doug nussmeier

Feleipe Franks has “come along way” since last O&B game

He’d be one of the first to admit it. When it was his time to get in and play during the 2016 Orange and Blue Debut his head was still spinning. The playbook, the new faces, everything about playing quarterback at this level was still overwhelming to Feleipe Franks.

It showed.

Franks, a highly sought after recruit, threw three interceptions before fining C’yontai Lewis for the game’s final touchdown late in the fourth quarter. It was a disastrous introduction to a fan base that was eagerly anticipating its first glimpse at their freshman quarterback.

“I think it was a case of...

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What is the Florida Gators quarterback battle like?

Steve Spurrier is in the Florida Gators football offices. He has his own office at the end of the hall in the communications wing and occasionally meets with the football coaches to talk ball, watch film and stay around the team. He isn’t, however, making decisions about personnel; so don’t expect to see Jim McElwain and Doug Nussmeier playing on the quarterback carousel that Spurrier set up with Noah Brindise and Doug Johnson in 1997.

For the first time since they’ve been together in Gainesville Nussmeier and McElwain will have a quarterback under center that they recruited to run...

Read the rest here: What is the Florida Gators quarterback battle like?

Florida Gators early enrollees earning early praise

Enrolling at college early is a sacrifice but it’s a move that is already paying dividends for several new Florida Gators.

They should be enjoying the last few months of high school, getting ready for prom and hanging out with their friends but instead graduated high school early and are cramming in the film room, studying a new playbook and sweating next to a new group of friend out on the practice field in Gainesville.

On Monday Jim McElwain singled out Kemore Gamble and Kadeem Telfort as two freshmen that are taking advantage of the head start they earned themselves over the rest of...

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Florida Gators offer “means a lot” to Milton

The Florida Gators are looking for a quarterback in the class of 2018 and on Tuesday they handed out an offer at the position.

Quarterback Joe Milton (6-5, 222, Orlando, FL. Olympia) was the guy who got that offer from Gators head coach Jim McElwain on Tuesday.

“They offered me during the visit,” Milton said. “Coach McElwain was the coach who gave me the offer. He first told me to think about how I would look in the Orange and Blue and then after that he offered me a scholarship.”

Milton has been very open about how much he wanted an offer from Florida and he explained why...

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Petit-Frere thinks highly of new Florida Gators OL coach

The first few weeks on the job for Florida Gators new offensive line coach Brad Davis has been successful on the recruiting trail as prospects visit campus to meet him.

Two weekends ago offensive lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere (6-6, 260, Tampa, FL. Berkeley Prep) was on campus and had a great visit that included meeting the coaching staff.

“It was a good visit, Gainesville is a very special place,” Petit-Frere said of his latest visit to Florida. “The coaches were great and it was just a great visit. We had brunch, and then I got to meet some of the coaches. After that, we got to go...

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Florida Gators’ playbook grows with addition of Massey

The Florida Gators coaching staff could hardly contain their excitement when Dre Massey enrolled prior to the 2016 season. The junior college transfer has a wide range of skills and Jim McElwain and Doug Nussmeier were itching to give the Gators’ offense a new wrinkle.

Massey played quarterback in high school. He famously scored 11 touchdowns — eight rushing — in a 83-70 win in high school. Massey can run, throw and catch. He was going to play special teams and have packages tailored to him.

However, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

Massey tore his ACL on the...

Read the rest here: Florida Gators’ playbook grows with addition of Massey

Jake Allen: Florida Gators Class of 2017 signee

Jake Allen

School: St. Thomas Aquinas Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL Height: 6’3 Weight: 204 Position: Quarterback Rivals Ranking: 3-star Recruited by: Tim Skipper, Doug Nussmeier Notable: Allen passed for 4,753 yards and 51 touchdowns in his high school career. As a senior, he passed for 2,311 yards, averaging 14.7 yards per completion and 165.1 yards per game. He had 27 touchdowns to 7 interceptions on the...

Burney enjoys his junior day visit to the Florida Gators

Last Saturday the Florida Gators had several top 2018 junior prospects on campus for a small junior day and it was a successful one.

One of those 2018 prospects on campus was athlete Amari Burney (6-1, 205, Clearwater, FL. Calvary Christian) who got to see a lot of things during the visit.

“The visit went good, we got to go and see the basketball game,” Burney said. “I played Madden with one of the guys that was taking us around when I first got there. I got to talk with the coaches, Coach [Jim] McElwain and the receiver coach, Coach [Kerry] Dixon.”

