Franz Beard: Thoughts of the Day



Since 1999, the Florida Gator have recruited 26 quarterbacks. There have been six 5-star, 14 4-star and six 3-star quarterbacks. There has been a Heisman Trophy winner (Tim Tebow) and one who won his Heisman somewhere else (Cam Newton). There has been one 4-year starter (Chris Leak), two All-Americans (Rex Grossman and Tim Tebow) and two who won national championships (Leak and Tebow), three if you count Newton. Twelve stuck it out for their UF careers, one (Gavin Dickey) changed sports (baseball) and 13 finished their careers elsewhere.

Here is a breakdown of all 26 quarterbacks the Gators have signed over the last 20 years.

1999: Rex Grossman (6-2, 205, Bloomington, IN South), 4-star; Chris Stephens (6-3, 205, Gainesville, FL Buchholz), 4-star
What Happened: Grossman redshirted in 1999 and then became the starter in 2000 when he made All-SEC. All-America and Heisman Trophy runner-up in 2001. Second team All-SEC in 2002. Grossman threw for 9,164 yards and 77 touchdowns in his 3-year UF career. Stephens redshirted in 1999 then transferred to North Carolina)

2000: Brock Berlin (6-2, 190, Shreveport, LA Evangel Christian), 5-star
What Happened: Berlin couldn’t beat out Grossman in either 2000 or 2001 so he transferred to Miami. In two years at Florida, Berlin threw for 653 yards and 11 touchdowns.

2001: Ingle Martin (6-3, 210, Nashville, TN Montgomery Bell Academy), 4-star
What Happened: Redshirted in 2001, backed up Rex Grossman in 2002 and started until Chris Leak took over in 2003. Transferred to Furman where he finished his career then later played for the Green Bay Packers. He threw for 750 yards and 3 TDs at Florida.

2002: Gavin Dickey (6-0, 190, Tallahassee, FL Lincoln), 4-star
What Happened: Backed up Chris Leak in 2003-04 and was on the team in 2005 but switched full time to baseball where he had a long career in the minors and is now an MLB scout. He threw for 127 yards and a TD in his career.

2003: Chris Leak (6-1, 205, Charlotte, NC Independence), 5-star; Justin Midgett (6-4, 198, Punta Gorda, FL Charlotte County), 4-star
What Happened: Leak promised a national championship before he left UF and he delivered in 2006. In 2003 he led Florida to an upset win over eventual national champ LSU in Baton Rouge, the Tigers only loss that year. Started every game from 2004-06. He threw for 11,213 yards and 88 touchdowns in his 4-year UF career.
Midgett never played a game at Florida and transferred to Eastern Illinois.

2004: None

2005: Josh Portis (6-3, 200, Woodland Hills, CA Taft), 4-star
What Happened: He backed up Chris Leak in 2005 but when Florida signed Tim Tebow, Portis transferred out. He played at California (PA) and Maryland after leaving UF.

2006: Tim Tebow (6-3, 225, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL Nease), 5-star
What Happened: He backed up Chris Leak but played a pivotal role in Florida’s 2006 national championship. He was 35-6 as the starter from 2007-09, leading the Gators to the 2008 national championship. He won the 2007 Heisman and was on the podium the next two years. He threw for 9,285 yards and 88 touchdowns, ran for 2,947 yards and 57 TDs.

2007: Cam Newton (6-5, 235, Atlanta, GA Westlake), 5-star; John Brantley IV (6-3, 220, Ocala, FL Trinity Catholic), 5-star; Bryan Waggener (6-4, 230, Glendora, CA Citrus Community College) 3 Star
What Happened: Newton was Tebow’s backup in 2007 but ran into academic and some off the field difficulties in 2008. He transferred to Blinn (junior) College in 2009 and then to Auburn in 2010 where he led the Tigers to the national championship and won the Heisman Trophy. At UF, he passed for 54 yards and ran for 113 and 4 TDs.
Brantley redshirted in 2007, then was Tebow’s backup in 2008-09. He was the UF starter in 2010-11. He threw for 4,750 yards and 30 TDs in his UF career.

2008: None

2009: Jordan Reed (6-3, 240, New London, CT), 3 Star
What Happened: He was Brantley’s backup in 2010 when he threw for 252 yards and 3 TDs while rushing for 328 and 5 TDs. He moved to TE in 2011 and caught 79 passes for 945 yards and 6 TDs over the next two seasons. He was first team All-SEC in 2012, then left early for the NFL.

