The Florida Gators entered the 2015 season with a quarterback battle between Treon Harris and Will Grier. Saturday news broke that Grier would transfer and Harris’ play down a 4-3 end to the 2015 season doesn’t bode well for his future at Florida.
Where does that leave Florida in 2016?
If Harris remains at Florida he will be a junior on the field next season. Harris completed just 51.9% (111-214) of his pass attempts this season for nine touchdowns and five interceptions. In his two seasons (20 games played) Harris has completed 166-of-325 pass attempts (51%), for 2,549 yards, 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Luke Del Rio
Del Rio chose to walk on at Alabama despite holding scholarship offers from Oklahoma State, Oregon State and Colorado State. After one year at Alabama, Del Rio decided to transfer to Oregon State. He was granted immediate eligibility, largely based on his walk-on and redshirt status. Del Rio completed 8-of-18 pass attempts before deciding to leave Oregon State when Mike Riley left Oregon State for Nebraska. Del Rio filed paperwork to the NCAA to be eligible for this season but was denied.
Franks will enroll early at Florida in January and participate in spring workouts. Franks is a U.S. Army All-American who led his high school (Wakulla) to the state championship this season.
Trask is also an early enrollee who will be on campus in Gainesville this January. Trask was the backup to D’Eriq King at Manvel High School in Texas. Texas high school football rules restricted Trask from transferring schools.
A third freshman quarterback in the fold?
The Florida Gators will continue to pursue Maryland quarterback commit Dwayne Haskins. The 6-3 passer has been committed to Maryland for some time, but continues to flirt with the Gators. Several of Florida’s recruits have been in contact with Haskins and they are actively helping the Florida staff in trying to sway Haskins away from his home state team.
Jim McElwain’s tone when speaking about Treon Harris took a turn following the losses to Florida State and Alabama. It’s clear that McElwain isn’t pleased with the production he’s gotten out of the quarterback position and is ready to move on.
That leaves Del Rio, who will be a redshirt junior when next season begins, and two or three freshmen.
Del Rio has attempted just 18 passes in his career but will be the most experienced quarterback available, assuming Harris is out of the picture.
Trask and Franks are both 6-5 and have strong throwing arms but need work. Mechanically, there are flaws that both quarterbacks need to work through. I believe both would greatly benefit from a redshirt season where they had time to develop, get accustomed to college life and the speed of the game, but the reality is that they may not be afforded the opportunity.
Haskins is slightly ahead of Trask and Franks at this point, but he is not an early enrollee and would be six months behind the other two freshmen.
Del Rio is, for all intents and purposes, a redshirt junior in the eyes of the Gators. He is not the long-term future at Florida, which is why the staff has been relentless on the recruiting trail at the position. Del Rio is, however, the best option for Florida when the 2016 season begins and if he can hold up throughout the season and allow the two freshmen to redshirt, would be a huge help for Florida’s long term success under Jim McElwain.