GAINESVILLE — The Gators have their starting quarterback.
It’s not Kyle Trask.
Florida also has its quarterback of the future. That’s not Trask, either.
Between Feleipe Franks’ breakout 2018 and Emory Jones’ progress and potential, it’s hard to see a path to playing time for Trask. Yet there he stood, alone at a table last week at UF’s media day, still wearing orange and blue, even though he could have left several times by now.
“I know the transfer portal’s a big thing right now in college football,” Trask said.
Hundreds of players have entered it across the country, including at least nine from his own team. But Trask said he never really considered joining them, despite the transience of his position.
Of the 71 Division I-A pro-style quarterback signees ranked higher than Trask in the 2016 recruiting class, more have quit or transferred (39) than have stuck it out (32).
That figure doesn’t fully convey Trask’s allegiance to UF. Only three of the 32 who stayed have done so without ever starting a game there.
“He can play anywhere in the country,” Franks said.
Although Franks was talking specifically about Trask’s abilities, the broader point is true. Trask could have left to play anywhere that needs a 6-foot-4, athletic passer.
So why is Trask still here?
Partly because loyalty is all he seems to know.
At Texas’ Manvel High, Trask was stuck as a backup behind the dynamic D’Eriq King, who now stars at Houston. The limited playing time could have hindered his chances of earning a college scholarship, but Trask still didn’t transfer.
If he didn’t leave that situation, why would he want to bolt this one — especially when he has unfinished business at UF?
“I just feel like there are still opportunities here,” Trask said. “I’ve been pretty unfortunate, I feel like, with injuries.”
The first big one was a broken foot before the 2017 opener against Michigan. Although the injury sidelined him all season, even a healthy Trask might have been too raw to play as a redshirt freshman.
The most devastating one happened last year. Trask saw his most meaningful action (and threw his first career touchdown pass) after Franks was benched against Missouri. The quarterback competition Trask lost in the preseason seemed at least somewhat open again heading into the next week against South Carolina.
Until Trask suffered another season-ending injury during practice. If he hadn’t landed wrong on his foot…
“You never know,” Trask said.
Sticking around will help Trask get a full opportunity to see what he can do when healthy.
Trask has one other reason for refusing to bolt: his academics.
He’s two weeks away from graduating with a degree in sport management. After that, grad school (probably a master’s in the same concentration).
The program helped him get an internship at UF’s Mark Bostick Golf Course, where he learned the day-to-day operations necessary to keep the place running. That education will help him with his undecided post-football career, whenever and wherever that begins.
“People really dream about coming to a school like this,” Trask said. “I didn’t feel like it was right to leave.”
So for Trask, the question was never about why he would want to stay at UF.
Why would he want to go?