Florida’s Graham Mertz stays in school, gives the Gators QB consistency heading into 2024

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida quarterback Graham Mertz is coming back for his final year of college eligibility and giving coach Billy Napier some offensive consistency heading into 2024.

Mertz, a three-year starter at Wisconsin who transferred to Florida in January, made the announcement on social media Thursday with a short video titled “Unfinished Business.”

Mertz completed 72.9% of his passes this season for 2,903 yards, with 20 touchdown passes and just three interceptions. He broke his left collarbone during a Nov. 18 loss at Missouri and missed the team’s regular-season finale against rival Florida State.

Mertz will turn 23 next month and should, at the very least, be a helpful mentor to DJ Lagway, a five-star recruit who has been committed to signing with the Gators for a year. Mertz also could end up being Florida’s starting quarterback again.

With Mertz running the show, the Gators made offensive strides as the season progressed. After averaging just 19 points a game in its first four games against teams from the Football Bowl Subdivision, Florida averaged 33.5 over its next six.

The Gators (5-7) finished seventh in the Southeastern Conference in passing yards (259.3 a game) and sixth in efficiency (153.68 rating). But they also lacked big plays: 14 completions of at least 30 yards, which ranked 13th in the league.


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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll

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