Image Credit: UAA
Just months following surgery on his non-throwing shoulder after injuring it during the course of the 2016 season, Florida Gators redshirt junior quarterback Luke Del Rio is set for surgery on his right throwing shoulder, which was previously known to be injured.
Head coach Jim McElwain announced Tuesday that Del Rio would have the shoulder cleaned out on Wednesday, likely referring to an arthriscopic procedure. He said the procedure is “not major” and Del Rio will be “fine” to practice in the fall. Del Rio was previously ruled out for spring practice due to the other shoulder surgery.
Del Rio started six games for Florida in 2016, posting a 5-1 record. He got off to a hot start with 762 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions in his first three games before suffering a knee injury that kept him off the field three weeks. Del Rio was never the same when he returned, though he also faced more difficult opponents, throwing for 596 yards with two touchdowns and six interceptions in his next three starts.
He appeared to injure his non-throwing shoulder in a win over Georgia but still played the next game, a 31-10 blowout at the hands of Arkansas. Though Del Rio was listed as available as an emergency late in the season and for the bowl game — the Gators did not want to blow a redshirt on one of their two freshmen if they didn’t have to — he never returned to the field.
“It was two [shoulder] injuries and a knee,” McElwain previously said of Del Rio’s ailments. “He had every appendage but one. Tough guy, man.”
With Del Rio sidelined for the spring, redshirt freshmen Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask are the front-runners in the quarterback competition. True freshman early enrollee Kadarius Toney is also getting snaps behind center but is expected to have a package of plays and not be the primary signal caller. McElwain noted as much Tuesday, saying Toney has been working in a package originally built for redshirt junior wide receiver Dre Massey last season.
Whether Del Rio gets a legitimate chance to compete for the job once he is cleared in the fall remains to be seen, but all signs point to Florida going in a different direction for 2017.