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State’s quarterbacks will have to prove that they’re among the elite nationally

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The past is good. But how about the present?

After a week of reflecting back on the best quarterbacks to play for each program, isn’t it time to wonder about the season to come? And, specifically, do the programs of Florida have enough quarterbacking to make runs at their conference titles?

Certainly, they will not be quarterback-driven teams. Florida’s schools are hoping for surprises (such as the Gators’ Will Grier was last year before his PED suspension). They’re hoping for big games. But the state is without a Jameis Winston or a Tim Tebow or a Bernie Kosar this season,

At Florida, however, one of the disappointments of Jim McElwain’s first season is that the Gators didn’t find a quarterback. They’ll try again this year with transfer Luke Del Rio, most likely. Athlon ranks Del Rio only eighth in the SEC, however, probably because no one has seen him. Overall, 247Sports.com has the Gators ranked sixth.

At FSU, on the other hand, Sean Maguire has experience. But Bleacher Report ranks Maguire only sixth in the ACC. On a team with a good defense and with Dalvin Cook at running back, that might be enough. After all, Maguire had a sensational game against Clemson as a sophomore. Once again, that seems to be the big game for the Seminoles. 247Sports.com ranks FSU first in the ACC.

If there is a quarterback in the state, it might be Miami’s Brad Kaaya. Kaaya is rated second in the ACC behind Deshaun Watson of Clemson. Miami is ranked third by 247Sports.com.

In the AAC, USF’s dual-threat Quinton Flowers is ranked third by the Orlando Sentinel. Central Florida, with Justin Holman, ranks eighth. 247Sports.com ranked UCF third and USF fourth in the conference. SBNation ranked USF second and UCF 10th.

In Conference USA, the Sentinel ranks FIU’s Alex McGough fourth and FAU’s Jason Driskel 10th. Athlon has FAU fourth and FIU sixth in the East Division.

In other words, none of the state’s quarterbacks are expected to be the best in their conference. But Maguire may lead his team to where it wants to go.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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