Florida starting quarterback Emory Jones has entered the transfer portal after four years with the program. Jones announced his intention to transfer in a tweet on Saturday.
“Thank you for so many unforgettable memories,” Jones said. “Thank you for always showing up and supporting me. I will never forget the indescribable feeling and the roar of 90,000 strong at the Swamp.”
Jones started 12 games for Florida in 2021 and completed 64.7% of his passes for 2,734 yards passing, 759 yards rushing and 23 total touchdowns. The Gators went 6-7 to fall to their first losing record since 2017, however, and coach Dan Mullen was fired after the disappointing season. Florida eventually replaced Mullen with Billy Napier from Louisiana.
As the Gators entered spring practice earlier this week, Jones had reaffirmed his commitment to remaining with the Gators program. A few days later, however, he had a change of heart.
“I mean, I’m here,” Jones said. “I’m committed. I’m here.”
Backup quarterback Anthony Richardson pushed for playing time with his explosive upside and added nine total touchdowns of his own. The Gators also added sophomore quarterback Jack Miller from Ohio State as a transfer.
“Emory has conducted himself with nothing but class and selflessness,” Napier said in a statement. “It is not surprising that he has earned the respect of his teammates, coaches and this entire organization. I am proud of him for everything he’s accomplished and for his commitment to complete his degree this spring. He is a young man with a bright future and I wish him nothing but the best.”
Jones will have up to two years of eligibility remaining thanks to the NCAA-granted transfer waiver.
Here are some key takeaways from Jones’ decision to enter the transfer portal.
What this means for Florida
Jones was the upperclassman leader in the quarterback room at Florida last season but struggled to put together consistent performances. He threw for fewer than 200 yards in seven of his 13 outings and threw multiple touchdowns only against Samford, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and South Carolina.
With Jones gone, Napier will be turning the page and betting on a young quarterback room. The sophomore Richardson threw for 167 yards and three touchdowns against Georgia, and rushed for a combined 275 yards against South Florida and FAU. In addition to Miller, freshmen Jalen Kitna and Carlos Del Rio-Wilson have been on campus for a year, while class of 2022 recruit Max Brown joined Napier after flipping from Central Michigan.
Napier will hold an open competition and have plenty of talented options to build his future roster around. After fielding three-year starter Levi Lewis at Louisiana, the battle could decide the future of the program at Florida.
Potential fits for Jones
Jones was a highly-touted recruit coming out of high school and learned from Mullen, a coach regarded as one of the better quarterback developers in the country. While things didn’t work out at Florida, he has a chance to be an impact transfer at a major program.
Arizona State is in the market for a quarterback after losing talented dual-threat Jaylen Daniels to LSU. UCF got solid production from projected starter Mikey Keene, but Jones could fit in well to Gus Malzahn’s spread offense as the Knights make the transition to the Power Five. Additionally, there should be no shortage of suitors at the Group of Five level, including options like North Texas, Arkansas State and FIU.