Florida names Wisconsin transferring Graham Mertz as starting QB
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Florida names Wisconsin transferring Graham Mertz as starting QB

Graham Mertz didn’t make it with Wisconsin, but Florida is giving him a chance now.

Gators coach Billy Napier He confirmed to reporters on Friday That Mertz would be the starting quarterback against Utah in Week 1, confirming what was expected by many when the young redshirt landed in Gainesville.

Florida will face the Utes on August 31.

To win the primary, Mertz had to outpace the likes of Jack Miller III and Max Brown. Miller got the start in last year’s Las Vegas Bowl after Anthony Richardson left early for the NFL Draft, where he was named fourth overall, but he didn’t do much with the chance — he went 13-of-22 with 180 yards, no touchdowns. and no interceptions in a 30-3 loss to Oregon State.

It was no surprise that Mertz chose Florida as his destination with its lack of options in the wake of Richardson, and training camp reports from as early as Spring Ball made it seem like the heir apparent. The only question is whether Florida expects a different Graham Mertz than the one seen in Wisconsin, where his tenure ended with the Badgers wiping the desktop with the firing of Paul Crist and the hiring of Cincinnati’s Luke Fickel.

Will Florida Graham Mertz be better than Wisconsin Graham Mertz?

Mertz entered Wisconsin as the highest rated recruit quarterback in the program’s history and doubled the buzz before Going 20-for-21 game is ridiculous with 248 passing yards, five touchdowns, and no interceptions. against Illinois in his 2020 start.

At that point, Mertz was a redshirt freshman, and it looked like quarterback fans at Wisconsin had been waiting since the days of Russell Wilson. Mertz tested positive for COVID-19 the next day, well, let’s just say he didn’t hit that peak again.

GAINESVILLE, FL - APRIL 13: Graham Mertz #15 looks on during the second half of the Florida Gators spring football game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on April 13, 2023 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Florida is betting on a big jump by Graham Mertz, just as Wisconsin has. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Mertz finished his career at Wisconsin with 5,405 passing yards, a 59.5% completion rate, 38 passing touchdowns and 26 interceptions. The Badgers bet everything on him which led them to the next level and matched a 19-13 record with him as a starter.

There were moments when Mertz blinked like a playoff-caliber passer, but his many poor decisions and failures made him an exasperating quarterback to watch. Now, he’ll be replacing Richardson, another quarterback with inconsistency issues, while Florida will hope Napier can work some magic that wasn’t available in the Big Ten.

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