Kadarius Toney came to Florida with the expectation to be given the opportunity to pay quarterback. The athlete did get that chance when he enrolled early last spring but spent most of his first season playing receiver.
Toney played in eight games last season catching 15 passes for 152 yards. He carried the ball 14 times for 120 yards and a score.
With a new head coach and regime in Gainesville, Toney’s status or future role has been unclear. Would he play quarterback for Mullen, who has had success in his past with quarterbacks that can run?
“It reminds me as a guy that’s a playmaker, a Percy Harvin that we’ve had in the past,” Mullen said of Toney’s athleticism. “(They both) played a lot of high school quarterback and did a lot of different things coming in.”
Toney threw just two passes last season. The first was a pivotal play in a comeback win on the road against Kentucky. On that play, however, Toney didn’t line up under center or in shotgun. He wasn’t the quarterback that play. Luke Del Rio took the snap and the play began to look like an option with Del Rio and Davis. Toney came out of the slot on the other side of the field, took a pitch from Del Rio and launched a pass on the run 50-yards to Cleveland down the field.
It’s clear that Mullen has seen and has an appreciation for Toney but it doesn’t seem like Toney will factor into the quarterback competition this spring.
“I don’t know how much we’ll get into that in spring,” Mullen responded when asked if Toney would get a look at quarterback. “That may be something, a package for him in the fall, but I within the base system. I want him learning how to be a wide receiver, too.”
It appears Toney has gotten that message. He tweeted this video of himself working on his footwork and hand eye coordination in the sand with Tyrie Cleveland. Toney wants to get on the field and that want supersedes wanting to play a specific position.
“When he has the ball in his hands he’s extremely dynamic but also has to learn to be a very fundamentally sound football player and that’s going to be important for me too.”
There aren’t many better head coaches and play callers that Toney could be playing for and entrusting his future with. Mullen gets excited when asked about the playmaker and he wants fans to know that someway, some how he’s going to get the ball into Toney’s hands and what happens next is up to him.
“I like playmakers,” Mullen said. “If we’re going to put the ball in your hands, No. 1 you better take care of it and No. 2 you better do something special with it.”