Florida Gators’ Emory Jones never really thought about transferring

“When I first got here, I was expecting to come in and play a lot. But... reality hit.”
MONICA HERNDON   |   TimesQuarterback Emory Jones (14) carries during a drill at Florida Gators spring football practice on March 16, 2018, at Sanders Practice Fields in Gainesville, Fla.
MONICA HERNDON | TimesQuarterback Emory Jones (14) carries during a drill at Florida Gators spring football practice on March 16, 2018, at Sanders Practice Fields in Gainesville, Fla.
Published March 28

GAINESVILLE — While some high-profile quarterbacks are transferring early (See: Fields, Justin), the Florida Gators’ Emory Jones said he never really considered leaving after four games of limited action during his true freshman season.

“Nah, not really because Coach Mullen talked to me, and he was like it’s all about development with me,” Jones said after Thursday night’s scrimmage. “So, I mean, I just try to stay in the film room try to get better.”

Jones has looked significantly better this spring than he did a year ago, when he was a blue-chip early enrollee still adjusting to college. Like most top recruits, he thought he’d play immediately.

That didn’t really happen, although the NCAA’s new redshirt rule allowed him to appear in four games. He finished 12-of-16 for 125 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 18 times for another 41 yards.

“When I first got here, I was expecting to come in and play a lot,” Jones said. “But I mean, reality hit, and I just had to just go from there and just learn so I could come back and try to compete for a job this year.”

While coach Dan Mullen has said ever position —including quarterback — is open to competition, Jones still has a lot of ground to make up on incumbent Feleipe Franks.

The gap was evident Thursday night at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Franks finished 9-of-14 for 138 yards, one touchdown pass, one touchdown rush and an interception. Jones was 5-of-16 for 79 yards and one score, although he also broke off a pair of 20-yard rushes. Both of them (and Kyle Trask) split time with the first-team and second-team offenses.

Jones said Mullen hasn’t set a timeline on his development; his coach just told him that last year he wasn’t ready to be the starter.

Jones said he’s fine with that. But what if his development means sitting behind Franks for another year?

“It’s going to be what it is,” Jones said. “I feel like we’ve all got a shot to be the starter. We’re all out here competing for the starting job.”

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