Once upon a time, most of Gator Nation rejoiced when Jake Allen committed to the Florida Gators. On this Tuesday night, after announcing his intention to transfer, he’ll get mostly shrugs and nods.
Allen took to Twitter in the evening to announce a rather unsurprising decision to transfer away from Florida.
Allen was no better than fourth on Florida’s depth chart at the position, behind both redshirt sophomores and spring game starters Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask and true freshman Emory Jones, and he was, as he correctly notes in his explanation, a poor fit for new Florida head coach Dan Mullen’s spread-based offense, one that will require more from the legs of whichever passer ultimately ends up running it than the more pocket-based Allen would reasonably be able to provide.
But Allen was also buried deep on Florida’s depth chart prior to Mullen’s arrival, despite being Jim McElwain’s first ballyhooed quarterback addition. Allen committed to the Gators as a rising junior in July 2015, off winning a quarterback challenge at a Rivals camp, and the combination of his skills, potential, and proximity to elite talent at South Florida powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas had many — me included — seeing a bright future for him.
That didn’t transpire, as Allen failed to make significant strides in his development after that summer, and saw his four-star status diminish to a mid-three-star perch in the final 247Sports Composite assessment. And as Florida added passers to what McElwain consistently referred to as a good quarterback “room,” like Franks, Trask, and transfers Austin Appleby and Malik Zaire — never quite finding an upgrade on Oregon State transfer Luke Del Rio, whose intention to transfer preceded Allen’s commitment, mind — the depth chart ahead of Allen got more and more daunting.
He didn’t dent it, either, never really competing even for a backup role despite Florida playing three quarterbacks in 2017. (You will note that the picture for this article is a generic crowd shot — because our photo tool doesn’t have a shot of Allen.)
And with Florida poised to take Matt Corral as of the fall of 2017, had McElwain stayed, Allen was unlikely to see the field at Florida unless he had beaten out Franks, Trask, and Corral in 2018, or beaten out Corral down the line. With McElwain gone, Allen’s path to the field in Gainesville is as or more blocked than it was — and the offense isn’t nearly as good a fit as it was.
So this is a good move for Allen, and one that frees up a scholarship and allows a clean break from a player tutored by Steve Spurrier-era passer Eric Kresser, now a head coach in Palm Beach County, for Florida.
Allen’s bid to be the Gators’ next big thing didn’t work out — and neither did Florida’s attempt to make him into that player. Better to part ways amicably and not dwell, no?