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Transfer Luke Del Rio in mix to be Florida’s starting quarterback

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Slow down. Take a deep breath. Allow some practices to happen.

Then, if it’s warranted, you can name Luke Del Rio the starting quarterback of the Florida Gators.

Oh, it’s easy to understand the impatience of the Gators’ fans after last year, when Will Grier interrupted his run as the Florida quarterback with chemicals and Treon Harris’ play wasn’t up to standards. Gator fans just can’t wait to decide on a starter.

But this week, coach Jim McElwain cautioned that there is “no clear-cut starter” on the Gators. Not Del Rio. Not transfer Austin Appleby. Not freshmen Keith Trask or Feleipe Franks.

Granted, Del Rio is an interesting prospect. Coming out of high school, he turned down scholarships to walk on at Alabama. He transferred to Oregon State, then to Florida. Still, he’s played in three games and thrown only eight passes. Even for the son of Oakland Raiders’ head coach Jack Del Rio, that isn’t enough of a résumé.

“He’s just real cool,” senior linebacker Jarrad Davis told the Orlando Sentinel. “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.”

Is that enough to hold off a graduate transfer and a couple of incoming freshmen?

“It’s an open competition,” Del Rio said. “We’re all doing everything we can do in our power to earn the starting job. I’ve been here, but I don’t think that makes me No. 1 right now. I have to earn it.”

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

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