Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Sports

Graduate transfer Austin Appleby to compete for Florida's QB job

Florida's 2016 quarterback competition could be getting a boost from a graduate transfer.

Austin Appleby plans to transfer from Purdue to UF, according to a report Monday from Gold and Black, a Rivals website that covers Purdue. The Gators have not announced the move. Because Appleby graduated in December, he has the freedom to switch schools without sitting out a year. That means he could compete for the Gators' starting job this fall.

Appleby is a 6-foot-5, 239-pound passer from North Canton, Ohio, and was an Elite 11 finalist in high school. The former three-star recruit played in 17 games (11 starts) over three seasons at Purdue, throwing 19 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. He completed 55.3 percent of his passes with a 108.4 rating with the Boilermakers but fell behind redshirt freshman David Blough on the depth chart in September.

UF has cycled through quarterbacks since Tim Tebow left for the NFL. Will Grier appeared to be the long-term solution but earned a one-year NCAA suspension for a failed drug test, then decided to pursue a transfer.

Treon Harris struggled after Grier's suspension. The sophomore completed 50.6 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and six interceptions. Harris was 44-of-100 over UF's final four games.

Luke Del Rio will also be expected to compete for the starting job. Del Rio — the son of Raiders coach Jack Del Rio — sat out this season after transferring from Oregon State.

TREADWELL DECLARES: Mississippi receiver Laquon Treadwell is heading to the NFL. So is left tackle Laremy Tunsil. Both players declared for the draft three days after starring in the team's emphatic Sugar Bowl win over Oklahoma State. Treadwell caught three touchdownss and Tunsil scored the only touchdown of his career on a trick play, catching a lateral and running for a 2-yard score. Both are widely considered first-round picks three years after being among the nation's top recruits.

Also declaring for the draft: Arkansas All-America tight end Hunter Henry, a projected first- or second-round pick; Stanford tight end Austin Hooper, who had two years of eligibility left; Notre Dame cornerback KeiVarae Russell, a senior who could have petitioned the NCAA for another year of eligibility; and Oregon wide receiver Bralon Addison.

OBITUARY: Former Clemson and Citadel coach Jimmy "Red" Parker, who continued coaching at the high school level until retiring last month, died in Benton, Ark. He was 82.

ALABAMA: Defensive back Tony Brown remains suspended after he was sent home from the Cotton Bowl last week for violating team rules, coach Nick Saban said.

CLEMSON: Coach Dabo Swinney said he is confident All-American Shaq Lawson will play in the national title game against Alabama after the defensive end missed most of the team's semifinal victory with a knee injury.

OREGON: Defensive coordinator Don Pellum will move back to linebackers coach, head coach Mark Helfrich announced.

SOUTH CAROLINA: New coach Will Muschamp hired Kurt Roper as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Roper, a former UF assistant, spent last season as an assistant for the Browns.

TENNESSEE: Larry Scott, who served as Miami's interim head coach for the final six games this season, agreed in principle to become the Vols' tight ends coach. Scott replaces Mark Elder, now the head coach at Eastern Kentucky.

TEXAS A&M: Quarterback Trevor Knight has chosen to use his final year of NCAA eligibility to play with the Aggies after graduating from the Oklahoma. Knight went to high school in San Antonio, Texas, before enrolling at Oklahoma and redshirting in 2012.

UTAH: Defensive coordinator John Pease is retiring. Pease, 72, came out of retirement and returned to the program before the 2015 season. Assistant coach Morgan Scalley was promoted to defensive coordinator.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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