One of the experiences that...

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Florida Gators quarterbacks can use Grayson as mentor

The Florida Gators quest to find a quarterback since Tim Tebow graduated is growing close to a decade. Head coach Jim McElwain, called a quarterback guru when he took the job at Florida, appeared to have his man in each of his first two seasons before suspension and injury derailed the progress.

Last week it was revealed that Luke Del Rio underwent shoulder surgery and would miss spring practice. With Austin Appleby’s graduation the Gators will be thin at quarterback when spring camp rolls around, but it may not be bad news.

Florida will turn the reigns over to a pair of redshirt...

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Florida Gators recruiting class will surprise fans according to Allen

Over the weekend when the Florida Gators recruiting staff hosted official visits six of the ten prospects on campus were committed but that was a good thing as they were able to work the uncommitted targets.

One of the guys leading the recruiting pitch was quarterback commit Jake Allen (6-3, 195, Fort Lauderdale, FL. St. Thomas Aquinas) who enjoyed getting to know his other classmates.

"Spending time with the guys was great,” Allen said on what he enjoyed the visit. “We've never really hung out with each other and learned about each other. We've only had a relationship over Twitter...

Read the rest here: Florida Gators recruiting class will surprise fans according to Allen

Moore had an “amazing” visit to see the Florida Gators

Florida Gators offensive line commit T.J. Moore (6-5, 290, Charlotte, NC. Mallard Creek) has visited Florida several times in the past but this weekend he took his official visit to Gainesville.

This visit was his first time being on campus since he committed in December and it was a successful visit he says.

“The trip overall was amazing, it isn’t just about partying or hanging out with your teammates,” Moore said of the visit. “It’s about that I made a family in less than a week with Coach Mac, the offensive coordinator [Doug Nussmeier] and the rest of the coaching staff. I...

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Florida Gators coaches ease Moore’s mind about OL coach

Tuesday night wasn’t just any night for Florida Gators offensive line commits T.J. Moore (6-4, 270, Charlotte, NC., Mallard Creek) as he and his family played host to three Gators coaches.

Head coach Jim McElwain, offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and director of player personnel Drew Hughes also visited Moore and the lineman said it was a successful meeting.

“It was good, we sat down and had a long conversation and got to know each other,” Moore said on how McElwain’s visit with him went. “He’s a very good coach and person. He’s very energetic and fun to be around and...

Read the rest here: Florida Gators coaches ease Moore’s mind about OL coach

Gators pick up first 2018 commitment: Florida Gators recruiting

The Florida Gators recruiting class for 2018 picked up its first member on Friday when athlete Jalynn Williams (5-11, 185, St. Petersburg, FL. High) committed to the Gators.

“Growing up, I always wanted to commit to my dream school the University of Florida,” Williams said. “I got the offer and knew I wanted to commit.”

Williams had a big summer when he camped at Florida and Ohio State, picking up offers from both schools. Following that Gainesville trip, he knew where he was going.

“As soon as Florida offered me this summer I knew I was going to commit,”...

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Luke Del Rio not assuming anything in Gators’ QB competition, despite Spurrier endorsement

Florida Gators quarterbacks Austin Appleby (12) and Luke Del Rio (14) are competing for the starting job this camp. (TIm Casey/UAA Communications)

Florida Gators quarterbacks Austin Appleby (12) and Luke Del Rio (14) are competing for the starting job this camp. (TIm Casey/UAA Communications)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Luke Del Rio, the leader in Florida’s open quarterback competition entering preseason camp, heard along with everyone else last week the strong endorsement he received from former Gators coach and newly minted ambassador/consultant Steve Spurrier.

And he was no doubt ready for the inevitable question Wednesday at the Gators’ media day on the eve of the team’s first practice.

“That kind of blew up,” Del Rio said playfully of Spurrier’s comments. “I appreciate the insight, but it’s still an open competition.”


In talking with reporters last Friday about returning to his alma mater, Spurrier made headlines by inadvertently declaring Del Rio the Gators’ new starting quarterback.

Florida head coach Jim McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier have yet to make the same declaration, though, and didn’t offer anything new Wednesday while saying they want to see how the team’s offensive players feed off both Del Rio and Austin Appleby, a graduate transfer from Purdue, during camp.

“We’ll make the decision when we’re ready to make the decision and when we think the timing’s right,” Nussmeier said. “I don’t think you can sit here today and say it’s this day or that day.”

Said McElwain: “I really believe, to play successful football at the quarterback position, the people around you, A, have to believe; and B, they have got to trust in everything you’re doing; and C, their play is elevated based on how you go about playing the position. …

“So I’ll see how the guys respond to them when they are in the huddle, when they are into the situations that we, you know, set up during practice. That really is kind of, to me, the key to success at the position.”

Pressed for any further commitment to Del Rio’s grip on the job, McElwain wasn’t biting.

“Has anything ever changed here?” he joked, keeping whatever deeper opinions he has to himself.

So the competition continues as the Gators look to find stability at quarterback. They’ve struggled to find any such stability since Will Grier’s season ended with a suspension for a positive PED test, and Treon Harris was inconsistent in replacing him. Both Grier and Harris have since transferred out of the program.

Del Rio, meanwhile, is about as well traveled as a redshirt sophomore can be.

The son of Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio, he spent the 2013 season at Alabama as a walk-on, before joining Oregon State in 2014 and then sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules after arriving at Florida. But he had that year to absorb the Gators offense

On Wednesday, he thought back to the circuitous path that has brought him to this opportunity now.

“It was tough. It definitely was, going to three different schools,” he said. “I basically went to Alabama because it was a dream of mine. I wanted to play for Coach [Nick] Saban, I wanted to play with the best in the country, they were the national champions at the time. It was a mixture of things [causing me to leave] Alabama, and then at Oregon State it was pretty much strictly coaching staff changes. But I couldn’t be happier to be here.”

Del Rio recounted how he was told during spring practice in 2015, after Oregon State head coach Mike Riley had left for Nebraska and a new staff had taken over, that he was not part of the Beavers’ future.

“It was a Tuesday, it was like 6:50 in the morning when they told me and I still had to go practice because it was during spring practice. It hurt a lot,” he said. “I asked them, ‘So you want me to transfer?’ And they basically said, ‘Look, we’re not telling you to do anything; we’re just telling you you won’t play here. …

“Alabama was more complicated, but Oregon State was very difficult. I had a good thing going, I was settled, but once again, I’m happy to be here.”

Del Rio said McElwain had recruited him “very hard” when he was the head coach at Colorado State. He didn’t want to play in the altitude of Colorado, though.

Instead, they find themselves together now in Gainesville trying to jumpstart an offense that averaged just 12.8 points over the final six games of last season.

Del Rio has only thrown 18 passes in college — all in 2014 with Oregon State — but he’s had that extra year in the program to get up to speed with the offense here. Now he has this preseason camp to finally prove whether he’s indeed the best option.

“I’m confident in my ability,” he said. “I can really only control what I can control. I feel if I play to the best of my ability then I’ll have a good shot at winning the job.”

As for Appleby, he said he had far easier paths to playing time when he decided to leave Purdue for his final year of eligibility.

He started 11 games and played in 17 over three seasons with the Boilermakers, passing for 2,777 career yards, 19 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.

Appleby said he had about two weeks to find a new home in-between getting his release from Purdue and a recruiting dead period, but that was enough time to drum up considerable interest — including several schools that could have offered him a better guarantee of playing time.

“There was a number of them. People in this conference, people in MAC-level conferences, all the way in between, but for me, I want to be the very best I can be,” Appleby said. “And Coach Mac, Coach Nuss, these teammates, for me there was something about this place that I couldn’t pass it up. …

“It didn’t take long for me to be 100 percent sold on what the Gators were offering and what a special thing we have brewing here and how I can be a part of that.”

While Del Rio exited the spring as the leader in the quarterback competition, Appleby says he’s had the best summer of his collegiate career. He said he has come a long way in terms of his understanding of the offense and his chemistry with the receivers.

“I have a world of confidence. I had one of my best summers I’ve ever had since becoming a college football player, really taking the opportunity to learn and develop my plan within the plan — not just understanding the plays, but understanding why we’re calling them, what we’re trying to accomplish, who runs it the best, where do my eyes need to be …,” he said.

“Those were things I was a little behind in the spring time, trying to catch up. I didn’t even know where to run from drill to drill in practice. Now I’ve got my feet under me, I understand what we’re trying to accomplish as an offense, I understand the coaches and I can just go be an extension of them and affect my teammates in positive ways.

“I’m right where I need to be. I couldn’t be more confident.”

