With decisions being made across the country at the moment from quarterbacks as to where they will play in 2024, the Florida Gators and head coach Billy Napier received some big news Thursday afternoon, as redshirt junior Graham Mertz announced his return to Gainesville for next year.
When looking at the immediate impact of this decision, it’s clear that this is an impactful one when it comes to the Florida Gators in 2024, as Mertz was one of the SEC’s more underrated players at the position this past season. However, make no mistake, this decision is not only a win for Florida in 2024, but for beyond as well.
Graham Mertz return a win for Florida in 2024 & beyond
A decision that likely secures Florida’s starting quarterback for 2024, Mertz, as mentioned above, was one of the SEC’s more underrated quarterbacks this past season after transferring to Florida from Wisconsin.
Across 11 games, Mertz led the entire SEC with a 72.9 CMP%, while also throwing for 2,903 yards and 20 touchdowns, both of which also ranked Top 10 in the conference, as well as with a 157.8 passing efficiency rating. Mertz also made noteworthy strides in cutting down on turnovers only throwing three interceptions, which he compiled double-digits in the last two seasons while with Wisconsin.
An all-around breakout season for Mertz, it’s clear why this decision is a win for Florida entering 2024, as it gives the Gators an experienced and proven quarterback as they look ahead to what is a tough schedule next fall.
However, when taking an even further look ahead, this decision for Mertz could also be a big win for Florida beyond 2024 when it comes to the quarterback position.
The Gators currently have one of the nation’s best recruiting classes for the 2024 cycle, with one of the premier players in that class being highly-touted quarterback recruit DJ Lagway.
Currently the highest-rated commit in Florida’s 2024 class, Lagway is one of the nation’s top quarterbacks in the cycle, and is rated as a five-star prospect out of Willis High School in Texas. A talented dual-threat prospect at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, Lagway, should he end up signing with Florida, would be one of the highest-ranked quarterbacks to ever sign with the Gators, and is likely to be a major impact player at the position in Gainesville at some point.
Until then however, Lagway will likely sit for a year as a true freshman to gain experience under Mertz in 2024 for what is certain to be a win-win for the Gators.