It's an annual storyline: Florida searching for quarterback as they prepare for upcoming season. It's been that way ever since Jim McElwain took over, and quite frankly, I'd say since Tim Tebow left after the 2009 season. Since his departure, we've been looking for another playmaker who can take the Gators to the heights he did.
Hopefully, this year will end our search. With six quarterbacks on the roster, you'd think we'd be able to find someone who can make plays down the field, move the chains when we need to, and be successful in the red zone. We've got the talent to bring home that elusive SEC title- now we need someone to spearhead the offense and lead the charge.
Malik Zaire is a senior who recently transferred from Notre Dame. Prior to his injury, he threw for 428 yards and four TDs in 2015. * He brings maturity and leadership to the table, and he's already known for his positivity and leadership in the locker room. Those qualities could be key to starting our season with a win against Michigan on September 2nd.
Luke del Rio led the Gators to a 5-1 start last season before being sidelined due to injury. While I was impressed with his playmaking abilities at times, he didn't have that it factor to me-the thing that sets him above the rest and will push Florida to greatness. This fantastic article changed my perspective on him a little, but not enough that I foresee him being our starter.
Felipe Franks is a redshirt freshman who watched from the sidelines last year as Luke del Rio and Austin Appleby led the offense last year. I was impressed by his arm in the spring game and the way he quickly released the ball. Florida has not been known for its passing game as of late, and Franks could change that. Plus, there's no doubt he soaked in valuable knowledge during his time on the sidelines.
Like Franks, Kyle Trask is a redshirt freshman who also watched from the bench last season. If I'm being completely honest, I don't see him as our answer. He didn't look as comfortable under center during the spring game as Franks did, and there are passes he couldn't complete that have to be caught if we want to compete with a Tennessee or a Georgia or even an Alabama. That being said, he could have drastically improved since that Friday night in the Swamp. Who knows?
Freshman Jake Allen, while not a contender to be this year's starter, has the potential to be something special, if you ask me. I've watched highlights from his days at Saint Thomas Aquinas, and I was thoroughly impressed by his accuracy and strength as a passer. (I'm ready to see some passing, if you can't tell.) He's not afraid or intimidated by the competition, and I love how much he loves Florida. You can hear his passion for UF and Gainesville in his words, and that passion could turn into something on the field. Obviously, you can't foresee someone's ability by the way he talks, but I've got a good feeling about him.
Did Kadarius Toney remind anyone else of Tim Tebow? Because when I watched him scramble and rush in the spring game, I was having flashbacks of those four years when he was our signal caller. I also got a Jalen Hurts vibe from him. He's practicing as a wide receiver now, but I could see him being used in a Wildcat package.
My Overall Thoughts
To me, Franks and Zaire are our front runners right now, and I'd give Zaire the edge, simply because of his experience. But, if Zaire and Franks truly are as even as McElwain says they are, I say play then both, at least for a couple drives until you see who is gelling better with the offense. Obviously, Michigan is not a team you can play around with. But there's a benefit to playing two for a while, if only because it makes Michigan prepare for two quarterbacks.
What about you? Who do you think will be starting for the Gators come September 2nd?
*Statistics for Malik Zaire taken from Fox Sports.