the Southeastern Conference.
The Leopards’ All-State quarterback – and finalist for Class 6A Back of the Year – finished his work at Blount in December and enrolled at Florida this week.
Gators’ head coach Jim McElwain sent out a tweet welcoming him to Gainesville on Wednesday. — Jim McElwain (@CoachMcElwain) January 4, 2017 "I only see great things in his future," Holly said. "With Kadarius’ work ethic and mindset, he can’t help but be successful. I’m really proud of him – not only for what he accomplished here but also for following through on his commitment to Florida. He had a lot of pressure coming at him late last year, and he stuck to his word. That says a lot."
Toney (6-1, 185) committed to the Gators last May . He also had offers from Auburn, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, South Alabama and others. Many of those schools, including Alabama and Auburn, wanted Toney to play another position other than quarterback. Holly said Oregon came in late after the Ducks hired new coach Willie Taggart.
"They really came after him right after school got out for the holidays," Holly said. "Coach Taggart really wanted to give him the key to the offense I think, but Kadarius told him he was committed to Florida already. But I think Oregon probably had the biggest push for him near the end."
According to both Holly and Toney, the Gators staff has promised him at least a shot at playing quarterback at the next level. He certainly played it well in high school. As a junior, he passed for 3,604 yards and 37 touchdowns and ran for 896 yards and 16 TDs.
In leading the Leopards to the Class 6A quarterfinals this past season, Toney threw for 2,894 yards and 32 touchdowns and ran for 894 and 15 scores. He was AL.com’s Coastal Alabama Offensive MVP .
"All I can do is take them at their word, and they told us they would give Kadarius a shot to play quarterback," Holly said of the Florida staff. "That’s the last thing I heard, and that is what I expect to happen. I will talk to them eventually and just ask that they give him a fair shot there.
"Kadarius is a great athlete. He can play a number of positions and, if he has to move to help the team, he won’t have a problem with that. He just wants his opportunity to play the position he loves first."
WATCH KADARIUS TONEY’S HIGHLIGHTS:
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