SARASOTA — He formally gets tossed into the NFL’s competitive cauldron at the upcoming rookie mini-camp, but warmth precedes all-out heat.
And to this point, Bucs second-round draftee Kyle Trask says, the warmth he has received from his newest peers has been overwhelming.
“I just feel very welcome already,” said the former Gators quarterback, who attended Friday evening’s Dick Vitale Gala (benefiting pediatric cancer research) at the Sarasota Ritz-Carlton with girlfriend Jade Caraway.
“I haven’t gotten the chance to meet anyone in person just yet, but I already feel welcome to the team just from their responses and messages over social media and things like that.”
Trask reaffirmed he was contacted by Tom Brady (via text message), who wanted to know when Trask was arriving in Tampa so the two possibly could get together. Others who reached out to him included tailback Leonard Fournette, via Instagram.
“Apparently he got my number, because all of the sudden, I got a text from Tom Brady,” Trask said. “I was kind of shook at first. It’s amazing, but at the end of the day, I’m doing whatever I can to help him and help this team win.”
Trask hedged when asked if he feels like he’ll be competing immediately for the No. 2 quarterback job (the Bucs have re-signed veteran reserves Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin). But his college coach indicated he has no doubt Trask, 23, will be ready whenever his opportunity arises.
“He’s a guy that obviously showed perseverance and an unbelievable work ethic in being prepared for his time,” said Gators coach Dan Mullen, who watched Trask throw a school single-season record 43 touchdown passes in 2020.
“Then you put him with a guy like Tom Brady, and you put him with a guy like Bruce Arians, to sit in that room and to learn, and you know what, I think he’s going to just soak it all in. He’s going to use that opportunity to improve and get better, and I think everybody in Tampa is going to see he’s going to be ready for when they call his number.”
Until then, Trask will assume a role to which he is accustomed. He was a career backup (to current Miami quarterback D’Eriq King) at Manvel (Texas) High, then spent his first three seasons in Gainesville in either a redshirt or reserve role before taking over — and flourishing — as a redshirt junior in 2019 after Feleipe Franks was injured.
He exits UF with a 17-5 record as a starter and 167.5 career passer rating.
“I’ve been a starter, I’ve been second string, I’ve been third string all throughout my career,” Trask said. “Now, we’ve got the greatest of all time up at the plate right now, so I’m just going to be ready for whatever opportunity I get.”
Contact Joey Knight at email@example.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.
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