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The Gators’ 2020 quarterback picture became a bit clearer on Sunday afternoon when redshirt junior Feleipe Franks announced on Instagram that he will not return to the program after this season.
“I plan on exploring my options of entering the NFL Draft or playing my final year elsewhere,” his message said in part. “Thank you everybody for believing in me, especially all my teammates I’ve played with here.
“It has been my dream to play at the University of Florida, to play for a top program and contribute to winning games. I have been so fortunate to meet as many amazing people as I have while being here. Coaches, players, and fans as well. My heart will always be a part of the Gator family.”
Franks will graduate from UF in less than two weeks, so he’ll be immediately eligible at his new school should he decide to go the transfer route.
He arrived at Florida in the spring of 2016 as a highly coveted prospect out of Crawfordville in the Florida panhandle. After a redshirt season, he emerged as UF’s starting quarterback in 2017. He struggled mightily that season and drew a lot of criticism from fans. However, he changed the narrative about himself following a strong finish to his first season under Dan Mullen in 2018. He completed 58.4 percent of his passes for 2,457 yards and 24 touchdowns and led the Gators to 10 wins and a Peach Bowl victory over Michigan.
As he entered his second year working with Mullen, some expected him to take another huge leap this season and become one of the SEC’s top quarterbacks. Unfortunately, he was given a tough break. Late in the third quarter of Florida’s game at Kentucky on Sept. 14, he dislocated his right ankle while trying to convert a fourth down.
With Kyle Trask’s strong play this season and the continued development of redshirt freshman Emory Jones, the quarterback battle was shaping up to be highly competitive and fascinating. Trask announced last week that he does not plan to turn pro or transfer after the season.
A few weeks ago, Mullen said that he wasn’t sure if Franks would be able to participate in spring practices. Rather than facing an uphill battle in the fall with Trask and Jones having a leg up, he chose to continue his career elsewhere.
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