It was the spring game, and Florida was missing some elite defensive backs. The schemes were also pretty simple and the pass rush was not up to SEC standards. But the Gators might have a legitimate quarterback in Feleipe Franks, who could help lead them back to division supremacy if things fall the right way.
Franks, a former high four-star prospect who has an unquestionably strong arm but has struggled with accuracy during his time in Gainesville, finished 13 of 18 passing for 327 yards and four touchdowns in Florida’s spring game this past weekend.
Coach Dan Mullen is something of a quarterback whisperer, helping develop Dak Prescott at Mississippi State and making Nick Fitzgerald, who really struggled throwing the football, one of the more dynamic dual-threat quarterbacks in college football.
Now he’s working with Franks, and the development seems remarkable. Last season, Franks put up impressive numbers for the Gators, with 2,457 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and six interceptions, but Florida fans were never really thrilled with how he ran the offense. A completion percentage of just better than 58 percent can cause that consternation.
But now the Gators might be excited for Franks, who has a wealth of talented players to throw the ball to and a head coach who is known for improving quarterback play and running an offense that suits Florida’s personnel.
Ohio State transfer and former five-star prospect Trevon Grimes had a monster game with four catches for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Freddie Swain, Tyrie Cleveland, Kadarius Toney and others will give Franks a lot of weapons.
We ask Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell if he now believes in Franks and whether his leadership and Florida’s offense could propel the Gators back to the top of the SEC East?
“To the top of the SEC East? No, not yet, because Georgia is too strong, but the Gators will push the Bulldogs and a big reason is Franks. He’s always had tremendous ability and a cannon arm, but his field vision and decision making have been questionable at times. Under Mullen, that’s improving and he'll have a big year. Yes, I believe in Franks – and I wouldn’t have said that last season.”