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McElwain names Feleipe Franks starting QB against Michigan

Ari Russell

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(Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)

While playing a cat and mouse game with Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh with regards to the depth chart for Saturday’s game against the Wolverines, Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain was seemingly keeping who will be the starting QB close to his vest until game time. On Wednesday, however McElwain changed his tune, naming redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks starting QB.

Franks won the job after a vigorous competition between Luke Del Rio and Notre Dame grad transfer Malik Zaire. Del Rio missed the spring due to injury and Franks who asserted himself during the Spring, clearly impressed the Gators’ caching staff.  Zaire, who transferred to Florida with hopes of winning the job, wasn’t expecting such a competitive run at the job.

McElwain explains why he’s going with Franks for Michigan via 247Sports:

“The big thing is the whole body of work from spring on,” McElwain said. “He deserves it.”

Left Tackle Martez Ivey explains his take:

“He’s more confident. He’s hard working now, more than he’s ever been since the competition came in with Malik Zaire,” left tackle Martez Ivey said. “He’s just been working hard and he’s just a whole different Feleipe Franks than last year.”

“He’s poised. He keeps his calm. He doesn’t get rattled, not that I’ve seen.”

This was part of a busy afternoon in Gainesville, as more suspensions were announced in connection with credit card scandal and other discipline that already has had 10 players, including star WR Antonio Callaway, missing the Wolverines game. This round involves the run game:

Scarlett ran for over 800 yards in 2016, and was expected to be the main back, as Florida’s season begins. And, with him unavailable, even more pressure will be on Franks to deliver early in this match-up.

It is also anticipated that last year’s on/off starter Luke Del Rio and Notre Dame transfer Malik Zaire may both play on Saturday.

Born in the Nation’s Capital, Washington D.C., Ari Russell watched the rise of the 1980’s Miami Hurricanes and knew that he had to be part of the “U” someday. After graduating from Coral Gables, Ari rose through the ranks of the former XM Satellite Radio and then Sirius/XM as college football executive producer. He later spent 2 seasons as the publisher of the website “Beyond U Sports” focusing on major college football/basketball. Ari brings a great perspective on everything Miami, including the Dolphins to F.F.I.

Florida Gators

Gators announced home and home series with Cal Friday

Florida Football Insiders

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Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators continued their philosophy of striking “home-and-home” deals with Power 5 opposition, when they announced on Friday that they will be doing so with the Cal-Berkley Bears out of the Pac-12 coming later in this decade.

The Gators made the announcement through their website and social media mid-day Friday that they will play Cal at home first and then travel to Berkeley the following year:

A.D. Scott Stricklin has broken up the long tradition that Florida would only play two home out of conference games in September and usually, against much lesser competition before entering SEC play. Stricklin has been very outspoken that in the age of the College Football Playoff, strength of schedule is emphasized and the selection committee holds schools responsible for not playing top-notch out of conference opponents, at least some of the time.

With that in mind, the Gators opened the 2019 season in Orlando against the Miami Hurricanes and won a sloppy game. And, they already have other Power 5 schools laid out to play home and away.

As we previously wrote, Florida will be playing the Texas Longhorns first in Gainesville in 2030 and then. return the game the following year in Austin.

Florida had previously announced last year that they will also play the Colorado Buffaloes out of the Pac-12, again with the first game in Gainesville in 2028 and then, returning it to Boulder the following season.

It’s interesting with Friday’s announcement that Stricklin and the football program are working backwards with the schedule. And, they will now play Cal before Colorado in September of 2026, and then will be opening on the Berkeley campus the following season.

Florida and Cal have only met two times, having played first in Gainesville in 1974 as the Gators wo 21 – 17 and then, they also met in Tampa to open the 1980 season with a Florida 41-13 blowout victory.

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Florida Gators

Second National Signing Day recap for top state schools

Jamil King

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

National Signing Day 2020 has come and gone, and several in state schools were able to improve their classes heading into spring ball. The University of Florida watched rival Georgia secure the number one overall class, but the Gators were still able to land the best class in the state with the number eight class overall.

The Gators officially signed former five-star receiver Justin Shorter from Penn State, and Florida stayed in the family today as well, Xzavier Henderson officially joined the Gators. He’s the ounger brother of  former DB C.J. Henderson.

Dan Mullen also able to dip into the state of Texas inking four-star DE Princely Umanmielen. It wasn’t all great news for the Gators, as they missed out on a few key guys, including losing out on arguably top state safety Avantae Williams to in state rival Miami. Overall it was a good cycle for the Gators both recruiting and in the transfer portal.

The Miami Hurricanes continued an impressive offseason on National Signing Day. The Canes made arguably the biggest move in the state by landing Williams and keeping him Florida. Williams became the highest rated Hurricane in the class and propelled the U to the number 13 spot.

Miami has the second-best class in the ACC behind Clemson. With an impressive offseason in the books, once again excitement will be in the air in Coral Gables. The question is: will they live up to it in year two for Manny Diaz?

Florida State and new coach Mike Norvell have been working hard to get this class rolling last minute. After a good early National Signing Day Norvell looked to keep the momentum going. The Noles took a big hit Wednesday though, with the loss of Venice four star WR, Malachi Wideman, who flipped to Tennessee.

The Noles came back from that by landing a handful of other recruits. They got the number six Juco running back La’Damian Webb, ass well as, Robert Scott, an offensive lineman and Corey Wren, an athlete/running back.

Replacing Cam Akers will be tough for Norvell and building the offensive line is a top priority. The former Memphis coach came in late like he did, yet he finishes with a decent class sitting at 22 on 24/7.

Now the work begins turning around the former powerhouse.

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