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Report: Florida’s Emory Jones plans to transfer, play in Gasparilla Bowl

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Florida’s embattled QB1 will get one last ride with the Gators.

NCAA Football: Florida State at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Gators quarterback Emory Jones plans to enter the transfer portal but remain with the Gators through the 2021 Gasparilla Bowl, reports Yahoo’s Pete Thamel.

Jones became Florida’s starter in his fourth year with the Gators after waiting behind Feleipe Franks and then Kyle Trask, and entered the fall with hype and hope surrounding his abilities. But while he proved to be a capable runner, he showed a penchant for inopportune mistakes as a passer that plagued the Gators this fall — and while he admirably led Florida’s game effort in a loss to Alabama and both showed some improvement and made some impressive plays, that propensity for errors has not been ironed out of his game, and poor performances against LSU and Florida State got him benched for Anthony Richardson.

Richardson’s health — or lack thereof — has repeatedly handed the reins back to Jones, who took over after Richardson got hurt against Georgia, remained Florida’s QB after Richardson tweaked his knee dancing prior to the South Carolina game at the team hotel, and is now poised to be Florida’s QB1 for its bowl meeting with UCF because Richardson is recovering from surgery to repair a meniscus injury that has been a nagging problem since high school.

And with Richardson seemingly set to return to Florida in 2022, Jones leaving the program that he joined because of Dan Mullen to find one where he can be a starter and make a second go of having the sort of season that would make him tantalizing to NFL evaluators is both clearing the deck for Richardson in Gainesville and wiping the slate for Jones. This is the sort of transfer that makes sense for all parties involved.

Jones getting one last ride with Florida in the Gasparilla Bowl will make for a fitting, if bittersweet, farewell for a player who did all that was asked of him off the field but did not quite meet expectations — others’ and his own — on the field for the Gators. And if he hears boos, as he has on occasion this season, it will only be confirmation that too few Florida fans recognize all the work put in is worth respecting even if the results are unsatisfactory.