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Thursday, January 27, 2022
<p>Quarterback Feleipe Franks drops back to pass during the Orange &amp; Blue Debut on April 8, 2016, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.</p>

Quarterback Feleipe Franks drops back to pass during the Orange & Blue Debut on April 8, 2016, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Redshirt sophomore Luke Del Rio is the Gators’ starting quarterback in Saturday’s season opener against UMass. Purdue graduate transfer Austin Appleby is cemented as his backup.

But who will be the third-string signal caller — the one who coach Jim McElwain will call on in a worst-case scenario? That’s still to be decided between freshmen Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask.

Regardless of who gets the job, McElwain said Monday he wants to give both first-year players in-game reps in the near future, if at all possible.

“Obviously we have to have an established third at some point,” McElwain said. “We’ll kind of see where it goes from there.”

Both Franks and Trask have had their share of ups and downs since enrolling at UF in January.

Franks, a four-star prospect and the No. 5 pro-style quarterback in the 2016 recruiting class, according to 247sports, has a cannon of an arm and has the ability to stretch the field in the passing game.

But the 18-year-old has been inconsistent during camp and struggled during the Orange & Blue Debut in April, throwing three interceptions.

Trask, a career backup at Manvel (Texas) High who attempted just 132 passes in his final two years of high school, has showcased poise in the pocket during practice.

His lack of quality experience, however, is worrisome.

McElwain said in a perfect scenario, he will identify one of the freshmen early on as the No. 3 quarterback and allow the other to redshirt, staggering the two in terms of eligibility.

Until then, though, he’s not taking any chances.

“We have to prepare somebody to play in that spot,” McElwain said, “and both of them have done a really good job.”

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Five-headed backfield:

Jordan Scarlett could be Florida’s starting running back on Saturday. Or it could be junior college transfer Mark Thompson. Or even sophomore Jordan Cronkrite.

All three are listed as the possible guy to line up in the backfield for the Gators’ first offensive snap and are part of a potential five-headed committee at running back.

The other two: redshirt senior Mark Herndon and true freshman Lamical Perine.

“There’s going to be a lot out there,” McElwain said. “Right now, it’s funny. I think you guys will get so entrenched on the depth chart, which simply means nothing.

“Guys are going to play.”

Other depth chart highlights:

With All-Southeastern Conference cornerback Jalen Tabor suspended for the season opener, junior Duke Dawson is listed as a starting corner opposite Quincy Wilson. Dawson is also listed as the starting nickel corner.

The Gators do not have a freshman listed as a starter for the season opener, but there are 12 of them listed on the depth chart.

Contact Jordan McPherson at jmcpherson@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @J_McPherson1126.

Quarterback Feleipe Franks drops back to pass during the Orange & Blue Debut on April 8, 2016, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

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