Florida football: How Kyle Trask went from high school backup to Heisman contender

It was a great story last season for Florida football. Watching quarterback Kyle Trask go from an unknown backup to stardom in one season.

Kyle Trask‘s journey began last season in Lexington, Kentucky where he quickly won over the hearts of Florida football faithful one play at a time.

Every snap that the young quarterback dropped back to throw, we held our breath; however, each time, the ball would gracefully fall into the hands of a receiver downfield.

It all started when Feleipe Franks, a third-year starter, took off toward the first down marker on a fourth down play. Franks was ultimately dragged down from behind by a pursuing Kentucky defender. The Gator fanbase later learned that this would be Franks’ final play in a Gators jersey.

In his place came Kyle Trask, a two-star recruit from Manvel, Texas who hadn’t started a game in seven years. Trask would single-handedly provide the spark that would push Florida past an inferior Kentucky Wildcats team, guiding the Gators to 19 straight points in a stunning 29-21 win.

Kyle Trask
Quarterback University of Florida

His stat line was solid: 9-13 through the air for 126 yards, plus a rushing touchdown that put the Gators in the lead for good, all during the final quarter of the game.

Every single person in Kroger Field was left in complete awe of what had just transpired. The Gators had overcome a 21-10 deficit to defeat the Wildcats, thanks to the grit of an underestimated quarterback.

A star was born.

What’s happened since Kentucky

A lot has changed since then. Franks, now an Arkansas Razorback, is successfully healing from his gruesome leg injury and Trask is now at the controls of the Florida football program.

Florida football

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 30: Kyle Trask #11 of the Florida Gators passes during a game against the Florida State Seminoles at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 30, 2019 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Trask, entering his junior season, is the centerpiece in what could be Dan Mullen‘s most important year at the University of Florida. A season where the Gators are favored, ever so slightly, to win the SEC East.

A lot has changed since then. Franks, now an Arkansas Razorback, is successfully healing from his gruesome leg injury and Trask is now at the controls of the Florida football program.

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Trask, entering his junior season, is the centerpiece in what could be Dan Mullen‘s most important year at the University of Florida. A season where the gators are favored, ever so slightly, to win the SEC East.

Can Mullen tap into Trask’s next gear just like he was able to do with the likes of Nick Fitzgerald, Dak Prescott, and Tim Tebow? Mullen now has almost a full season worth of game film to review, and given both his track record and the grit that Trask displayed on the field last season, it seems that the sky is the limit for the Heisman dark horse.

Things are currently different in another fashion for Trask. The backup from Manvel started his career with everything to prove. Now, expectations have never been higher for the young man.

What happens next season?

The obvious question becomes, how will Trask embrace his role as the clear-cut starter? It was obvious that he was able to shine as the doubted underdog, but how he will perform as a leading candidate in an explosive Florida offense has yet to be seen.

Florida football

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA – OCTOBER 19: Kyle Trask #11 of the Florida Gators drops back to pass against the South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on October 19, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Working against Kyle is the fact that the Gators have lost some of his most trusted receivers in Freddie Swain, Tyrie Cleveland, and Van Jefferson.

But on the bright side, the Gators will be bringing back a slew of talented players to help the man under center. Specifically, Kyle Pitts who emerged as one of the best tight ends in the nation last season.

We can also expect to see Kadarious Toney run the underneath routes, Jacob Copeland mold into a very physical receiver, and Trevon Grimes continue to be a consistent threat. There will be no shortage of talent for Trask to work with.

Gator pressure

Things have changed on a more macro scale, too. Now, Florida, a preseason top ten team according to NCAA rankings, will showcase a quarterback that has proven to be nothing but consistent in his short playing tenure with the team.

That’s something that the Florida football fanbase has lacked for many years on the offensive side of the ball.

Many feel that this should be the year that Dan Mullen and company takes the next step. That means a much-needed win over Georgia in Jacksonville, an SEC East title, and most importantly, a big win in Atlanta. Trask’s performance will be a key reflection on whether or not Florida happens to see any of the scenarios come to fruition.

The 2020 Gator season sits on the broad shoulders of the 6’5, 239-pound quarterback. A player who may or may not be involved in the annual end-of-season Heisman talk.

Next: Gator Lomas Brown inducted into CFB Hall of Fame

Two things are for sure: one, the journey of an unlikely hero will continue as the Gators take the field in Gainesville. And two, whatever path that journey takes, it promises to be fun to watch.

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