9:30 AM, 2/4/2019
Folks, the Fighting Dan Mullens are hot on the trail, especially when it comes to the most important position on the field.
Think about it: you’ve got a head man known for success at the position, who in his very first season at the helm turned a guy who almost everyone counted out (including myself) into a respectable starting SEC QB. Look at it through the eyes of a high school QB with a bright future at the position, there’s really not much of a better situation that you could ask for.
The re-kindled desire to play QB at the University of Florida has provided Dan & Co. with a good problem to have. All of a sudden you’ve got multiple talented options that want in. Word on the street is that Dan is seriously considering taking two QBs in the 2020 cycle, this has caused a bit of discussion in the Gator Nation. Those who are for two QBs are stating the obvious, two good players are better than one. Those against also have solid reasoning in their corner, a clogged depth chart is a bigger deal at QB than any other position on the field.
So what’s the “right” answer? Two or one? Well, let’s take a look at the players:
First up, you’ve got Gainesville native Anthony Richardson, a guy many including myself hope rocks the number 15 in college so we can run with the nickname AR15 for a few years. Next on the list, you got Alabama QB commit Carson Beck. Now, Beck has not flipped to the Gators yet, much less even de-committed from Saban. BUT, the decommit is certainly coming, and, as I’ve heard through the grapevine, the Gators are the most likely next destination. The move can be expected to be made sometime this spring, maybe sooner. Beck has a good relationship with Dan Enos at Miami, and things can certainly change, but what we are talking about here is a kid from Jacksonville who grew up a Gator. I expect him to be a good guy when it is all said and done.
So what do these guys bring to the table? What’s awesome about the dynamic here, and partially why I think taking two is advisable in this situation, is that these two guys are pretty much yin-and-yang.
AR(hopefully 15): certified physical freak, raw passer, but upside seriously absolutely through the roof.
Beck: decent athlete but nothing eye-popping, insanely accurate, college ready before he’s even 18.
These guys are opposite sides of the coin. What you get with bringing both in is an opportunity to red-shirt AR while having a kid (as maybe QB2) who is ready to take real snaps from almost day one.
I had the opportunity to see AR in person this past summer at Friday Night Lights. AR was throwing next to recent Gator QB enrollee Jalon Jones. My honest opinion from that night (and y’all can pull the receipts) is that AR was the more impressive prospect both physically and as a passer. Saying a prospect is more physically impressive than a guy like Jalon Jones is nothing to scoff at. Fast-forward a little over six months later, and AR became a grown ass man out of nowhere. This is what has people drooling over his potential, if this kid can develop like he has over six months in high school, good God what is he going to become when Nick Savage gets a hold of him? AR seems born and bred to play in Dan Mullen’s offense, the only legitimate question out there amongst the masses is whether or not he will be able to become a bit more consistent with his accuracy?
Let’s get the bias out the way so y’all can understand my true opinion of Carson Beck. Beck is a Duval County bred Mandarin Mustang. There’s pretty much no combination that will carry more favor with me than that, as I myself was a Duval County bred Mandarin Mustang. Still, as I’ve had an opportunity to see him play for myself and talk to others about his skill set, this kid is seriously special. The throws I’ve seen him make are throws that the QB of Jacksonville’s NFL team struggles to make on a consistent basis. Beck is a three-sport athlete, who is pretty much phenomenal at everything he does. He also comes from a good family and has a good head on his shoulders. Beck is not a rah-rah guy at all, and if you’re looking for a “bell-cow” type personality at QB, Beck probably isn’t your guy. The 2018 accomplishments were pretty outstanding. Beck transferred to Mandarin from a private school in Jacksonville called Providence. He took over a team that won two sad games in 2017, and proceeded to win Mandarin their first ever state title by throwing for 300 yards and 5 touchdowns against a MUCH more talented Miami Columbus. Those types of accomplishments should not get overlooked, oh and he also won Florida’s Mr. Football.
So, they’re both good. Cool. How will this work at Florida? Is it possible to make it work adding two kids to a depth chart in a single cycle? I think so, and here’s my way-too-early thoughts on how the chart will work itself out.
QB1 – Emory Jones – RSO
QB2 – Carson Beck – FR
QB3 – Jalon Jones – RFR
QB4 – Anthony Richardson – Redshirt
Now, both Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask technically will have eligibility in 2020. I’d honestly be shocked if either were on the roster. Franks will test the league and Trask will be elsewhere. Franks is a 6’5 240lb kid that can throw the ball 70 yards and stride out a sub-4.9 40. That’s NFL, almost regardless of output. By draft time, Franks will have three years as a starter under his belt, and likely will be able to show NFL scouts growth and progression throughout. If I were Kyle Trask, I wouldn’t even wait until 2020 to transfer. Emory is almost guaranteed to be QB2 in 2019, why sit on the bench at Florida just to grad-transfer in 2020 when you can transfer to your school of choice a year earlier and get a head start learning the offense? If I were advising the kid, I’d have told him to hit the road for a school prior to spring 2019 so he can get even more of a head start. Regardless of how it happens, I don’t expect either of the aforementioned to be around in 2020.
So that would leave you with only two scholarship guys (as the roster is currently set up) for 2020. I don’t think it is a difficult sell for Dan to convince both guys to stick it out for the 2020 class, especially if Beck is so day-one ready that he has a shot to immediately work as QB2 while playing baseball for Sully. Yes, the makeup of the chart is pretty young, and you’d likely have a guy transfer before too long, but that’s simply the reality of college football these days. QBs don’t sit and waste their eligibility. On a different topic, I think we’ve got to change our perception and general fear of guys leaving the team as it becomes more common.
Anyway, these are my long-winded thoughts on taking two QBs in 2020. Either way it works out, I trust Dan and his ability to manage a QB room for obvious reasons.
You can follow 157Gale on Twitter @157Gale.
(Above Photo From: Rivals)