Florida QB Feleipe Franks appears set for big jump in Year 2 under Dan Mullen

By Michael Phillips
August 20, 2019
Florida QB Feleipe Franks appears set for big jump in Year 2 under Dan Mullen

Image Credit: Twitter / GatorsFB

It’s not too often No. 8 Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen dishes out high praise for his quarterback. If you look at his track record, it’s simply something he does not often do, at least not publicly. 

That was not the case Monday when he was asked how much his current gunslinger, redshirt junior Feleipe Franks, has improved after a solid first year under Mullen’s tutelage.

“I think he’s already improved more during the offseason than he did throughout last season on the field,” Mullen said of Franks, “in his performance and understanding the system and decision making and making plays.”

Entering his first season under Mullen, there was no telling how Franks would perform after a terrible start to his collegiate career. Well, the redshirt sophomore quarterback threw for 2,457 yards with 24 touchdowns to six interceptions and rushed for 350 yards and seven touchdowns on his way to leading Florida to a 10-2 record. 

In terms of tangible improvement, you can’t do too much better than what Franks was able to accomplish given the circumstances. Now, with a full season under his belt, Franks is looking to build off his impressive finish to 2018 now that he is more familiar with his coaches and the system they want him to run. 

“Now we’re comfortable with [Mullen],” Franks said of expectations this year compared to last season. “Me personally, more comfortable with his playcalls. He’s more comfortable with me executing the playcalls. And I think that’s most important when you have a head coach, offensive coordinator, quarterback and the whole offense on the same page. I think that’s what just comes with time, and I think that’s just what’s different between now and last year is the comfortability.”

As much as he has grown on the field, Franks has also developed off it. In the locker room and around the team he is more vocal, holding his teammates accountable and making the team gravitate toward him. 

“It is the big picture of the quarterback,” Mullen said. “It’s every intangible that comes with that. How do you manage the game? Your decision making, your leadership, your mental and physical toughness. All of those are aspects of things at the quarterback position that I think he’s taking huge strides at more than he’s completing a higher percentage of his passes. I’ve seen him do all the off the field stuff at a much, much higher level. 

“It’s greater improvement from January to now than all of last season. With the leadership, we’ll see how he’s going to handle the highs and lows and the adversity that we’re going to face whether it’s adversity of success or adversity of defeat and how we handle all of that in between.”

Franks has not only caught the eyes of his teammates and coaches ing the months leading up to the start of 2019, he has garnered some national attention as well. Franks was named to the Johny Unitas Golden Arm Award watch list Monday.

It’s been quite the interesting career so far for Franks. He has been through just about everything — from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs — and it has shaped him into the player and person he is today. Those experiences are what at least one teammate believes makes him special.

“I[‘ve] definitely seen him grow up a lot being a college athlete, and I think he was a top ranked quarterback [out of high school] and expected to play right away,” senior receiver and fellow 2016 signee Josh Hammond said of his quarterback. “He didn’t get that opportunity, and when he did get the opportunity [we] had the bad season and didn’t get to a bowl game. 

“Him going through all of those trials and tribulations I think really prepared him for the situations and adversity that he faced last year. It’s definitely helped him grow and be much more of a leader. He’s always been a competitor since Day 1, but I think it helps to be more of a leader and being that guy that we can fall back on as an offense to look back to when things aren’t going our way. Because, you know, he’s been through so much. He’s always kept his poise and kept pushing, kept pushing, and kept pushing.

“He found his way back on top.”

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