Joe Burrow could succeed at Florida where other transfer QBs have failed before

Joe Burrow

Former Ohio State quarterback Joe Burrow is not your normal graduate transfer.

He has two years of eligibility remaining.

Go get him, Dan Mullen.

When I first heard reporters speculating that Florida could be a contender for Burrow, I was less than thrilled.

At some point, the Gators have to develop quarterbacks.

Florida brought in two graduate transfers the last two years — for one season only — in Austin Appleby (Purdue) and Malik Zaire (Notre Dame).

Neither were memorable.

Florida’s offense has been pitiful for the large majority of the nine seasons since Mullen left the Gators as offensive coordinator to take over at Mississippi State.

Passing on the chance to land Burrow could prove costly.

Mullen said earlier this week during a fan gathering in Lakeland that he didn’t think UF would take a grad transfer, but did add the caveat “right now.”

Let’s examine where Florida is right now at quarterback.

  • Projected starter Feleipe Franks still looks like a converted move-tight end playing quarterback. Yes, he might have been poorly coached for two years under the former staff led by coach Jim McElwain, but he didn’t do much in the spring game to lessen concerns. Franks just doesn’t seem to have a feel for playing quarterback at this level as he enters his redshirt sophomore season. He threw nine touchdowns and eight interceptions last season, completing 54.6 percent of his passes.
  • Top backup Kyle Trask has never taken a collegiate snap in two years on campus and barely played in high school. There is a natural ability there, but he is so inexperienced. Trask did little in the spring game as well.
  • True freshman Emory Jones enrolled early to participate in spring, but seemed to build little buzz after being the gem of Mullen’s first recruiting class at UF. His running ability is impressive and his release and arm strength are a plus, as he showed in the spring game. Still, Jones is obviously undersized and could use a redshirt season.

Burrow has only thrown for 287 yards and two touchdowns in his college career. He redshirted in 2015 after signing with the Buckeyes as a consensus four-star prospect. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Burrow then backed up J.T. Barrett for two seasons. Burrow threw for 238 yards and two scores in Ohio State’s spring game, but appeared to be losing the race to fill Barrett’s void by sophomore Dwayne Haskins.

Burrow also threw three touchdowns in the 2017 spring game.

The key stat is that Burrow graduated in three years.

He could be in Mullen’s system for two seasons. That makes him a must-have. Despite his lack of stats, Burrow does have his fans.

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