Will Grier

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Jim McElwain confirms Treon Harris moving to WR

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Nothing sums up the state of Florida’s offense entering the 2016 season quite succinctly as this: Treon Harris is the Gators’ leading returning passer and rusher… and he’ll play wide receiver next season.

Florida head coach Jim McElwain confirmed Harris’s move from quarterback to wideout to  ESPN’s Ivan Maisel, “You’ve got to look at the fit. Nothing he did. Guys around him didn’t play great either. So I’ll never put that on a player.”

Harris’s chance to holding on to the quarterback job all but evaporated when he missed spring ball and the Gators auditioned four new players at the position.

“Everybody has freedom, he doesn’t have to stay there,” McElwain said, via SEC Country. “But at the end of the day, look, we’re in this not here to hurt anybody’s feelings. But at the same time, it is what it is and we’ve got four guys who I’m really proud of. The room is really good and I’m excited about it.”

Florida, which started the year on strong and then imploded following Will Grier‘s suspension and mounting injuries, finished the 2015 season ranked 102nd nationally in yards per play and 100th in scoring. The Gators topped 20 points only once in their final six games and totaled 24 combined against a finishing kick that included Florida State, Alabama and Michigan.

Former Alabama and Oregon State quarterback Luke Del Rio is regarded as the Gators’ favorite to win the starting roll entering training camp.

Report: West Virginia QB Will Grier to be eligible for 2017 season opener

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When quarterback Will Grier was suspended halfway through the 2015 season at Florida due to a failed PED test, it was expected he would be out of action for at least the first half of the 2016 season. Now at West Virginia, Grier will reportedly have to wait until 2017 to play again.

Mike Casazza of The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports, via Twitter, Grier will be eligible for the 2017 season opener as long as he meets eligibility requirements by that point in time.

As previously reported, it was expected Grier would have to sit out the entire 2016 season due to NCAA transfer rules. What was previously unknown was whether he would have to sit out the first six games of the 2017 season as well to honor the suspension’s length. Apparently that will not be the case. That should be good news for Grier, as he is itching to get back on the field as quickly as possible.

For those planning ahead, Grier’s first game where he will be eligible to play at West Virginia will be against Virginia Tech in a game to be played at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland (home of the Washington Redskins of the NFL) on September 2, 2017. Let the countdown begin.

Report says Florida moving QB Treon Harris to wide receiver

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When he was called upon to manage the offense following the suspension of Will Grier last season, Treon Harris struggled. That is why it appears he could be heading to a position change starting this spring.

Gridiron Now reporter Mike Huguenin reports Harris will begin transitioning to wide receiver for the Gators once spring practices open in Gainesville. Harris is more of a dual-threat passer, which does not typically fit in well with the style of offense trying to be run under head coach Jim McElwain. McElwain prefers to run with a pro-style offense. Given the remaining candidates for the starting quarterback job, it appears to be pro-style or bust for the Gators.

Harris completed just 50.9 percent of his pass attempts for 1,676 yards and nine touchdowns with six interceptions. He completed just 17 of his 45 pass attempts between the SEC Championship Game loss to Alabama and bowl loss to Michigan. Harris was also ineffective in a regular season finale against Florida State, in which the Gators scored just two points, and he completed just eight of 17 passes for 122 yards against FAU.

With Harris now supposedly moving to receiver, that leaves McElwain’s quarterback competition down to Luke Del Rio (perhaps the leader in the clubhouse after impressing the staff as a practice squad player), Purdue transfer Austin Appleby and freshman Feleipe Franks.

Backup Purdue QB Appleby transfers to Florida for chance to win starting job

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With Florida scrambling to improve the quarterback position in 2016 following the transfer of Will Grier and the continued struggles of Treon Harris, the next best option may be a player coming to The Swamp from the Big Ten. Purdue quarterback Austin Appleby, who made the decision to transfer in December, will reportedly join the Gators in 2016.

“I am forever grateful for the opportunities I had as a Boilermaker,” Appleby wrote in a statement he released on his Twitter account. “I extend the highest regards to everyone who has helped to make my time at Purdue so impacting, especially my teammates.

“… And yet, it is time for me to turn the page and begin a new chapter in my life. I have made a decision to continue my college career at the University of Florida. I am very excited about this opportunity and all the great things that are in store for Gator Nation!”

Appleby will arrive at Florida and step right into the competition for the starting job in Gainesville. As a graduate transfer, Appleby will be eligible to play right away in 2016, and that should be good news for Florida. The Gators will have a defense ready to compete in the SEC East, but the quarterback position is in need of an upgrade, either with Appleby or Harris showing improvement.

Appleby lost the starting job at Purdue after struggling in the first few games of the 2015 season. In five games, Appleby completed 57.5 percent of his passes for 1,260 yards and eight touchdowns with eight interceptions. Appleby was supplanted as Purdue’s quarterback by freshman David Blough, who was expected to be the starter in 2016 as well.

Jim Harbaugh completes ‘favorite year in football’ with Citrus Bowl whipping of No. 19 Florida

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A day before Friday’s Citrus Bowl, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh mused, “I’ve searched my feelings and I’ve thought long and hard about it. If we win this game, this could be my favorite year in football.”

Mission accomplished: No. 14 Michigan 41, No. 19 Florida 7.

Harbuagh listed a number of personal reasons among why 2015 will go down in his personal record books — working with best friend Jim Minick and son Jay Harbaugh — but this fall will be remembered by the Michigan faithful for reinvigorating the maize and blue brand. Remember, this is a team that pleasantly surprised the college football community when it was competitive in an opening-night loss at Utah. Now, a dozen games later, they were blowing away an SEC division champion in a New Year’s Day game.

To be fair, this wasn’t exactly a full-strength Florida (10-4) team the Wolverines pounded on in Orlando. Jim McElwain surpassed expectations in 2015 by getting the Gators to Atlanta and a New Year’s Day game, but the suspension and subsequent transfer of quarterback Will Grier gutted his offense and stalled his entire time, and consecutive losses to Florida State, Alabama and Michigan by a combined 97-24 proved it.

To be fair to McElwain, he made the most of what he had. Unfortunately for him, what he had meant that drawing up plays like this were about the only way he could find the end zone at all.

The close to Florida’s season (Treon Harris went 8-of-21 for 146 yards with a pick today), though, proves McElwain must spend the next eight months finding and grooming a quarterback or 2016 will not go down as one of his favorites in football.

The Wolverines (10-3) will need to find a quarterback after Jake Rudock left shoes to be filled that are a few sizes larger than most expected when he arrived from Iowa last off-season. The graduate transfer completed his brief Wolverines career by completing 20-of-31 throws for 278 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions, plus four carries for 29 yards. But while Rudock leaves, the bulk of a defense (273 yards allowed) and running game (225 yards) returns.

And that’s enough to leave the maize and blue faithful wondering where 2016 might rank on Harbaugh’s list.