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Florida Football

State of the Quarterbacks: Del Rio's coming out party

July 1, 2020
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Though college football is in a state of flux due to the pandemic, preparations for the 2020 season must go on.

Since they are currently unable to work out with the Florida coaching staff, for the Gators’ three scholarship quarterbacks and two 2021 commitments, that means returning and training with their personal coaches that have worked with them over the years.

In this five-part series, Inside The Gators caught up with each of the five quarterbacks’ personal coaches to discuss their off-season work, what they expect from their pupils this season, their outlooks for the future, and more.

We begin today with Carlos Del Rio‍.

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This week has been somewhat of a coming-out party for Florida quarterback commit Carlos Del Rio.

Entering Monday's annual Elite11 Showcase, the Loganville (Ga.) Grayson 6-foot-3, 205-pounder was the No. 213 ranked prospect in the nation according to the 247 Sports Composite – down 42 spots from his high ranking of No. 179 back in May.

However, in a camp/classroom setting which included the likes of six five-star signal-callers - Caleb Williams (No. 4 overall in the Class of 2021), Sam Huard (No. 9), Brock Vandagriff (No. 13), JJ McCarthy (No. 14), Kyle McCord (No. 24), and Tyler Buchner (No. 28) – it was Del Rio who was a top overall performer in two of the three days.

A controversial decision to base 75% of the final grade on junior season film rather than camp performance may have kept him from gaining the recognition he rightfully earned, but it didn't take away from what Del Rio was able to accomplish.


“It was definitely a great experience,” Del Rio said with a hard to hide smile on his face so big that it could be detected over the phone. “I'm thankful that I got to showcase my talent against all the talent that was here. I came in here cool, calm, and collected and I think I most definitely stood out mentally and physically.”

For most football players growing up the dream from the onset is to get drafted, but for a quarterback, the early pinnacle of success is being invited to the Elite11.

“I was excited about getting invited, and once we got there, it was different. It wasn't all football, they talked to us about being leaders. That's one thing that stood out to me that I hadn't thought about as much before. As a quarterback, I have a voice, I should use it to lead more in the community to make an impact, not just on my football team.”

Del Rio didn't just show up at Elite11 in order to be counted, before attending the event he spent time training under the guidance of quarterback guru Sean McEvoy out of Atlanta's Quarterback Takeover.

STATE OF THE QUARTERBACKS

“He helped me a lot,” Del Rio said of his time with McEvoy. “He helped me work on the drills he knew I would be doing this week. We worked on different throws, on ball placement. He played a big part in how I performed.”

McEvoy, who has worked with Del Rio for several years now, said that he is beginning to see it all come together for his star pupil.

“I've been fortunate enough to work with him since he was in eighth grade, so he is a kid I have really gotten to know well over the last four to four and a half years,” said McEvoy. “Starting out we were working on his early development, developing a quicker arm path for his throws, creating more power in his throws, being able to drive the ball, being more confident in his throws down the field. Now, it's more fine-tuning. For him it is about being consistent on each throw, making sure you're getting his best throw every time he throws the ball. The physical skill set is there, that has to do more with his mental approach. That is what we have been focusing on, making sure we find that consistency when he’s asked to make different throws.”

Though Del Rio may have caught the rest of the world off-guard with his performance this week, McEvoy said he has always believed that he was tutoring potentially one of the top quarterbacks in the country.

“Just through doing four or five of the Elite11 regionals a year, I've gotten to see most of the guys first hand,” explained McEvoy. “I probably know the Georgia guys the best. Carlos, Aaron McLaughlin, Brock Vandagriff, I train Drake Maye in Charlotte every Sunday, Garrett Nussmeier. Most of them I've worked with personally or I've seen them live here and there.

“To be honest with you, in the things that he is able to control, I think Carlos is right there with all of the top guys. Obviously there's a bias involved when you work with some of these guys more closely, but I think Carlos [Del Rio] and Aaron [McLaughlin] are the top two quarterbacks in the state and two of the best in the south. That's no slight to someone like Vandagriff and what he has been able to accomplish, but a lot of the rankings when it comes to quarterbacks are based on numbers and they aren't all playing in the same offenses or against equal competition. You look at what Carlos has done when he was at McEachern and now Grayson, where they aren't as pass-happy, but they play outstanding competition each week and then project that to what he would be able to do against Class A private school competition and that's where you start to see the big differences in rankings. There is a reason Florida had Carlos so high, they scouted his potential more than they looked at the numbers.”

Now that McEvoy and Quincy Avery have helped build a base, it is up to the Florida coaches to take Del Rio to the next level.

“I think at this point it's going to be all about processing the game at the next level,” said McEvoy. “It's a matter of getting him involved in their offense and setting an expectation for him. He has all the physical tools, but now he has to kick it up another notch at the next level. He has the ability to make all the throws and he can get it done with his feet when he has to, now the question is can he make the transition to getting it done week in and week out in the SEC against the type of competition he will be facing and keep developing mentally and becoming a leader.”

Without question, when it comes to the recruiting process Del Rio has leadership qualities that helps draw other prospects to him.

Heading into this cycle it was thought that having him committed so early on would pay significant dividends as he attended recruiting events and camped over the spring and summer. However, Covid-19 had other ideas, and Florida and Del Rio have yet to be able to take full advantage of his recruiting abilities.

A quick check of social media validates Del Rio's rising stature. This newfound celebrity may work to give him an even higher profile along the recruiting trail - and that is something he is going to use to his advantage.

“I've been trying to work on Phil Mafah to get him to flip from Clemson,” said Del Rio. “I'm talking to some receivers, I want to get some of these quick ones over here to Florida and they got to see me showcase my talents and that I am definitely one of the top quarterbacks in the country. They want to play with a quarterback who can get them the ball. I'm working on some, but I don't know if they want me to put their name out there. I'm also working on recruiting some [offensive] linemen.”

Though he hasn't been able to step foot on campus since February's Jr. Day, Del Rio said that he stays in continuous contact with Florida quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson.

“Communication with coach Johnson has been great,” said Del Rio. “He's been amazing. Actually, while I was at the camp he would text me to see how I was doing, seeing that I stayed focused. Encouraging me. I let him know how I was doing and he told me how proud he was of me and to keep working like I did to get here. Go out and represent the Florida Gators and show them what I'm all about.”

State of the Quarterbacks: Del Rio's coming out party

3,538 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by Pigator314
Pigator314
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I was watching his hudl film the other day thinking just how underrated Del Rio is. The guy can move too. We are set up for a very deep QB room in the future when Emory Jones, Anthony Richardson, and Carlos Del Rio are on campus together.
UFgator52-20
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He has been underrated.

Do we have to worry about Georgia coming after him?
Graylon
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If we could just keep the receivers in the state
Bd489
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I can't see why he would want to go there in the same class a vandergriff. Be the gem of the Florida qb class or be a second top qb at Georgia. I would think Mullen's offense will fit him better. Kid seems loyal and like he wants to be a Gator! So for once, not worried about Georgia.
Pigator314
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I'm more worried about Bama going after Del Rio. They don't have a QB committed for the 2021 class. However, very few have a track record of developing QBs as good as Mullen, so we very well may hang on to Del Rio.
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