Florida's quarterback battle could have new threat

Luke Del Rio was a walk-on at Alabama before spending a season in Corvallis. Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports

During new Florida coach Jim McElwain's national speaking tour -- whether it be in Hoover, Alabama, or Bristol, Connecticut -- he's been obligated to discuss his two-way quarterback competition. It's an incredibly important part of his first season at Florida, but it's murky at best and his answers have essentially consisted of him praising both without tipping his hand either way.

Well, that two-way battle between sophomore Treon Harris and redshirt freshman Will Grier could grow come fall camp. I must emphasize could because the third body in this race is still awaiting word on if he can even play for the Gators this fall.

That third name is Oregon State transfer Luke Del Rio, who made Florida his third school in three years. Del Rio started his career as a walk-on at Alabama before transferring to Oregon State. Del Rio played in three games last year, throwing just 18 passes, completing eight for 141 yards and zero touchdowns.

Now he's at Florida, but it's unknown whether he'll get to play this fall. Florida would have to submit a waiver to the NCAA seeking immediate eligibility for Del Rio, which he already received in order to play at Oregon State last year. Del Rio isn't on scholarship, but that doesn't matter. The NCAA isn't exactly thrilled about granting immediate eligibility twice for a player, usually choosing to just extend eligibility.

So Del Rio and Florida are essentially playing the waiting game.

In the meantime, word out of Gainesville is that Del Rio, the son of Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio, has been impressive during summer workouts. He's been seen chucking the deep ball better than anyone during 7-on-7 workouts.

Grier left spring with a small edge at quarterback, but things basically start over during summer workouts. That's when the real leaders take over, especially at quarterback. That cycle then restarts at the beginning of fall camp.

What happened this spring means something, but it doesn't mean everything, and if Del Rio is eligible to play this fall, he'll make things very interesting under center for the Gators.

The fact of the matter is that no one knows if Del Rio could be an offensive savior for the Gators. He couldn't make it at Oregon State, which ranked seventh in the Pac-12 in passing (275.4 yards per game) and was dead last in the conference in passing touchdowns (15) last year. Even Florida had more touchdown passes (18).

But his presence could breed better competition, which is something the Gators desperately need at quarterback if this offense is going to get off the ground in McElwain's first year.