Gators’ Kyle Trask declares for NFL draft

QB smashed records at UF, contending for Heisman Trophy

In this Dec. 12, 2020, photo, Florida quarterback Kyle Trask throws a pass against LSU during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Gainesville. (John Raoux, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

University of Florida’s star quarterback Kyle Trask posted on Twitter on Thursday that he was declaring early for the NFL draft. While Trask is a senior, the NCAA is not counting 2020 as one of four seasons of eligibility due to altered schedules and a compressed season.

Trask is also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy -- a daunting task for the three-star recruit who fought to get a starting job with the Gators.

Trask set the school season record for touchdown passes despite the shortened, SEC-only schedule. Jones’s 27 TD passes ranked third nationally.

Trask is second nationally in passing yards per game in the regular season (360.3), one spot ahead of Alabama’s Mac Jones -- another Heisman contender -- at 345.9.

“I know he’s had a tough road coming up, just like kind of Mac,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said of Trask. “But I have a lot of respect for guys that stick with it, persevere, overcome a lot of adversity, go through a lot of learning and growing pains. Then when they get their opportunity, they take advantage of it and do extremely well. Kyle has certainly done that and has had as fine a season as anybody in the country.”

Trask appreciated the praise coming from Saban.

“It’s pretty special,” Trask said earlier this month. “Coming from a legendary coach like him, it’s pretty cool. We’ve got a lot of respect for their football team, as well. We both earned the right to be here with our play this season.”

A career backup, Trask played behind Miami’s D’Eriq King in high school and waited his turn behind Austin Appleby, Luke Del Rio and Feleipe Franks in Gainesville. He finally got his shot in September 2019 after Franks sustained a season-ending ankle injury.

He passed 1996 Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel for the school’s single-season touchdown record with No. 40 during a 37-34 loss to LSU, which likely ended any chance the Gators had of playing in the College Football Playoff.

Wuerffel called Trask after the crushing loss and reminded him that the Gators lost their regular-season finale in 1996 before rebounding to win it all.

“If we play at a higher level that I know we can, then I think we can play with anybody in America,” Trask said.