While they’ve only known each other since early 2019, Florida quarterback Emory Jones and 2021 four-star quarterback commit Carlos Del Rio have built a strong rapport with one another.
They’re both from Georgia and share a private quarterback coach, so they’ve worked out together “plenty of times,” Del Rio said.
“It’s like a big brother, little brother type of relationship,” he said. “I can hit him up at any time for football or outside of football. We can hang out if we ever wanted to, and we plan to. Lately, we’ve been texting, going back and forth, but, sooner or later, we’re going to hang out together and do something as soon as everything is over.”
With UF’s classes moved online indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jones is back home in LaGrange, Georgia, located in the west central portion of the state. Over the past few weeks, Del Rio reached out to Jones several times to find out if he wanted to throw together. Each time, something popped up that prevented that from happening.
The scheduling finally aligned last week. Del Rio contacted Jones on Thursday, and Jones told him that he wanted to throw with him. They went to a field in the Atlanta area with a bunch of college and high school receivers on Saturday and threw different routes and worked on their footwork, Del Rio said.
The opportunity to work with a college quarterback and a future teammate was a valuable experience for Del Rio, he said. It was essentially a chance for him to indirectly practice with the Gators without being enrolled.
“It’s very beneficial because they can teach you like exactly what your future coach and your future players will want as far as play style, ball placement, drop steps, footwork, mechanics,” he said.
“He was teaching me some concepts that they do in their playbook, so I can start getting used to it now.”
One of the biggest storylines surrounding this long – and indefinite – offseason is whether Jones can challenge Kyle Trask for the starting job next season. While that is a long way from being determined, Jones threw the ball well on Saturday, Del Rio said.
“He looked great, he said. “He looked very stable. He looked like he knew what he was doing. He came out there to work on specific things, and, by the time that we got done working, as he worked on those specific things, they got better throughout the day, and he definitely improved them.”
Despite school being closed due to the pandemic, Del Rio is remaining active. He runs a mile every day and does workouts with his dad or his stepbrother. He also likes to ride his bicycle and play basketball.
None of it, though, will likely prove as useful as working out with Jones. In about a year, they’ll be able to do so every day as Gator teammates.