Between those two options, Nussmeier said he feels good about the depth the Gators have this year at such a crucial position.

“Obviously as we came out of spring, we talked about Luke had a slight edge, and we’re going to let them compete and see where we end up,” he said.

And eventually somebody on the current coaching staff will make a declaration as to who will actually get the first shot at the job.

QB Jake Allen thriving as bond, chemistry with Gators coaches grows

Jake Allen, a 4-star quarterback from Fort Lauderdale. (Special to the AJC)

Jake Allen, a 4-star quarterback from Fort Lauderdale. (Special to the AJC)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — It’s important for a quarterback and his position coach to be on the same page.

Florida commit Jake Allen has developed that kind of rapport with Gators offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier over the past year. Allen, who pledged to UF last summer, worked with Nussmeier and Florida coach Jim McElwain at this past weekend’s Friday Night Lights event.

#Gators QB Jake Allen throwing at Friday Night Lights

— Zach Abolverdi (@ZachAbolverdi) July 23, 2016

“The more time I have around Coach Nuss and Coach Mac, the better I get,” said Allen, a product of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

“I was just throwing for them and having a good time. It was fun.”

The chemistry between Allen and Nussmeier is evident when they work together, and that relationship exists off the field, as well.

“He’s an awesome guy,” Allen said. “I love hanging around him. I’m comfortable. I don’t have to put on a different persona. I can just be myself.

“He can relate to the quarterback. He used to play it and he knows the position. It’s good to have a coach like that.”

Nussmeier photobombed Allen at the conclusion of Friday Night Lights, and their fun began as soon as the camp started.

“Nuss was talking some trash to me,” Allen said. “We were doing the first drill when you have to throw it through the net, and he told me I couldn’t do it. He goes, ‘Jake, don’t throw it to the ground.’ It was funny. But of course I made it.”

The nation’s No. 10 pro-style quarterback also recruited some offensive skill players during his trip, such as 4-star wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and 4-star running back Adarius Lemons, who committed to Florida on Monday. Allen threw a long touchdown pass to Jeudy after he shook a cornerback to the ground on a juke move that went viral.

#Gators QB commit Jake Allen with a big TD pass to WR Jerry Jeudy.

— Zach Abolverdi (@ZachAbolverdi) July 23, 2016

“You have to find little niches in their recruitment,” Allen said when asked how he approaches other prospects. “Everyone has something that they want to hear and they want to have in a college. So you have to find that out and keep stressing it.

“It’s not easy going to random guys and talking to them. But I like doing that and I enjoy it.”

Unless otherwise indicated, ratings and rankings come from the 247Sports Composite. 

Zach Abolverdi is the Florida beat writer for SEC Country and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

Florida Gators visit exceeds Jaggers expectations

The Florida Gators hosted a big prospect from California on campus Monday for an unofficial visit

Tight end Jimmie Jaggers (6-4, 244, Roseville, CA High) visited Gainesville with his father and sister and it was the first time for the tight end to meet Jim McElwain.

“It was a great visit overall for sure,” Jaggers said of his Monday visit. “We were able to sit down with Coach Mac, Coach [Doug] Nussmeier and Coach [Greg] Nord and talk football. We talked about where they see me playing as far as an offensive role and of course we got to see the campus and facilities.”


Read the rest here: Florida Gators visit exceeds Jaggers expectations

A happy Scott family visits the Florida Gators

Last weekend the Florida Gators had a big piece of its 2017 recruiting class on campus for the first time, despite him already committing.

A smiling Jim McElwain met defensive tackle Jordon Scott (6-1, 345, Largo, FL Pinellas Park) and his family when they visited on Saturday.

“It was one of the best days of my life,” Scott said of the Florida visit. “It was an amazing time and I was one of the first people and athletes to be able to go in the new academic center. When I talked to Coach Mac he acted like he knew more than just as a football player, and when I first got there Coach...

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Doug Nussmeier says Luke Del Rio ‘a little bit ahead’ in Gators quarterback competition

Gators offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier spoke about the quarterback situation. (UAA Communications photo by Tim Casey)

Gators offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier spoke about the quarterback situation. (UAA Communications photo by Tim Casey)

The Gators’ quarterback competition has attracted a lot of attention this offseason.

Oregon State transfer Luke Del Rio — who was ineligible to play for the Gators last season due to NCAA transfer rules — is competing with Purdue graduate transfer Austin Appleby, and freshmen Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask to be Florida’s starting quarterback this year.

Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier had some stuff to say to the Palm Beach Post on the Gators’ quarterback battle before speaking to the Palm Beach County Gator Club on Tuesday night.

Here’s what Nussmeier had to say:

Gators coaches are impressed with the way Del Rio worked and mastered Florida’s offense this spring: “The biggest thing is that Luke has really learned to let the offense work for him. He has a really good understanding of what we’re doing. Obviously he was in the system before. He’s really grasped the system well and he really understands how to let the system work for him. Any time you do something over and over again, obviously you get better.”

Better things are expected from Appleby this fall after working in Florida’s offense for the first time this spring: “I think Austin had a really good spring and I think he’ll continue to make another jump this fall because he just got it for the first time this spring. He did it, had time to digest it, and now he’ll get to go back and do it again.”

Freshmen Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask learned a lot this spring as early enrollees: “Everything is brand new to them, so everything we’re teaching them is from phase one. They will make even bigger strides because their learning curve is even steeper. We’re very pleased with both Kyle and Feleipe. But I don’t want to make any assessments today. It’s so early in their development.”

Even after throwing three interceptions in the spring game, Nussmeier is encouraged by Franks’ growth this spring: “The way society is today, everybody wants instant gratification. They want success right away. I think that’s why you see so many quarterbacks really have struggles early and don’t do well because expectations are so high for them. I think when you put those kinds of expectations on a kid that’s learning something, it makes it very difficult. He has great tools. A lot of the things we’re teaching him, it’s the first time he’s done it. So he’s going to get better and better and I really think he has a very, very high ceiling.”

Nussmeier admits Del Rio is “a little bit” ahead in the quarterback competition, but said the battle is not over yet: “As coach said, I think (Del Rio) had a really good spring. As coach Mac has said, maybe (Del Rio) is a little bit ahead. But we’re going to continue to let these guys compete. Remember, Austin did things for the first time this spring and he’s going to come back and be a lot better the second time though. Those guys continue to battle each and every day. Just as a group and the way they pushed each other, I’m excited about all four of those guys.”

Scott feeling like a Florida Gator

The Florida Gators picked up commitment number six on Wednesday night and it was a big one, both literally and figuratively.

Defensive tackle Jordon Scott (6-1, 345, Largo, FL Pinellas Park) committed to Florida on Wednesday night after talking to defensive line coach Chris Rumph and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.

Scott fills a huge need in the recruiting class, as the Gators are in need of defensive tackles in the class of 2017 having not signing one in the class of 2016.

“This morning I had a talk with my coach and this whole time I knew Florida was for me, but I just had...

Read the rest here: Scott feeling like a Florida Gator

Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier has ‘unfinished business’ at Florida

Gators offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier (UAA Communications photo by Tim Casey)

Gators offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier (UAA Communications photo by Tim Casey)

When Southern Miss approached Doug Nussmeier about its open head coaching job in January, he listened.

“Obviously, you get an opportunity to be a head coach, you got to listen,” Nussmeier said to the Palm Beach Post before speaking to the Palm Beach County Gator Club on Tuesday night.

But after becoming a top candidate to replace Todd Monken as the Southern Miss head coach, Nussmeier decided to stay at Florida. Nussmeier is preparing to begin his second season as the Gators’ offensive coordinator.

“I want to go to a place where it’s the right place for me and my family,” Nussmeier said to the Palm Beach Post. “When the time is right, the time will be right. I felt like we got unfinished business here and I feel like we can do some really special things here at Florida.”

Nussmeier’s return brings some continuity to the Gators offense, which has had six different offensive coordinators since 2008. Florida finished ranked 111th nationally in total offense this past season under Nussmeier, averaging eight points over the final three games.

Nussmeier is entering the second year of the three-year contract he signed with the Gators. He is set to make $515,000 this year and $540,000 in the final year of his contract.

[Recruiting: Gators pushing hard for 5-star Ohio State commit Shaun Wade]

[Related: Gators clinch GateHouse Media SEC All-Sports titles]

Rumph and Scott discuss LeBron James: Florida Gators recruiting

One of the biggest needs for the Florida Gators recruiting in 2017 is at defensive tackle, as the Gators didn’t one land in the class of 2016.

Defensive line coach Chris Rumph has been working hard on instate defensive tackle Jordon Scott (6-1, 345, Largo, FL Pinellas Park) since Scott was offered last week.

