Perine, Franks and Zuniga heading to SEC Media Days

Talking season is winding down but not before the biggest event of the offseason — SEC Media Days.

Dan Mullen will take center stage on Monday and on Wednesday we found out which players he will be bringing with him. Mullen elected to bring two seniors in Lamical Perine and Jabari Zuniga. He is also bringing his quarterback Feleipe Franks. It’s the first time the Gators have had a quarterback represent them at SEC Media Days since Jeff Driskel made back-to-back trips in 2013 and 2014.

Obviously bringing a quarterback to SEC Media Days is a big deal. It’s a vote of confidence — you’re not bringing your backup quarterback to speak to the throngs of media that will be in Hoover this week. Franks has earned that vote of confidence from Mullen.

Franks started all 13 games for the Gators. He threw for 2,457 yards and 24 touchdowns to just six interceptions — fewer turnovers than a year previous on 93 more pass attempts. He added seven more scores on the ground. The once embattled quarterback not only silenced doubters in 2018 he converted most into believers. This is Franks’ team. Yes, the Gators have a future quarterback who is an exciting prospect in Emory Jones waiting in the wings but this is Franks’ team and it’s his time.

Perine and Zuniga get the nod as two players who mulled over leaving school to test the NFL waters. Both chose to stay and will be rewarded with a trip on a private jet to Hoover to represent the Gators.

Perine led the Gators with 826 rushing yards on a team high 134 carries as a junior. He scored seven times in a timeshare with Jordan Scarlett (131 carries) and — to a lesser extent — Dameon Pierce (69 carries) and Feleipe Franks (110 carries). Franks will certainly get his carries in Mullen’s offense but this is Perine’s year to be the guy in the backfield. He’s had to bide his time for three seasons but this is his year to be a 1,000-yard back.

Zuniga finished last season with 45 tackles. His 11 sacks and 6.5 sacks were second to only Jachai Polite. Zuniga was named a preseason first team All-SEC defensive lineman (Lindy’s).

2019 SEC football media days: Schedule, speaking times
Times and speaking order will be announced later. Until then, names are listed in alphabetical order by school for each day. A more complete schedule, including TV information and players in attendance, will be released later.

Monday, July 15
Dan Mullen, Florida
Ed Orgeron, LSU
Barry Odom, Missouri

Tuesday, July 16
Kirby Smart, Georgia
Matt Luke, Mississippi
Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee
Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M

Wednesday, July 17
Nick Saban, Alabama
Chad Morris, Arkansas
Joe Moorhead, Mississippi State
Will Muschamp, South Carolina

Thursday, July 18
Gus Malzahn, Auburn
Mark Stoops, Kentucky
Derek Mason, Vanderbilt

Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC