Florida Football: Feleipe Franks gets the nod for the Gators

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 15: Feleipe Franks
GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 15: Feleipe Franks /

Earlier this week, we speculated about who would be the Florida Gators’ starting quarterback, and now we have our answer.

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It has been a tumultuous week for the Florida football program with players being suspended left and right. But on Wednesday, Jim McElwain reportedly named redshirt freshman  Feleipe Franks the starting quarterback for Saturday’s season opener against Michigan, according to Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman.

Franks signed with the Gators in the 2016 class as the no. 5 pro style quarterback in the country, and the no. 57 player overall according to 247sports’ composite rankings. Franks becomes the fifth quarterback from the 2016 recruiting class that will be a starting quarterback in the SEC this season.

Jalen Hurts and Jacob Eason didn’t start the season opener last season, but started every other game of the season for the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs. Jake Bentley and Shea Patterson each finished the season as the starter, and both come into 2017 with a lot of hype.

And there could be a sixth member of this class if Jarrett Guarantano wins the Tennessee quarterback job, although Butch Jones has yet to name a starter for the season opener against Georgia Tech.

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Franks beat out Luke Del Rio, who started six games and led Florida to a 5-1 record last season before getting injured, and Malik Zaire, a grad transfer from Notre Dame.

Like I said in the story I wrote earlier this week about the Florida quarterback competition, Franks started this competition as the the clear number three in the pecking order. So the fact that he was named the starter means he truly earned the job.

Zaire seemed like the logical choice for starting quarterback since he did leave a major FBS program to come play for the Gators. But I would imagine with his running ability, he’ll still get plenty of opportunities to play.

There is still a chance that all three quarterbacks get into this game, which could put McElwain and the Florida football team in a peculiar position. With a redshirt freshman as the starter, it will be interesting to see how he manages his quarterbacks.

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If Franks throws an interception or makes a mental mistake, how long does McElwain stay with him? If you take him out, you may risk permanently ruining the freshman signal-caller’s psyche.