Florida is known as one of the country’s prime destinations, and I am not talking about vacationing. The state is a gold mine of talent. Florida has been producing top-tier athletes for a while. This means collegiate programs all over the country send their scouts here to recruit, and football is at the very top of their list.
Florida football players are littered across college organizations and have dominated the scene, especially at football’s premiere position, quarterback. Florida quarterbacks took over this college football season with six different guys from the state finishing with a top 50 QBR (Quarterback Rating) out of 130 possible spots. Here are the top five Florida guys who showed out at the position.
5. Austin Reed – Western Kentucky University
Austin Reed from St. Augustine Beach, FL, appeared for his first season as a Hilltoppers this year after transferring from the University of West Florida where he led the Argos to a Division II championship in 2019. Reed was expected to be the backup quarterback for the Hilltoppers going into this season but earned the starting job during spring training. Reed took advantage of his opportunity and led WKU to a 9-5 overall record, a 6-2 conference record, and a victory over the University of South Alabama in the New Orleans Bowl.
Reed was a monster on the field finishing first in passing yards with 4,744, along with 40 passing touchdowns, which is tied for third, and another eight touchdowns running the ball. This incredible season helped him be named the quarterback on the all-conference second team for Conference USA. Reed showed Kentucky what Florida football is about. Although Reed played exceptionally this season what holds him back a bit is the competition he played, but nevertheless, Reed certainly deserves a spot on this list.
4. Michael Pratt –Tulane University
Michael Pratt from Boca Raton, FL, capped off his third season with Tulane in an electrifying fashion. Tulane were major underdogs going into the Cotton Bowl against an 8th ranked USC Trojans team at the time, led by Heisman winner Caleb Williams. Pratt and his team did not flinch as they went on to take down USC 46-45. Pratt finished the game with 234 passing yards, 83 rushing yards, and two passing touchdowns including the go-ahead touchdown score which sealed the win. Tulane had their first 12-win season since 1998 with a 12-2 overall record, and an 8-1 conference record.
Tulane finished the season as the 9th-ranked team in college football according to the AP Poll. Pratt ended the season with 37 total touchdowns, along with 3,010 passing yards, and 478 rushing yards. Pratt was named the all-conference second-team quarterback for the American Athletic Conference. Pratt was not in as pass-heavy on offense as he played alongside running back Tyjae Spears who was named the offensive player of the year in their conference. This limited his numbers, but he still performed at a very high level and helped Tulane achieve one of their greatest seasons in school history making him the number four quarterback on the list.
3. Jordan Travis – Florida State University
Jordan Travis from West Palm Beach, FL, is the first of the Florida quarterbacks on the list to stay in the state. With Travis starting at quarterback the Seminoles were able to double their wins this 2022 season and bounce back from their five-win season in 2021. The Seminoles finished with a 10-3 overall record, and a 5-3 conference record. Travis was a big part of this turnaround, helping FSU finish as the 11th-ranked team in college football this season. Thanks to Travis’s efforts he was awarded all-conference second-team honors in the Atlantic Coastal Conference.
Travis also led the team to victory in the Cheez-It bowl over the University of Oklahoma. Travis unlike the previous two quarterbacks on the list plays in a power-five school meaning he faces much more difficult competition throughout the season. Travis ranked 25th in passing yards with 3,214, and 417 rushing yards. Travis also through 24 passing touchdowns and only 5 interceptions, which helped him finish with the 7th best QBR in the country. Travis’s stellar year earns him the number three spot on the list.
2. Michael Penix Jr. – University of Washington
Michael Penix Jr. from Tampa, FL, is the only lefty quarterback on this list and like Reed played his first season this year with his new team. Penix spent four years at Indiana University before transferring to Washington. While in Indiana Penix suffered season-ending injuries each year there. Penix got the fresh start he needed and he was impressive. Penix had an unbelievable debut year for the huskies as he finished 2nd in passing yards with 4,641, 1st in total offense, and 12th in QBR. Coming off of an AC joint injury to his throwing shoulder and performing this well got Penix named as a winner of the comeback player of the year honor. Penix was also named the second-team all-conference quarterback.
The Pacific-12 Conference was stacked with great teams and quarterback play including Heisman winner Caleb Williams, and six teams ranked inside the top 25. Despite this, Penix helped his huskies finish as the 8th-ranked team in college football. This is the highest overall ranked team in his conference, and the highest ranked out of the teams of the other quarterbacks on this list. Washington ended the season with an 11-2 overall record, and a 7-2 conference record. Penix also led the Huskies to a victory over the University of Texas in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Penix had the most success against elite talent with his team and individually of all the quarterbacks on the list, making him second-best.
1. Anthony Richardson – University of Florida
Anthony Richardson from Gainesville, FL, is a physical specimen. Richardson is the only quarterback on the list not returning for the 2023 college football season. In fact, Richardson has declared for the NFL draft and is projected to be a first-round selection. Although Richardson’s stats and team performance are the worst out of all the quarterbacks on the list, he is clearly the most talented. Richardson did not have much help around him this year at all. Richardson was playing with a new head coach and depleted roster in the South Eastern Conference, which is the toughest conference in all of college football.Richardson’s team ended up with an overall record of 6-7 and a conference record of 3-5. Richardson himself had 26 total touchdowns and finished with the 30th overall QBR. In what was a down year of football for the Gators we saw some magic from Richardson. The combination of his athletic ability and his arm strength surpasses all on this list regardless of a not-so-great performance this year. Unfortunately, we could not see Richardson’s talent at full display at all times this year, but his ability is undeniable and his gifts make him not the best performing, but the best overall quarterback on the list.