Last Tuesday, Graham Mertz announced his decision to transfer to the University of Florida. This follows the departures of Jalen Kitna‘s dismissal and Anthony Richardson‘s departure to the NFL Draft.
Mertz is a senior quarterback from Mission, KS listed at 6-foot-3 and 216 pounds. Coming out of high school in 2019, he was a highly-touted recruit ranked as the third-best pro-style QB in the nation according to the 247Sports composite ranking.
The addition of Mertz drew pretty mixed reactions from Gator nation, most of them negative on Twitter. Fans had their eyes set on other portal QBs that Florida was reportedly in contact with, such as Devin Leary or Grayson McCall. Leary recently committed to Kentucky.
Graham Mertz at Wisconsin
Critics of the transfer will point to his time at Wisconsin as evidence for their argument. In three years as a starter, Mertz produced 38 touchdowns and 26 interceptions with a sub-60 percent completion percentage. Mertz also wasn’t a threat to tuck and run either, which is something Napier has utilized since his time at Louisiana.
On the flip side, supporters of the transfer will point out that Mertz was a proven commodity and a talented QB coming out of high school. There is a chance his talent was untapped in a run-first Wisconsin offense lacking any difference-makers on the outside.
The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. In my opinion, Florida didn’t land a surefire starter out of the portal, but they could have. Mertz will compete in a QB battle with a shot at starting week one, making this feel like more of a depth addition than anything better.
Florida’s QB Room
Mertz will join four other QBs in Florida’s room with no real front-runner for the starting job. Jack Miller III will return for another year, he started in the bowl game against Oregon State but did not show much promise. Former three-star recruit Max Brown will enter his third year with the team but has never started a game. Just yesterday, Florida acquired preferred walk-on, Parker Leise, out of IMG Academy. Lastly, four-star QB Jaden Rashada joins the room after flipping his commitment from Miami to Florida last month.
I expect Mertz, Miller, and Rashada to be the serious competitors to start week one. However, most fans will hope Jaden Rashada wins the battle as soon as possible. Rashada was rated as the seventh-best QB nationally in the current recruiting class according to 247Sports. He is the star of Florida’s 12th-ranked recruiting class and the future of this team.
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