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Source: Florida coach urged transfer quarterback Feleipe Franks to consider Washington State

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 3, 2020

Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks warms up before the Orange Bowl against Virginia, Monday, Dec. 30, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (Lynne Sladky / AP)
Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks warms up before the Orange Bowl against Virginia, Monday, Dec. 30, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (Lynne Sladky / AP)

Mike Leach’s ability to groom quarterbacks, coupled with Gardner Minshew’s historic season season two years ago, has made Washington State a desirable destination for transfers looking to put up gaudy numbers and improve their NFL stock in the Air Raid offense.

Leach hasn’t ruled out the possibility of taking on a third straight transfer QB. One of the most popular names in the NCAA transfer portal apparently has WSU on his radar.

According to a Spokesman-Review source, Florida coach Dan Mullen recommended that former Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks take a serious look at the Cougars and consider spending his final college season in Pullman in order to “get developed by Leach.”

It’s unclear if Franks is actually pondering a transfer to WSU, however, and the source said the ex-Florida starter wasn’t familiar with Pullman or the Palouse. The Cougars seem to be aware of him, though, and Franks is followed on Twitter by outside receivers coach Steve Spurrier Jr., who spent time in Gainesville as a graduate assistant during his father’s hall of fame tenure at Florida.

Franks, who only appeared in three games for Florida this season because of a dislocated ankle, announced on Instagram on Dec. 1: “I plan on exploring my options of entering the NFL Draft or playing my final year elsewhere.”

The QB’s name hit the transfer portal the same day. Franks later took a visit to Kansas, where some expect him to land next season, largely because of his relationship with coach Les Miles, who nearly signed the former high school All-American at LSU.

Once a four-star prospect, Franks had offers from Florida, Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Georgia, Florida State and many others. The Crawfordville, Florida, native became the Gators’ starter in 2017, throwing for 1,438 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions in eight starts.

He drastically improved his numbers in 2018 when he threw for 2,457 yards with 24 TDs and just six interceptions in Mullen’s first season. Franks had completed 54 of 71 passes for 698 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions this season in wins over Miami, Tennessee-Martin and Kentucky before his injury.

Franks’ mobility could also be an intriguing addition to Leach’s offense. Franks has also rushed for 438 yards and eight touchdowns in 27 games at Florida.

With starter Anthony Gordon and backups Gage Gubrud and Trey Tinsley all graduating, and WSU having signed Hawaiian prospect Jayden de Laura, the Cougars still have two quarterback scholarships available. Leach said his coaching staff would do its due diligence and take a look at the transfer marker, telling reporters during bowl practice, “We’ll see what’s out there. See what’s happening.”

WSU’s grad transfer QBs have had mixed results. Minshew had a record-setting season after leaving East Carolina for WSU in 2018. Gubrud, who suffered a lower-body injury during spring workouts, wasn’t able to beat out Gordon for the starting job this season, and the ex-Eastern Washington standout played in just two games as a backup.

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