In the midst of a spring full of quarterback uncertainty, the Florida Gators received some reassurance Wednesday.
Del Rio will be a redshirt sophomore this season with three years of eligibility remaining, as opposed to a redshirt junior. A UF spokesperson said the waiver was actually granted last year, per Anthony Chiang of the Palm Beach Post, even though Del Rio sat out the 2015 season after transferring from Oregon State.
The son of Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio was a walk-on at Alabama in 2013 under current Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, who was in the same role for the Crimson Tide at the time.
Luke Del Rio also has connections to Florida quality control coach John Garrett, as he was at Oregon State when Garrett was the Beavers offensive coordinator.
So even though the quarterback has bounced across the country and back among three schools, he has more familiarity in Gainesville than one might think.
And given the suspension of incumbent starter Harris and the transfer of Will Grier, the job might be Del Rio’s for the taking.
Harris isn’t practicing this spring and is coming off a less than spectacular campaign, throwing for 1,676 yards, nine touchdowns and six interceptions with a 50.6 completion percentage in 10 starts.
Purdue graduate transfer Austin Appleby and early enrollees Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask are among Del Rio's competition this spring.
But it was Del Rio who took first-team reps at spring practice Wednesday, per Landon Watnick of Rivals.com.
Head coach Jim McElwain likes what he's seen thus far from the transfer product, per Graham Hall of the Gainesville Sun and Zach Abolverdi of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Zach Abolverdi @ZachAbolverdi
McElwain on QB Luke Del Rio's strengths: "He does a great job as a leader."3/9/2016, 10:17:13 PM
The Gators shocked the SEC by winning the Eastern division in their first year under McElwain and did so without a convincing quarterback.
As the offensive-minded coach enters his second season with a full year under his belt and someone under center he’s showing confidence in, Del Rio is primed to make a great impression and seize the starting role heading into fall camp.