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Is Florida Gators’ Kyle Trask the SEC’s top returning quarterback?

With Georgia’s Jake Fromm entering the NFL draft, Kyle Trask looks like the SEC’s top passer for 2020.
Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) throws during the first half of the Orange Bowl against Virginia on Dec. 30 in Miami Gardens. [BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP]
Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) throws during the first half of the Orange Bowl against Virginia on Dec. 30 in Miami Gardens. [BRYNN ANDERSON | AP]
Published Jan. 9
Updated Jan. 9

Georgia’s Jake Fromm became the latest SEC quarterback to announce that he’s leaving school early to enter the NFL draft when he declared for the draft Wednesday. His proclamation came two days after Alabama star Tua Tagovailoa announced his intention to turn pro, too.

Even with a hip injury, Tagovailoa will likely be a top-10 pick. Opinions are much more mixed with Fromm. We’ll get to the draft (and Bucs) discussion another time. But today, let’s focus on their departures from the college perspective:

Does this mean Florida’s Kyle Trask is the top returning quarterback in the SEC?

Related: 11 things to know about Florida Gators quarterbacks Kyle Trask, Emory Jones

The field has narrowed thanks to the draft. Fromm and Tagovailoa are both gone. Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow will be playing in his final LSU game Monday before becoming a top pick (if not the top pick). That gets rid of three of the SEC’s top four leaders in passing touchdowns. The one remaining? Kyle Trask (who threw 25 this season).

The departures also wipe away three of the SEC’s top five quarterbacks in passing yards and efficiency. The only returning player who also ranked in the top five in the SEC in both of those categories? Kyle Trask, whose efficiency (156.09) was No. 15 in the country. Trask also had the highest completion percentage (66.9) of any SEC returning starter.

Not every number or argument favors Trask. Tennessee’s Jarrett Guarantano (assuming he returns) averaged slightly more yards per attempt (8.4 to Trask’s 8.3), although Guarantano’s completion percentage was almost 8 points lower, and he threw fewer touchdown passes and more interceptions.

Auburn quarterback Bo Nix runs against Minnesota during the second half of the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [CHRIS O'MEARA | AP]

Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond rushed for 500 yards and eight touchdowns under coach Jimbo Fisher. Auburn’s Bo Nix progressed over his true freshman season and showed plenty of promise, including an Iron Bowl triumph over Alabama and a win over Pac-12 champ Oregon in his debut. And Terry Wilson should be back after leading Kentucky to a historic year in 2018 (including a win at UF), but sustaining a season-ending knee injury in his second game this season.

Related: Why backup quarterback Kyle Trask didn’t leave the Florida Gators

There are also a lot of unknowns on other rosters, including what happens at ’Bama and how the transfer portal could affect competitions.

But as of now, Fromm’s departure has rippled into another remarkable step in Trask’s crazy college career. A year ago at this time, Trask was still a two-star prospect who hadn’t started since his freshman year in high school and had yet to see any meaningful action in college.

Now he might be the best returning quarterback in the best conference in the country.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow holds the national championship trophy as safety Grant Delpit looks on after the Tigers beat Clemson 42-25 on Jan. 13 in New Orleans. [GERALD HERBERT  |  AP]
    The LSU Tigers faced five top-seven defenses, averaging 38 points against them.
  2. Coach Mike White has Florida come off a big home win over Auburn on Saturday and lose 84-82 at LSU three days later. [MATT STAMEY  |  AP]
    Video review shows time ran out just before Florida’s tying layup.
  3. Florida head coach Dan Mullen celebrates after the Orange Bowl NCAA college football game against Virginia, Monday, Dec. 30, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Florida won 36-28. [BRYNN ANDERSON  |  AP]
    Defensive tackle signee Gervon Dexter has earned his fifth star.
  4. Florida forward Omar Payne (5) runs up court after making a shot against Auburn during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Gainesville, Fla. Payne was a perfect 9 for 9 shooting during the game. [MATT STAMEY  |  AP]
    Previewing the Gators’ 7 p.m game at LSU on Tuesday.
  5. IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR ALLSTATE - Tim Tebow and fiancé Demi Nel-Peters volunteer together alongside Allstate volunteers at a community service project to benefit the Einstein Charter School ahead of the 2020 Allstate Sugar Bowl on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, in New Orleans. (Cheryl Gerber/AP Images for Allstate) [CHERYL GERBER  |  AP]
    The former quarterback and current Mets minor leaguer previously said he planned to remain a virgin until marriage.
  6. Kentucky Wildcats linebacker Josh Allen (41) takes aim for Florida Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) during a 2018 game. [MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The grad transfer will be eligible immediately.
  7. Auburn center Austin Wiley guards Florida forward Omar Payne during the first half of their game on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, in Gainesville. Payne, a freshman out of Montverde Academy, finishes with a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds for his first double double in college. [MATT STAMEY  |  AP]
    Freshman Omar Payne has a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds as UF earns its most impressive victory of the season.
  8. Florida's Keyontae Johnson, shown here scoring against Arkansas in last season's SEC tournament, is averaging 13 points and 6.8 rebounds this season. [MARK HUMPHREY  |  AP]
    UF looks for an elite win Saturday at home, where it has won five in row, to help strengthen its NCAA Tournament resume.
  9. Florida guard Andrew Nembhard shoots over Mississippi guard Devontae Shuler during their game Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Gainesville. [BRAD MCCLENNY  |  AP]
    Coach Mike White says his point guard missed practice Thursday and Friday. If he’s out, freshmen Tre Mann or Ques Glover likely will start Saturday.
  10. Todd Monken spent two seasons in Tampa Bay, the last as offensive coordinator, before being dismissed along with the rest of head coach Dirk Koetter's staff after the 2018 season.
    Tampa Bay’s former play-caller will be designing game plans for the Bulldogs against the Florida Gators next season.
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