Kyle Trask is the best Florida Gators quarterback in a decade. He is, improbably, a beloved fan favorite, arguable superstar, potential early-round draft pick, and bona fide Heisman candidate. His legacy as one of the best quarterbacks in recent Florida history is very much assured, even if he’s already met his level.
But this Saturday, Kyle Trask has the opportunity to become a legend.
Big games define an athlete’s legacy. Few things prompt fans to announce a player’s greatness like a spectacular performance when the lights are brightest.
Trask doesn’t have one of those. He has many great performances, both this year and last, but he doesn’t have a true signature game. You could argue that the win over Auburn in 2019 was that game, but Trask himself wasn’t the standout: He threw for 234 yards and two touchdowns despite an injury that forced him to the locker room at one point, but he also lost three fumbles and merely handed the ball off to Lamical Perine on the day’s most memorable play. The win was huge for the Gators and is one of the biggest wins of the Dan Mullen era, but it’s not a legacy-defining game for Trask.
He had two other chances a year ago, though, as Florida played two other enormous games on the road against LSU and against Georgia in Jacksonville. At present, these are the games that define every Gator season — Florida State would provide another defining moment in most years, but given how far the Seminoles have fallen the past few seasons, it’s not a showdown right now.
And Trask played fairly well — arguably, very well — against the Tigers and Bulldogs, throwing for 567 yards, five touchdowns and an interception combined in those two games. But he didn’t do enough to elevate his team to victory. No one would fault Trask as the primary reason that Florida lost those games, sure, but he also doesn’t get credit for doing the Herculean in Florida losses.
And the fact that Trask doesn’t have such a moment that is undoubtedly his is what separates him from the upper echelon of Florida QBs. The most recent legendary Florida quarterback before him, Tim Tebow, minted countless legendary moments. His famous speech after the loss to Ole Miss in 2008, the jump pass in 2006, or the monster seven-touchdown performance against South Carolina in his Heisman trophy winning 2007 campaign: Trask has nothing in his career that touches any of that, and that’s barely the beginning of the Tebow resume.
Comparing Trask to Tebow is obviously unfair to the former for any number of reasons. But Tebow is the bar, and for Trask to take that next step, he’s going to need to at least match something his legendary predecessor did.
Every indication is that he has a chance to do so. The senior signal-caller has taken the leap from good to elite in 2020, with 1,341 yards and 18 touchdowns through four games. Perhaps the most impressive statistic is his touchdown to interception ratio: At a ridiculous 9 to 1, it’s currently the best among Power Five quarterbacks. If he keeps up this level of play he will absolutely finish with legitimate individual award considerations.
But that’s an if.
Georgia is the best opponent Kyle Trask will play all season. Even if Florida is fortunate to see Alabama in the SEC Championship Game or any of the big teams in the playoff, Georgia may well have the best defense in the conference and country; it’s undoubtedly the best defense in Florida’s division, and the best one the Gators will see until postseason play. conference. It will be a challenge for Trask and the Florida offense to continue their dominance in face of intense opposition.
But here’s another if: If Trask steps into legend this weekend, Florida likely wins.
This weekend’s game will define Florida and Kyle Trask’s season, and quite probably Trask’s career; unless the unexpected happens down the stretch, this matchup will decide who represents the SEC East in Atlanta, and represents Trask’s best chance to author something remembered as a “Heisman moment.”
If he can finally put Florida ahead of Georgia, and continue to play at his remarkable level, he will forever cement his legacy as a legend of Florida football.
No pressure, right?