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Feleipe Franks Emerging for Gators

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Feleipe Franks, who played with the first-team in the scrimmage, appears to be out in front in the race to top the UF depth chart.

He made the right reads, got the ball to the right guys, drove the ball, converted on third down and kept the offense moving. Didn't see any flaws.
~Chauncey Gardner

There is considerable momentum around Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks, a talented redshirt freshman who may be well on his way to taking over under center for the Gators. Franks was a convincing winner in Florida's "Orange & Blue Debut" as he completed 8-of-14 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown in leading his side to a 31-0 victory. At 6'6'', 220 pounds, Franks has been a notable standout this spring.

While veteran Luke Del Rio will be healthy for fall camp and fellow redshirt freshman Kyle Trask will continue to compete, Franks, who played with the first-team in the scrimmage, appears to be out in front in the race to top the depth chart.

"He's ahead," UF head coach Jim McElwain acknowledged post-game. "No doubt about it."

A former U.S. Army All-American and Elite 11 finalist, Franks has a special skill set and, now, growing confidence. This off-season has been one where his profile has been elevated considerably. Franks has responded accordingly; the offense, as a whole, is following his lead. Practices have closed with Franks in a different position then when they opened. 

Franks showed a calm command of the offense in Friday night's game. He opened the contest with a 46-yard toss to Josh Hammond to just outside the goaline. Later, Franks found Antonio Callaway, the Gators' top playmaker, for a 16-yard touchdown. All of Franks' passing numbers came in the first half.  

Coaches and defenders, alike, were impressed with Franks' performance.

"He did awesome," cornerback Chauncey Gardner explained. "He made the right reads, got the ball to the right guys, drove the ball, converted on third down and kept the offense moving. Didn't see any flaws. He's improved from Day 1, like the whole team has. We're just going to lean on him and keep going." 

A long summer awaits, but Florida has found some offensive traction with Franks. As the Gators prepare for a high-profile season-opener with Michigan, they do so with a young quarterback coming into his own.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports