If you go down the list of starting quarterbacks for the top ten college football teams in the country, you’ll find that nine of them took similar paths to get where they are today.
- They were star players in high school.
- They went on to become highly sought-after recruits.
- They had the opportunity to choose between multiple high-profile colleges.
But then, there’s the one exception. His name is Kyle Trask, he’s the starting quarterback for the Florida Gators, he’s an Eagle Scout, and he definitely took the road less traveled.
Trask barely even played in high school. He only had one scholarship offer from a traditional college football power.
And yet now, here he is, leading the fifth-ranked Florida Gators into their season opener this weekend against SEC East rival South Carolina.
How did he get here?
Trask’s story starts in the tiny town of Manvel, Tex., (pop. around 5,000), where he was born and raised. Despite its small size, Manvel is a hotbed of football talent.
So much so that when Trask got to high school, he met a young man in the same grade named D’Eriq King, a dynamic player who happened to also play quarterback.
From their sophomore to senior years, King started every game. And it was hard to argue with the coach’s decision. King set the Texas 6A record for touchdown passes, then went on to star as both a quarterback and wide receiver for the University of Houston. He would eventually transfer to Miami, where he’s playing QB exclusively this fall.
Trask, in the meantime, played sparingly in his high school years, completing 70% of his passes for 16 touchdowns without a single interception.
He also found time to earn the rank of Eagle from Troop 483 in October 2015.
Normally, backup high school quarterbacks don’t get scholarship offers from major colleges. 247Sports.com, one of the most popular football recruiting websites, ranked Trask the 2,123rd best player in the country.
To put that in perspective, the best players on most of the top 25 college teams were at least ranked in the top 300 of players coming out of high school. In the top college 50 teams, you’ll have plenty of players in the top 500 or 600.
But two thousand one hundred and twenty-three? Are you kidding me?
Trask attended a football camp at Florida in July 2015, during which he impressed then-head coach Jim McElwain enough to — incredibly – earn a scholarship offer. A week or so later, Trask committed. He was going to play football at Florida, one of the top teams in the country, after barely playing in high school.
According to Rivals.com, another popular recruiting website, Trask’s only other offer came from Dallas Baptist.
“I didn’t want to run away from competition,” Trask told the Houston Chronicle. “No matter where you go, there is going to be some of that.”
It’s great to be a Florida Gator
Doug Nussmeier, currently the quarterbacks coach for the Dallas Cowboys, was on the Florida staff at the time and evaluated Trask based on the few games Trask played in high school. One of the things he liked? You guessed it: The fact that Trask is an Eagle Scout.
“I can’t say enough about the kid,” Nussmeier said in an interview with Gators Territory. “He’s an Eagle Scout, he’s close to a 4.0 student. If you just turned on the film when he played in the games and looked at his production, it’s pretty darn good.”
Trask’s first two seasons at Florida were remarkably similar to his high school years. In other words, he didn’t play.
Everything changed in the third game of the 2019 season, when Gators starting quarterback Feleipe Franks (by comparison, ranked as the 54th best player in the country his senior year in high school) suffered a leg injury.
Trask became the starter and led Florida to wins in all but two of their remaining games, entrenching himself as the starter going into 2020. (Franks eventually transferred to Arkansas.)
McElwain is no longer at Florida. His successor, Dan Mullen, is known as a coach who gets a lot of production from his quarterbacks.
This season will be different for Trask. He’s the starter, and people already know he’s good. Expectations are sky high for the Gators, who are expected to contend with Georgia for the SEC East’s spot in the SEC championship game.
Trask is considered by many analysts to be the best returning quarterback in the SEC.
He might not have taken the same road that most elite college players take, but there’s no doubt that he’s arrived.