2010: Trey Burton (6-3, 203, Venice, FL), 3 Star; Tyler Murphy (6-2, 190, Weathersfield, CT), 3 Star
What Happened: His inability to throw accurately made him a running QB who eventually transformed into a running back/wide receiver. In his Florida career he ran for 720 yards and 16 TDs, caught 107 passes for 976 yards and 4 TDs. As a QB he threw for 103 yards.
Murphy didn’t sniff the field until 2013 when Jeff Driskel broke his ankle. He played in seven games (6 starts) before he went down with an injury. He transferred to Boston College in 2014 and led the nation’s quarterbacks in rushing. At UF, Murphy threw for 1,216 yards and 6 TDs, ran for 61 yards and 3 TDs.

2011: Jeff Driskel (6-4, 235, Oviedo, FL Hagerty), 5 Star; Jacoby Brissett (6-5, 235, Palm Beach Gardens, FL Dwyer), 4 Star
What Happened: Driskel was a backup to Brantley in 2011 until he was injured. He was UF’s starter in 2012, leading the Gators to an 11-2 record and the Sugar Bowl. He broke an ankle in 2013 and was an ineffective starter for much of the 2014 season. He transferred to Louisiana Tech for his senior year, got drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals and finished 2018 as the Bengals starting QB. At UF, Driskel threw for 3,411 yards and 23 touchdowns, ran for 649 and 9 TDs.
Brissett picked up a couple of starts in 2011 when both Brantley and Driskel were injured. He was the backup to Driskel in 2012 then transferred to North Carolina State. He has played for the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts in the NFL. At UF he threw for 455 yards and 3 TDs and ran for 3 more scores.

2012: Skyler Mornhinweg (6-3, 215, Philadelphia, PA St. Joseph’s), 3 Star
What Happened: After a redshirt season in 2012, Mornhinweg got three starts at the end of 2013 when Driskel and Tyler Murphy were both injured and out for the season. He threw for 344 yards and 3 TDs. He transferred to Columbia where he finished his career.

2013: Max Staver (6-5, 238, Brentwood, TN Brentwood Academy), 3 Star
What Happened: Staver redshirted in 2013 and then transferred out. He finished his career at Houston Baptist.

2014: Will Grier (6-2, 190, Davidson, NC Davidson Country Day), 4 Star; Treon Harris (5-11, 180, Miami, FL Booker T. Washington), 4 Star
What Happened: After a redshirt in 2014, Grier looked like he would be a Heisman contender someday when he threw for 1,202 yards and 10 TDs in six games while rushing for 116 yards and 2 TDs. After six games he was suspended the rest of the season by the NCAA for using a banned substance. He transferred to West Virginia where he started two seasons and threw for 71 touchdowns.
When Harris was brought in it was to be a backup QB who would eventually move to wide receiver. He started seven games for UF in 2014 and 11 games in 2015, throwing or 2,695 yards and 18 TDs while rushing for 571 and 4 scores. He transferred to Tennessee State after the 2015 season, played QB for a year and then shifted to wide receiver.

2015: None

2016: Feleipe Franks (6-6, 210, Crawfordville, FL Wakulla), 4 Star; Kyle Trask (6-5, 211, Manvel, TX)
What Happened: Franks redshirted in 2016, had a somewhat disastrous redshirt freshman season in 2017 and then began to blossom when Dan Mullen became the head coach in 2018. He started all 13 games in 2018, leading the Gators to a 10-3 record and a Peach Bowl win over Michigan. He has thrown for 3,895 yards and 33 touchdowns while rushing for 370 and 7 TDs.
Trask redshirted in 2016, was injured in 2017 and got some backup snaps in 2018. He threw for 162 yards and a TD in 2018 before suffering a season-ending injury in November.

2017: Jake Allen (6-3, 200, Fort Lauderdale, FL St. Thomas Aquinas), 3 Star
What Happened: Allen redshirted in 2017, then transferred to Dartmouth after spring football in 2018.

2018: Emory Jones (6-3, 195, Franklin, GA Heard County), 4 Star
What Happened: Jones played in four games but still got a redshirt in 2018 when he threw for 125 yards and 2 TDs and ran for 41 yards.

2019: Jalon Jones (6-3, 205, Richmond, VA Henrico)

What Happened: Early enrollee on campus for 2019 spring football.


There is no secret what it will take for Florida (12-9, 4-4 SEC) to knock off Auburn (15-6, 4-4 SEC) tonight at Auburn Arena (9 p.m., ESPNU). To avoid dipping below .500 in SEC play, the Gators have to turn in perhaps their best effort of the season defending the 3-ball because Auburn is a grip it and rip it team that seems to be in launch mode the moment the ball crosses the midcourt line. Led by Bruce Brown (17.1 points, 41.3% on 3-pointers) and Jared Harper (15.5 points, 39% on 3-pointers), Auburn is hitting 37.5% on 3-pointers. With center Austin Wiley (10.8 points, 6.1 rebounds) sidelined with a high ankle sprain, Auburn lacks an inside game so Brown and Harper have been supplying the offense with their long range bombing.

This is one game in which the Gators won’t be decidedly smaller so they’ll be able to play Kevarrius Hayes virtually in a 1-man zone in the paint while the other four guard the perimeter. Florida comes into the game allowing only 31.5% on opponents’ 3-point shots. The strategy tonight is fairly simple: Hold Auburn well below it’s norm while getting KeVaughn Allen and Noah Locke cranked up from the outside. In Florida’s last three wins, Allen and Locke have combined to hit 27-53 from the 3-point line. In the last two losses, the two have combined to hit 6-28.

Tonight’s SEC games
FLORIDA (12-9, 4-4 SEC) at Auburn (15-6, 4-4 SEC)
Missouri (11-9, 2-6 SEC) at #1 Tennessee (20-1, 8-0 SEC)
South Carolina (11-10, 6-2 SEC) at #5 Kentucky (18-3, 7-1 SEC)
Vanderbilt (9-12, 0-8 SEC) at Arkansas (13-8, 4-4 SEC)

Wednesday’s SEC games
#21 LSU (17-4, 7-1 SEC) at Mississippi State (16-5, 4-4 SEC)
Texas A&M (8-12, 1-7 SEC) at Ole Miss (14-7, 4-4 SEC)
Georgia (10-11, 1-7 SEC) at Alabama (13-8, 4-4 SEC)


Speaking out about the NCAA leveling a bowl sanction on Missouri football, Paul Finebaum had a few choice words while speaking on WJOX in Birmingham:

“You have to cooperate because it is part of the code of the NCAA but I think when it comes down to it, you should only cooperate so much. What I mean by that: the NCAA enforcement staff are really about as dumb as a ton bag of mulch. I mean, these guys could not find their way to the front of a Walmart if you dropped them off.”

SEC FOOTBALL STUFF: Alabama reserve defensive back Kyriq McDonald and long snapper Scott Meyer have entered their names in the NCAA transfer portal … 4-star offensive lineman Darius Washington (6-4, 285, Pensacola, FL West Florida Tech) has decommitted from Mississippi State … Auburn has hired Levorn Harbin from Louisiana-Lafayette to become the director of recruiting … Arkansas offensive analyst G.J. Kinne is leaving for a job on the offensive staff of the Philadelphia Eagles … Missouri lost a defensive end commitment Monday when 3-star Arvell Ferguson (6-5, 215, St. Louis, MO Kirkwood) announced he is heading to Garden City Community College … Auburn defensive end Nick Coe has his right wrist in a cast and is unlikely to participate in spring football. Coe had 13.5 tackles for loss and 7 sacks for the Tigers in 2018 … Defensive tackle Eddie Zinn-Turner, a 6-1, 300-pounder, is leaving Marist for Vanderbilt as a graduate transfer

RANDOM THOUGHTS: The good news about Florida’s basketball game at Auburn tonight is that we won’t have to listen to Beth Mowins and her fingernails down a chalkboard voice. Roy Philpott and Daymeon Fishback will have the call on ESPNU … Los Angeles Rams QB coach Zac Taylor is the new head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals … New England Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores is the new head coach of the Miami Dolphins … Sunday night’s Super Bowl drew the lowest viewership of any Super Bowl since 2007 … Tennessee remained #1 in both the AP and Coaches basketball polls while Kentucky moved up to #5 in both polls. LSU dropped two spots to #21 in the AP poll while Mississippi State dropped out completely. LSU is #22 in the Coaches poll with Mississippi State #21.