The 2010 Allstate Sugar Bowl. The last game of Tim Tebow’s legendary college career at Florida and the beginning of the programs 8 year-long quarterback drought. This would also be the last time Florida would ever truly be an elite team. After Tebow graduated, a year later Urban Meyer stepped down and UF found themselves in an all out rebuild. The one aspect the Gators have managed to maintain over the past 8 years, is their top-tier defense. The defense alone is the reason UF hasn’t completely fallen off the face of the college football world. As for their offense, it’s an entire different story and it all goes back to the inability of finding and developing quarterbacks. As a Florida fan, it pains me to say that the Gators haven’t had a quality QB since Tim Tebow. With that said, I have a lot of confidence that the 8 year drought can and will come to an end this upcoming season. Before I get into why, let’s take a look at all of Florida’s QB’s since 2010. WARNING: It’s a longer list than it should be.
2010 – 2011: John Brantley – Never heard of him? There’s a reason why.
2011 – 2012: Jacoby Brissett – Another below average QB at Florida before transferring to NC State and actually having a solid career with the Wolfpack. Currently with the Indianapolis Colts.
2012 – 2014: Jeff Driskel – After a decent freshman year, Driskel underperformed and was eventually benched. He then transferred to Louisiana Tech and just like Brissett, he went on to have much more success.
2013: Tyler Murphy – After leading Florida to a comeback win over Tennessee, he was thought to be the hero QB the Gators have been looking for. Unfortunately he also quickly fizzled out and then transferred to Boston College.
2013: Skyler Mornhinweg – After benching the two QB’s ahead of him, the Gators named the 3rd stringer the starter. It didn’t go well.
2014 – 2015: Treon Harris – Had a lot of hype coming out of high school but, never lived up to it in his time with the Gators. Transferred to Tennessee State.
2015: Will Grier – Finally. Florida found their QB. Leading UF to a 6-0 start and looking like an elite player, Grier and the Gators looked unstoppable. Unfortunately, it was too good to be true. Grier was suspended for PED’s and then transferred to West Virginia.
2016: Austin Appleby – Transfer from Purdue. Played like a transfer from Purdue. Sorry Purdue.
2016 – 2017: Luke Del Rio – After showing sparks of potential, Del Rio lacked consistency and was incredibly injury prone.
2017: Malik Zaire – After looking promising at Notre Dame, Zaire had a lot of Florida fans excited when he announced he was transferring to UF. That would be the only time Florida fans would be excited about Zaire.
2017: Feleipe Franks – Currently the starter, Franks has shown potential and still has a shot to return as the starter next year.
Here we are today. As the Gators prepare to have their biggest QB battle in years between Feleipe Franks and Emory Jones, fans have high hopes for the upcoming season. After hiring Dan Mullen a.k.a “The QB Whisperer”, Florida may finally have the coach they needed all of these years to properly develop a quarterback. Mullen has proven he can turn a program around after making a lowly Mississippi State team a consistent Top 25 team. He also turned Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzpatrick into high quality QB’s. Something that was unheard of at MSU. Oh yeah, he was also the offensive guru at Florida during the Tebow era, winning two national titles with the Gators.
As one can see, it’s understandable for us Florida fans to be beyond excited for the 2018 season. Whether it’s Feleipe Franks or the 5 star recruit Emory Jones, I’m looking forward to seeing Mullen and his staff revive these quarterback’s and the entire offense as a whole. This could be UF’s return to the spotlight or at least the beginning of it.
– Collin Borron (Founder & Owner of The Gridiron Express)