On Monday their conversations didn’t have anything to do with spring football or the coaches coming by, but more on what’s happening on the hardwood.

“Coach Rumph and Coach Nuss [Doug Nussmeier] both came by for my spring game last week,” Scott said. “I talk to Coach...

Read the rest here: Rumph and Scott discuss LeBron James: Florida Gators recruiting

Gators coaches checking out in-state spring games

Gators offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier (UAA Communications photo by Jay Metz)

Gators offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier (UAA Communications photo by Jay Metz)

A handful of Florida coaches were checking out some of the Gators’ top in-state targets Thursday night.

UF offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier and wide receivers coach Kerry Dixon II were in Tampa for Florida commit Daquon Green (Tampa Bay Tech) and a pair of 2018 teammates from Armwood High School (Seffner, Fla.), wide receiver Warren Thompson and running back Brian Snead.

Running backs coach Tim Skipper and secondary coach Torrian Gray attended Jacksonville Trinity Christian’s spring game to watch Ohio State cornerback commit Shaun Wade, 2018 cornerback Tyreke Johnson and 2018 safety Chamarri Conner, who earned an offer from Michigan on Tuesday.

Defensive line coach Chris Rumph went to see defensive end Zachary Carter of Hillsborough High School in Tampa. Carter told SEC Country two weeks ago the Gators will be tough to beat. Earlier Thursday, Rumph was in Largo to visit Pinellas Park defensive tackle Jordon Scott.

Offensive line coach Mike Summers paid a visit Thursday to Pensacola offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood, an Alabama commit.

Former backup QB Kyle Trask could become first-rate talent for Florida

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (right) with offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. (UAA Communications)

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (right) with offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. (UAA Communications)

HOUSTON — Every football fan knows the old adage that the backup quarterback is the most popular guy on a team.

But that hasn’t been the case at Manvel High School near Houston.

The team’s No. 2 signal caller, Kyle Trask, might be a backup once again in 2016, but that role would hold much more significance.

Trask, a two-star recruit, enrolled early at UF in January with fans and media members still wondering how he even had a scholarship offer.

To their disbelief, Trask was the story of the spring. The 6-foot-5, 227-pounder proved to be the most natural passer of Florida’s four new quarterbacks, and surprisingly, he may not redshirt as a true freshman.

How things got to this point is as head-scratching as his commitment to the Gators last summer. But Trask’s emergence at Florida, first as a prospect in camp and then during spring football, came as no shock to his high school coach, Kirk Martin.

“One day they’ll do a 30 for 30 on Kyle Trask and talk about what a dumb butt his high school coach was for not starting him,” Martin said. “I’ll be the guy that cut Michael Jordan. I can own that. But I’m telling you, that’s how good this kid can be.”

Trask played three years behind fellow 2016 classmate D’Eriq King, a Houston signee and one-time TCU commit.

The Elite 11 semifinalist threw for nearly 6,000 yards and 90 total touchdown passes as a junior and senior. The dual-threat quarterback also accounted for 20 scores and 1,426 yards on the ground in that same span.

The Mavericks averaged 55.7 points per game last season and scored 70 or more six times. If you want to know why Trask didn’t start, there’s your sign.

“Everybody talks about Kyle being a backup, I never viewed him that way,” Martin said. “D’Eriq was just so electric with the ball in his hands that it was hard to take him out. We run a wide-open spread offense with a lot of zone reads and quarterback runs that Kyle couldn’t do.

“He’s truly a pro-style quarterback. He can run now, but he’s not a 4.4 guy like D’Eriq. He’s one of the fastest track athletes in Texas. So he was just best for what we do.”

With an offensive system not suited for his skills and playing time hard to come by, transferring could have been beneficial for Trask. He was recruited by other schools to make the switch after his sophomore season but decided against it.

Under eligibility rules of the UIL (University Interscholastic League), prep football players in the state of Texas can be forced to sit out a year if they transfer to another high school for athletic reasons. But a potential penalty is not the primary reason Trask chose to stay at Manvel.

“I still remember the day he came into my office to tell me,” Martin said. “He goes, ‘Coach, I was born and raised in Manvel and I’m not going anywhere. If you allow me the opportunity to compete for the job, I’m staying right here. If D’Eriq is better than me, he has to prove it. I’m not going to run from competition.’

“He never was the full-time starter but he always played. He didn’t jump ship. In this day and age, if you got a competition, as soon as you pick a starter the other kid leaves. We as a society tell them just go somewhere else, there’s a better situation over here. Well, the grass isn’t always greener.”

