The University of Florida football program has recently been linked to the possibility, albeit via speculation, of Ohio State Dual Threat Quarterback Joe Burrow transferring into the program under the NCAA’s graduate transfer waiver rules.
This brings up four questions:
#1 What might a grad transfer QB do for UF this season?
#2 Is it too late for a grad transfer to come in and learn a new system under new coaches that the rest of the offense is actively trying to learn?
#3 Would it benefit the program in the long run?
#4 Would bringing in a grad transfer QB cause another Gators QB to jump ship?
As Lewis Carroll says, let’s “begin at the beginning.”
Burrow, ranked #8 dual-threat QB nationally, and #280 overall in the 2015 247Sports Composite had a rather quiet career while attending Ohio State.
Competing in just three games over his three year stint, Burrow accounted for only 340 all-purpose yards and three TDs, no INTs. To put it bluntly, he was not much of a factor.
And that gives the questions a need to be repeated.
Question #1: What might a grad transfer QB do for UF this season?
Truthfully, very little. So little in fact that it seems the more relevant question would be the toll it would take on the mentality, and psyche, of the three current scholarship quarterbacks on roster (Trask, Franks, Jones.) Bringing in a 4th body, even if just for the depth, could still be seen as added frustrations to what can only be imagined as an already tense QB room. Competing at this level is a must, and iron is said to sharpen iron, but at some point, preferably this season, Dan Mullen must be able to cut with one of these ‘swords,’ not simply collect and gawk while allowing seemingly endless infighting take place. It’s been nine long, hard, grueling years since the University of Florida has produced an NFL caliber QB, who hasn’t transferred out of the program prior to graduating of course, and it’s time to reclaim even just a hint of competence at the position allowing us to once again become a national contender.
Question #2: Is it too late for a grad transfer to come in and learn a new system under new coaches that the rest of the offense is actively trying to learn?
Florida has been here before, most notably 2017 when graduate transfer Malik Zaire burst onto the scene as the potential savior of Jim McElwains lackluster offense. Problem was, Zaire just never seemed to catch onto the offensive scheme. Playing in just three games, Zaire accounted for 388 all-purpose yards, no TDs and one INT. After a tough year and feeling as if he had nothing left to gain from the college experience, Zaire committed to the 2018 draft. As of today, Zaire is and undrafted free agent looking for a team to give him that chance he so strongly desires. One may argue a lot of Zaire’s issue was lack of opportunity, being thrown into the fire down on the road against Michigan was not a good debut. Either way you look at it, it did not go the way Zaire wanted it to go, and as such he opted to forgo a waiver request for a final year of eligibility.
As for the question #3: would it benefit the program in the long run? The answer here is a resounding no.
The Gators have three QBs, of which at least one should be able to get Dan Mullen’s offense going, even if in a limited capacity. After all UF does have one of the deepest, if not the deepest, RB corps in the SEC and possibly nation, that fact coupled with Mullen’s run heavy offense, all that’s really needed is competence at the position.
Jones may very well blossom over summer and fall then come out swinging opening day ready to take command and make this team his, and while I would personally love to see this happen, he has a lot of catching up to do, as do all the QBs with the new offense in place.
Lastly, question #4: Would bringing in a grad transfer QB cause another Gators QB to jump ship?
This is truly the toughest question to answer as there are so many variables that must be weighed to even remotely provide an educated guess.
Both Trask and Franks seem almost primed to jump ship pending the outcome of this fall’s QB battle. Both QBs have the ability to run this offense, but at the end of the day it will come down to which QB has the knowledge to run the offense best.
Trask seems to have the best command and football IQ, while Franks has the superior raw talent and experience on his side.
I don’t think Mullen has any illusions of winning a National Title in year one. I doubt he even has the illusion of beating what appears to be a juggernaut in Georgia for the crown of the SEC East. At this point I believe Mullen, as well as the rest of the Gator Nation, would be happy to just see a level of competence return to the offense, and to revive the defense from its significant drop this past year.
To boot, Dan Mullen has already spoken on the matter and I cannot for a moment imagine a reality in which this actually happens; however if it does I would not be surprised if the outcome is less than desirable.
However this potential grad transfer situation shakes out Brian Johnson, John Hevesy, Billy Gonzales, and most of all Dan Mullen have a lot of work to do in the next 4 months to get these QBs in shape for the season opener against Charleston Southern on September 1st.
Let it be said to cap my first ever article on In All Kinds Of Weather: I believe Mullen will not make the same mistakes as his predecessors, and he will make the Florida Gators Football Team Great Again.