When was the last time the Florida football team had a clear-favorite quarterback that lasted an entire season?
You know, someone who was the leader heading into the season, started every game without worry of getting pulled and finished the year without fans calling for his benching.
Was it Jeff Driskel? It could have been. He was a clear favorite twice, but he got hurt in 2013 and traded starts with Treon Harris in 2014 before he transferred to Louisiana Tech.
Was it Harris? I was a freshman when Turlington Plaza was plastered with “In Treon We Trust” signs. That good-will feeling was gone around the time the Gators had to take Florida Atlantic to overtime.
Was it John Brantley? Definitely not. He was not a good answer to all the success Tim Tebow brought.
The last clear-favorite quarterback that lasted a full season was Tebow in 2009. Now, there is a new one.
It’s the middle of spring practice, and it’s Feleipe Franks’ spot to lose. It’s not even close. Franks will be the starter for UF’s season opener against Miami on Aug. 24.
“I’ve been more comfortable in everything I’ve been doing whether it be watching film, up there just trying to learn from Coach Johnson, Coach Mullen,” he said, “or even just out here on this field, being a leader, being more comfortable making throws and just knowing the offense.”
Franks has grown a lot and his success is resonating with the fans. They are no longer calling for his benching and actually seem excited for what the future holds next season.
He is coming off his best season as a Gator. Franks threw for 2,457 yards on 188 completions, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also developed into a dual-threat, rushing for 350 yards and seven more touchdowns.
Now, nothing is guaranteed. Franks could theoretically lose his spot to Kyle Trask or Emory Jones, but from what I saw in Florida’s first scrimmage on Thursday, that seems highly unlikely. Trask did fine — he threw for more yards than Franks did — but he still has a lot to work on. He had a lot of miscues with his receivers, which led to overthrows that should have been picked off.
Jones completed just six of his 17 passes, and his presence was felt more on the ground. He ran for the most yards of any rusher (64).
I know it was just one scrimmage, but Franks left it as the best quarterback of the trio. If there was any doubt on his status as UF’s starter, which there shouldn’t be, it was all gone after last week.
For the first time in a long time, the Gators aren’t in a quarterback battle. It’s kind of cool to see.
Jake Dreilinger is the sports editor of the Alligator. Follow him on Twitter @DreilingerJake and contact him at email@example.com.
Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks threw for 2,457 yards on 188 completions, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions last season.