Martin said he promised Trask and his family he would give him quality minutes and get his film to college coaches. He did both.

“I tried to play Kyle the third series of every game and then the seventh series, regardless of the score,” Martin said, debunking the notion that Trask’s impressive film consists of mop-up duty. “His strongest attribute is his arm and I wanted to showcase that, but I don’t believe in running the score up when you’re beating somebody. I wanted him to have enough film with the first-team offense because I knew he could play.”

In his last two seasons, Trask threw for 1,545 yards (759, 786) and 16 total touchdowns. His career completion rate was 73 percent, and he threw zero interceptions in three years at the varsity level.

“Division I recruiters came to see him,” Martin said, “and I told all of them, ‘If you’re a pro-style team, I guarantee he can come play for you. Here’s what will happen. He’ll beat out whatever big-name guy you bring on campus. He’ll win the job, be a multiyear starter and go on to play in the NFL.’

“Most coaches laughed it off and said there’s no way they could offer a kid that’s a backup. Well, just figure that out for a minute. He’s backing up a kid that was the Houston area player of the year, better than every other quarterback in this huge city. All those other guys were getting offers, but they would have been his backup, too.”

After some selling by Martin, a few coaches decided to give Trask a look. One of them was Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.

“I reached out to Nuss and told him they had to come check out this kid,” Martin said. “He sent the area recruiter through here first and he was like, ‘Whoa.’ So then Nuss came. I put Kyle on the opposite hash throwing 22-yard comebacks. That’s NFL stuff and he was fire-shooting them out of his arm.”

Nussmeier then brought in Trask for a summer camp session last June. He again tried to find flaws in his game, but Trask’s fundamentals and skills showed up in person like they did on his tape.

“Every time you tried to say, ‘Well, I’m not sure,’ he did something that said you are sure,” Nussmeier said. “If you just turned on the film when he played in the games and looked at his production, it’s pretty darn good now.

“You look at the decision making, you look at the size, arm strength, accuracy, and you say, ‘What box aren’t you checking, what are we missing here?’ ”

What transpired in the weeks following that camp may be a first for college football recruiting. A couple small schools were recruiting Trask by that time, but a Power Five program offering a backup quarterback seemed like quite a stretch and probably never had happened before.

Nussmeier, however, was sold on Trask after evaluating him twice.

“Right after the camp,” Martin said, “Nuss called and goes, ‘Kirk, he lit it up.’ He said it was unbelievable, that he was the best guy there. He was ready to offer him.”

Kyle Trask (left) with Gators coach Jim McElwain after camping at UF.

Kyle Trask (left) with Gators coach Jim McElwain after camping at UF.

But UF coach Jim McElwain wasn’t. Not yet.

Still on the fence about it, Martin said McElwain needed to see how Trask stacked up and competed against elite quarterbacks. He also wanted to put him under pressure in a loud atmosphere with fans watching, unlike the camp setting.

So Trask flew back to Gainesville by himself for Friday Night Lights, Florida’s annual recruiting showcase that draws hundreds of top recruits to The Swamp.

“As soon as the event was over,” Martin said, “Nuss calls me and goes, ‘Kirk, he freakin’ lit it up again man!’ They offered him and I started jumping up and down in my house. I was so happy and excited for Kyle. That’s the kind of stage he belongs on.”

It didn’t take long for Trask to show that in the spring. Gators cornerback Jalen Tabor, a projected first-round pick for the 2017 NFL Draft, has experienced Trask’s talent first-hand.

“I love Trask. Pretty ball. He has the prettiest ball,” Tabor said. “Can you still step up in the pocket and deliver a ball to help your team win? That’s the only question I have for him.

“But as far as just the eye test, the kid is big and he can throw. I tried to bait him into one play in the scrimmage and he baited me. He threw it right over my head, I’m like, ‘Oh, I thought I had it.’ But he put it right on a dime. He can definitely drop dimes.”

Trask had a promising performance in the spring game, completing four of his seven pass attempts for 67 yards. Few expected him to outplay fellow freshman Feleipe Franks, an Elite 11 finalist who threw three interceptions, but Trask’s production only confirmed Florida’s summer evaluations.

“We beat Houston Baptist, or somebody on this guy?” McElwain said of Trask. “It goes back to what we expected. Are we surprised the way Kyle has played? No. We saw those things when he kept coming back to camp, putting him in situations.

