Florida's quarterback room has been a revolving door over the last decade or so since the Tim Tebow days. John Brantley, Jacoby Brissett, Jeff Driskel, Tyler Murphy, Skyler Mornhinweg, Treon Harris, Will Grier, Luke Del Rio, Austin Appleby, Feleipe Franks and Malik Zaire have all started a game since 2010. Even after listing those names, I feel like I forgot some.
UF quarterback Kyle Trask changed that last season. He brought elite passing and accuracy under center in Gainesville. He threw more touchdowns than anyone in college football and was second in passing yards only to Alabama's Mac Jones.
Alas, the Texas Gunslinger's career is over in Gainesville. He's ready to back up Tom Brady on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That means Florida Gators fans can (and have already) look forward to the man expected to take over for Trask: Emory Jones.
Emory Jones: Florida's Speedy QB
Gators quarterback Emory Jones came to Florida as a heralded dual-threat four-star recruit from Heard County High School in Franklin, Georgia. He was in the same class as Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields.
After years of waiting and learning as a back-up, Jones is expected to lead UF head coach Dan Mullen's offense. While his body of work has been small over the last two seasons, the redshirt junior has flashed promise beyond his 613 career passing yards and 514 rushing yards.
"I've just been growing, just watching them just do everything the way, like Kyle [Trask] conducts himself, like even just walking around the facility, the way he carries himself," Jones told Sports Illustrated. "He's just been helping me out a lot. So I feel like I'm ready."
For starters, he can flat-out fly:
Emory Jones with a 17-yard run on his appearance in the game pic.twitter.com/3SIPiY0l9Y
— libgator (@lib_gator) December 20, 2020
Mullen must be savoring at the chance to use Jones' wheels on a full-time basis. Remember that before he got to Florida, he developed Dak Prescott at Mississippi State, Tim Tebow at Florida and Alex Smith at Utah. This is Mullen's chance to finally run his offense around a dual-threat guy.
His game doesn't stop on the ground.
Jones has shown that he can make NFL-level throws when given the chance. Against Kentucky in 2020, he fired a 20-yard strike to Rick Wells. He threw a 30-yard pass against Ole Miss, too. In the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma, he added eight passes for 86 yards and another 60 yards on the ground.
Emory Jones Passing
Emory Jones stands tall in the pocket and delivers a 20 yard strike to Rick Wells pic.twitter.com/A1Mzm81GgC
— libgator (@lib_gator) November 28, 2020
Pro Football Focus is high on him, too, saying he's got an "NFL arm" and an "NFL release."
It's no secret that Emory Jones' speed is his calling, but don't sleep on his arm.
He's faster than the 4.67 40-yard dash he ran in high school, per 247sports, and possesses a shiftiness to him that will create headaches for SEC defensive coordinators.
Jones is the clear favorite in a quarterback room that features guys like Anthony Richardson, Jalen Kitna and Carlos Del Rio-Wilson. He's got a new quarterbacks coach in Garrick McGee after Brian Johnson's departure for the NFL.
Emory Jones Heisman Odds
— Florida Gators Football (@GatorsFB) August 14, 2021
Florida quarterback Emory Jones isn't topping Heisman-favorite lists like Oklahoma's Spencer Rattler or Alabama's Bryce Young, but he's in the conversation.
According to Odds Shark, Jones has +2500 odds and CBS Sports lists him at 30-1 (+3000) odds. These chances put him in the middle tier of Heisman contenders. Although, as evidenced by Trask last season, we saw how a stellar campaign can earn an invite to New York City. Don't put it past the Gators' starting quarterback to surprise some people.
Sure, Emory has some massive shoes to fill. It's not easy following up a Heisman Trophy finalist. But if Mullen and the coaching staff can craft a game plan around his talent, the sky is the limit for Jones in Gainesville.
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