Kyle Trask has become the latest Florida Gators star to hear his name called this week.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have selected Trask with the 64th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. As a result, Trask becomes the Gators’ 359th all time selection. He’s the third Gator to be picked in this year’s NFL Draft, after Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney.
The story of Kyle Trask is one that’s made no shortage of waves throughout college football, but for fans of his newest team who haven’t followed it as closely, here’s a brief recap.
Trask was rated as a two star prospect coming out of high school that only McNeese State… and Florida wanted in the 2016 recruiting class. Trask grew up a Texas A&M Aggie fan, and was in fact named after the Aggies’ Kyle Field. But with no offer from his childhood team, he chose to attend the only FBS school to seriously recruit him.
For awhile, it looked like Trask would never see the field aside from spring games. From Austin Appleby to Malik Zaire, from Feleipe Franks to Luke Del Rio, Trask watched as quarterback after quarterback saw the field while he did not. At long last, it seemed like Trask would finally get his chance in his third year in the program, when Feleipe Franks was benched due to incompetence against Missouri… until Trask broke his foot in practice the ensuing week. And so he entered 2019, his fourth year, as the presumed understudy.
But then Feleipe Franks broke his ankle against Kentucky in the third game of that year, and Kyle Trask took his opportunity and never looked back. After guiding the Gators back from certain death against the Wildcats, Trask went on to throw for 2,941 yards and 25 touchdowns, lead Florida to an 11-2 record and an Orange Bowl win, and be touted by some as a Heisman dark horse in 2020.
Yet, for as incredible as that rise was to that point, it was nothing compared to what followed in a COVID-shortened 2020 season. Trask shattered Florida school records left and right, including passing yards (4,283) and passing touchdowns (43) in a single season, all against SEC opposition. Along the way, he threw for 474 yards in not but two different games, and threw six touchdown passes in two other games. From Heisman dark horse to Heisman favorite he went, all the way up until the Gators fell apart at the end of the year and Devonta Smith took it for himself.
Now, how he translates into the NFL is a different question. Pro defenses are more complex than anything he’s seen before, and it’s possible that he’ll struggle to adjust. He could certainly use some improvement in manipulating defenders with his eyes, as that caused him some major problems in his last few games. But he’s clearly a very smart and accurate passer, and if his story has proven anything, it’s that counting him out is not a good idea.
Thanks for everything, Kyle. Go make your dreams come true.