** A rich history of excellence, of notoriety, of superstars at the game’s most important position.
In alphabetical order, some quarterbacks at Florida over the years: Kerw toin Bell, Ken Dorsey, Rex Grossman, Doug Johnson, Chris Leak, Shane Matthews, Wayne Peace, Steve Spurrier, Tim Tebow,
Danny Wuerffel. There’s even an impressive list of those who couldn’t cut it at Florida, or left for whatever reason, and starred elsewhere: Brock Berlin at Miami of Florida , Jacoby Brissett at North Carolina State, Jeff Driskel at Louisiana Tech, Cam Newton at Auburn, where he won the Heisman Trophy and led the Tigers to a national title.
** So it’s disconcerting to see that the Gators are now counting on guys from other schools. Why?
Mainly because there’s no a) Will Grier, last year’s starter until he was busted for using performance-enhancing drugs (He’ll try to restart his career next year at West Virginia), and b) no Jacob Eason, who was recruited heavily but went to Georgia instead, where he’ll likely lead the Dawgs against Florida in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.
** Here are the candidates for quarterback at Florida in 2016, presented in alphabetical order:
+ Graduate transfer Austin Appleby from Purdue. 6’4″ and 235 pounds. Made 11 starts in West Lafayette. Good arm. Can run a little. Smart enough to step in right away but sometimes tries to do too much. Prone to interceptions, threw 19 over the last two seasons. Lost his starting job to a freshman. Likely to be the backup.
+ Sophomore Luke Del Rio. Started out at Alabama, went to Oregon State, transferred to Florida when Gary Andersen arrived in Corvallis and changed the offensive style. 6’1″ and 213 pounds. Son of Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio. Smart, steady, solid…as one might expect of a coach’s son. He’s the best game manager of the candidates and the likely starter.
+ Freshman Feleipe Franks. The most talented quarterback on the roster. Ridiculously strong arm, mobile, big at 6’6” and 216 pounds. Likely starter next year.
+ Freshman Kyle Trask. Didn’t even start in high school. 6’4″ and 227 pounds. Strong, accurate arm. Likely to redshirt this year.
** There may not be a future Heisman winner on the field for the Gators in 2016, but the quarterback play will show an improvement over the train wreck that followed Grier’s forced departure in 2015.