“I mean, that’s the beauty of getting guys to camp because you’re able to kind of see how they react in different environments. He’s a guy that answered all the questions.”

More questions remain for Trask, such as how he’ll perform in a game or handle his shot at the starting job, if and when it eventually comes. Martin has no doubt it will.

“Kyle Trask is there to stay,” he said. “He’s going to stay the course and he’ll start at the University of Florida. I believe it with my whole heart. I literally told Nussmeier that.

“The really great thing about Nuss and that staff is they trusted their eyes. They didn’t worry about a star rating. They looked and saw the kid can flat-out play. You watch, Kyle Trask will light it up in the NFL and everyone will be going, ‘Man, how did we miss on that guy?’ ”

Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier to speak at Palm Beach County Gator Club event

Gators offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier will speak in Palm Beach County on May 24. (UAA Communications photo by Jay Metz)

Gators offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier will speak in Palm Beach County on May 24. (UAA Communications photo by Jay Metz)

Have questions about the Gators’ offense? After the way last season ended, you probably should.

Well, the Palm Beach County Gator Club is hosting Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier at Lafayette’s in West Palm Beach’s CityPlace on May 24.

Doors open for the event at 5:30 p.m. and Nussmeier is scheduled to start speaking at 6:45 p.m.

University of Florida Alumni Association members can buy tickets for the event for $10 and non-members can buy tickets for $15 here.

Gators head coach Jim McElwain already spoke in South Florida this offseason when he was in Fort Lauderdale on April 13 for an event hosted by the Broward County Gator Club as part of his nine-stop speaking tour.

Nussmeier is entering his second season as Florida’s offensive coordinator. The Gators ranked 111th nationally in total offense in Nussmeier’s first year at the helm last season.

Here’s more info on the event:

When: Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Where: Lafayette’s | 550 South Rosemary Avenue, West Palm Beach, 33401 (CityPlace)
UFAA Member Admission: $10, UFAA Non-Member Admission: $15

Florida Gators tight ends are a matchup nightmare

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With that in mind Gator Country will go over where the current roster stands, what the depth chart looks like, and how the 13 incoming freshmen will fit in at their positions when they arrive on campus in June.

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Florida Gators make offer to space eating instate DT

The Florida Gators have a huge need for defensive tackles in the class of 2017 after not signing one in the 2016 class.

On Monday the Gators took a step forward in that department as defensive line coach Chris Rumph offered Jordon Scott (6-1, 345, Largo, FL Pinellas Park) over the phone.

“Coach Rumph was the coach that offered me today [Monday],” Scott said. “Coach Rumph was telling me that everybody loved my film and when I went to camp last year that I showed them what I was about. He said that he was offering me a full ride to Florida.”

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North Carolina running back commit Adarius Lemons (6-1, 192, Clearwater, FL High) was one of those players that had two coaches visit him including running backs coach Tim Skipper.

“Coach Skipper came by my school on Wednesday to watch me practice,” Lemons said. “He and Coach [Doug] Nussmeier stayed for a very long time to watch us practice. It was good to see them out there and it showed me that...

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Behind the Numbers: First Year of Transfer Quarterbacks

I will be honest, this article was going to be about transfer quarterbacks that played for the Florida Gators. Then, I started to research and came across this pretty amazing fact…

If Luke Del Rio or Austin Appleby start a game for this year at quarterback, they would be the first (and potentially second) transfer quarterback to ever start a game for the Florida Gators.

Yes, in the 110 years of Florida football – no transfer player has ever started at quarterback, which is both impressive and quite interesting.

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Wednesday looks to be the busiest day so far, as the coaching staff will be in the loaded areas of Tampa, Polk County and the surrounding areas of Tampa. The coaching staff will see several big time targets for the 2017 and 2018 classes on Wednesday.

GatorCountry will now...

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McKitty hears from the Florida Gators daily

Monday was a big day for the Florida Gators coaching staff as the assistant coaches hit the road recruiting, visiting several top prospects in the state of Florida.

Tight end Tre McKitty (6-4, 225, Bradenton, FL IMG Academy) was one of the first ones to receive a visit and he had two coaches at his school to see him.

“Coach [Doug] Nussmeier and Coach [Chris] Rumph came by to see me today [Monday],” McKitty said. “It went good but we couldn’t talk to each other, so they just talked to my coaches. I was one of the first guys they visited and it showed that they were really pushing...

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