Florida QB Anthony Richardson is ‘a Gator … through and through’ after up-and-down season

By Adam Silverstein
November 27, 2021
Florida QB Anthony Richardson is ‘a Gator … through and through’ after up-and-down season

Image Credit: GatorsFB on Twitter

There has been much consternation this season about the Florida Gators’ quarterbacking situation given the poor play of redshirt junior Emory Jones and promise shown by redshirt freshman Anthony Richardson. After once again entering a game as a reserve Saturday and helping lead a 24-21 win over the Florida State Seminoles, Richardson was affirmative but perhaps a bit elusive when asked if he would remain in Gainesville, Florida, next season.

“Yeah, I’m a Gator,” said Richardson when asked in the post-game press conference if he planned to play at Florida regardless of who the team hires as its next head coach. Asked again if that meant he would be back in 2022, he replied, “I’m a Gator.”

While those comments appear positive, they can also be seen by a pessimist as being a bit vague with Richardson leaving a door open should something funky happen with the coaching staff in the offseason.

A source close to Richardson, who spoke with OnlyGators.com after Saturday’s game on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that Richardson has no intentions of leaving the program.

“He’s a Gator … through and through,” the source said. “[Florida] is where he wants to be.”

The source was unaware of Richardson’s post-game comments prior to providing their insight on his future.

Richardson has not shared any thoughts on exiting the Gators program despite the up-and-down nature of his season, the source added. Perhaps aiding that mentality is that Richardson did not enter the 2021 season expecting to start or see significant playing time beyond similar action to what Jones saw as a backup of Kyle Trask last year.

His extremely close friendship with Jones is legitimate, and that likely eased potential consternation about playing time.

Richardson saw spot action in Florida’s first two games of the season, combining to complete 6 of 11 passes for 192 yards with two passing touchdowns along with 275 yards rushing and two scores on 11 carries. However, he strained his hamstring in Week 2 against South Florida and did not see significant action again until a month later when UF trailed LSU at halftime.

Richardson stepped in to complete 10 of 19 passes for 167 yards with three touchdowns, running for 37 more yards and another score; however, two interceptions — including a costly pick late — allowed the Tigers to beat the Gators.

After the bye week, Richardson received his first career start in an extremely tough situation against No. 1 Georgia, which boasts the nation’s top-ranked defense. Though he had moderate success early in the game, Richardson committed three turnovers on successive series before halftime, all of which resulted in Bulldogs touchdowns.

A concussion against Georgia plus an injury suffered while dancing in the team hotel kept Richardson out of action the next week in a loss to South Carolina that put head coach Dan Mullen firmly on the hot seat. Jones played exceedingly well the next week against Samford, so Richardson never entered the close game, and Mullen kept Jones sidelined last week in a 24-23 overtime loss at Missouri because of an undisclosed injury.

Due to the turbulence of the season combined with the ouster of Mullen, who recruited Richardson as a four-star prospect in the Class of 2020, it was thought that the second-year signal caller could consider his opportunities elsewhere. A brief change to his Twitter profile — “Florida” was removed before being added back minutes later — exasperated concerns that the Gators’ brightest hope for the 2022 season may be considering leaving Gainesville.

It appears as if all of that concern is unnecessary. While anything can change in the wild world of college football, particularly with the new one-time transfer rule granting immediate eligibility to underclassmen, Richardson appears to have plenty keeping him locked to Florida.

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