Don’t worry, Gator fans. Last night may have been ugly, but help is on the way.
Less than 24 hours after the Gators were done bumbling and stumbling their way to an embarrassing 27-2 loss to rival FSU, highly touted QB Feleipe Franks (Crawfordville, FL/Wakulla) committed to Florida. Franks, a longtime LSU commit, backed off his pledge and re-opened his recruitment a week ago after rumors began to swirl about Les Miles’ future in Baton Rouge. He was considered by many to be between Florida and FSU, and despite Florida’s awful offensive showing (or maybe because of it?) against the Noles, he chose to be a Gator.
“Well, OK,” Gator fans are probably saying, “but can he play?” Let’s answer that in two different ways. For starters… talk about an impressive offer list. Franks holds offers from Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, FSU, LSU, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Utah, Texas, North Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee, and many, many more. Depending on which site you use for recruiting, he’s the nation’s 3rd (Rivals) or 4th (ESPN) best quarterback in the Class of 2016.
His highlight tape more than backs all that up. In his early high school years, Franks was a kid with big eyes and a big arm, but lacked some of the fundamentals and mechanics needed to be a quarterback. But that was then, and this is now- and right now, Franks appears to be the complete package. He’s still got a great arm both in terms of arm strength and touch, but now we’re seeing him do the ‘smart thing’ some of the times when the ‘incredible thing’ just isn’t plausible. Oh, and should the pocket collapse and he has to run for it, he runs a 4.74 40 yard dash.
This is fantastic, because it looks like he may need to play right away. Treon Harris’s days as Florida’s QB appear to be numbered, as he gets worse with each passing week instead of better, and Will Grier is not available for the first six games of the 2016 season. So the job appears to be a battle between Franks and Oregon State transfer Luke Del Rio next spring, as I’m willing to bet that one if not both get a shot at playing time ahead of Harris.
So you see, even in a horrible weekend, some good comes out of it. Florida may have lost a huge game to an in state rival and ceded bragging rights for one more year, but they get a remarkably gifted quarterback for at least the next three if not the next four. Obviously, I’d rather Florida have beaten FSU than the inverse, but at least McElwain was able to get a silver lining out of it. And the fact that McElwain can pick up a positive out of the biggest negative he’s faced at Florida so far is something that should be commended.