Welcome back, Ricky Pearsall! (Photo credit: Florida Gators)
The past week has brought little other than anxiety and frustration for Gator fans as the situation surrounding QB signee Jaden Rashada devolved into a full-fledged soap opera. Gator Nation has been in desperate need of some good news regarding its football team. Today, they got it: wide receiver Ricky Pearsall announced on Instagram that he plans to return to the Gators.
Pearsall had been debating his next move for several weeks now, with some NFL Draft experts projecting him to be drafted anywhere between rounds three and six, and in fact, some people close to the situation had said he was leaning towards departing for the pros. The situation with the Florida QB1 slot had been thought to be another factor. But with the deadline to declare for the NFL Draft looming, Ricky Pearsall made his decision: he will return for one more season in Gainesville.
That’s good news for Wisconsin transfer and presumed starting QB Graham Mertz. His fellow transfer (Pearsall originally came over from Arizona State) was dragged and dropped into the starting lineup in 2022 and made a massive impact. Pearsall hauled in 33 passes for 661 yards and five touchdowns. He also proved to be a damaging weapon on the ground, too, totaling 119 yards and a sixth touchdown in Florida’s end around and jet sweep attack.
And that’s good news for Florida as a whole, too. The Gators are replacing nearly their entire offensive line, though the running game is thought to be in good shape with Montrell Johnson and Trevor Etienne both returning and new pieces Micah Mazzccua (Baylor transfer) and Roderick Kearney (true freshman with a huge potential) set to join returning pieces Richie Leonard, Austin Barber, and Kingsley Eguakun. Even with true freshmen Aidan Mizell, Andy Jean, and Eugene Wilson all expected to play large roles in the passing game, the departure of Justin Shorter left a void that, if Pearsall also departed, would leave Florida in a precarious spot there.
But there’s no need to think like that. Ricky Pearsall is back for the Gators, and he will serve as a great security blanket in the slot for Mertz as the trio of true freshmen find their way around him.