Florida needs a quarterback to step up and lead the offense in a big way in 2016. The position has been a bit of a sore spot for the Gators since the days of (brace yourself) Tim Tebow. Will Grier appeared to be a bright spot last season before getting suspended for a full calendar year left the offense in the hands of Treon Harris the rest of the way. As the spring gets underway, there is a glimmer of hope for the key position in 2016.
Luke Del Rio is getting some high praise from Gators head coach Jim McElwain and his teammates this spring as he looks to make a case for the starting job for 2016.
“I think one of the things that I love about him is he’s kind of a gym rat type of guy,” McElwain said, according to The Florida Times-Union. “You can tell he obviously grew up around the game. He’s a guy who enjoys watching film. He enjoys, around the guys. He’s does a great job as a leader. I think there’s a lot of intangibles there.”
He certainly did grow up around the game. Del Rio is the son of Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio. Jack Del Rio has been a coach at the NFL level since 1997, which followed a 12-year career as a player in the league. So yes, Luke Del Rio did indeed grow up around the game. His college journey, though, has been a bit rocky up to this point. Del Rio started his collegiate career at Alabama in 2013 as a walk-on. After redshirting his 2013 season, Del Rio transferred to Oregon State but he once again pursued a transfer after playing just three games with the Beavers. That led him back to the SEC at Florida in 2015.
“He looked natural and very comfortable,” linebacker Jarrad Davis said. “He’s not a guy that’s really going to panic. He’s real laid back, and he’s dropping back in the pocket real smooth with everything that he does. His reads are perfect. He does a lot of things to separate himself from other guys on the team.”
We will see if Del Rio can continue to impress as the spring plays out and see if that leads to any momentum to earning the starting quarterback job in the fall later on.