GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Quarterback Emory Jones is leaving Florida after just two days of spring training.
Jones announced on Saturday he would enter the NCAA transfer portal, an about-face for a fifth-year senior who said earlier this week he wanted to give new coach Billy Napier and his team a shot. .
“After many conversations with my family and after much thought about my future, I have decided to enter the transfer portal,” Jones said in a social media post. “I am proud to say that I will continue my studies at the University of Florida with the goal of becoming a Gator graduate at the end of the spring semester.”
Jones started 12 games for Florida in 2021, completing 64.7% of his passes for 2,734 yards, with 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Jones will still have two years of eligibility wherever he lands.
“Emory conducted himself with class and selflessness,” coach Billy Napier said in a statement. “It’s no surprise that he has earned the respect of his teammates, his coaches and this whole organization.
“I’m proud of him for all he’s accomplished and for his commitment to finishing his studies this spring. He’s a young man with a bright future, and I wish him nothing but the best.”
Jones must have felt like he had no real chance of leaving for the Gators this fall. He entered spring football vying for the No. 1 spot with frontrunner Anthony Richardson, who is recovering from offseason surgery to repair cartilage damage in a knee.
Florida has three other QBs in the mix: Ohio State backup Jack Miller moved to Gainesville in December and joined redshirt freshmen Carlos Del Rio-Wilson and Jalen Kitna .
Jones has always been considered a wild card, especially since he had one foot out before Florida played UCF in the Gasparilla Bowl. That game, a 29-17 loss at Tampa, seemed to seal his fate. Jones completed 14 of 36 passes for 171 yards and no touchdowns in one of his worst performances of the season.
But Napier and his team convinced Jones to stay and see what happened.
“I honestly went to tell them I didn’t want to be here,” Jones said Tuesday. “They watched the movie, went through everything and said I was very talented and they can do a lot to change the way I played in the past. And I watched a movie about their quarterback the last year. He’s very talented and he’s done a lot of great things. That definitely sold me.
But not for long.
The transfer could be seen as the latest setback for Jones, who tied for the Southeastern Conference lead in steals (13) with Kentucky’s Will Levis last season. His 19 TD assists ranked him ninth in the league.
Former Florida coach Dan Mullen benched Jones in a loss at LSU last October and eventually turned to Richardson, who looked dynamic in a backup role early in the season. season. Richardson played well against the Tigers and started the following week against top-ranked and eventual national champion Georgia. But he threw two interceptions and fumbled before leaving the game with a concussion in the lopsided loss.
Richardson sprained his knee the following week while dancing at the hotel the night before playing in South Carolina. Richardson, who suffered injuries in high school, also missed two games earlier in the season with a sprained right hamstring.
Jones started against the Gamecocks despite experiencing flu-like symptoms all week and played with a sprained thumb on his throwing hand. He got the nod again in the last four games of the season.
He thanked his teammates, coaches and fans in his announcement.
“We shed blood, sweat and tears together,” he said. “We’ve had our ups and downs together. We’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel together. And through it all, you’ve supported me and been by my side. All I can say is thank you.
“The memories we formed will never be forgotten.”
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