Gators name QB Feleipe Franks as Week 1 starter; RB, WR latest to be suspended

Culture problems at Florida? (2:01)

The College Football Live crew breaks down the state of Florida football following the suspension of its eighth player, WR James Robinson, on Aug. 28. (2:01)

No. 17 Florida has named redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks the starting quarterback for its season opener against No. 11 Michigan, but the Gators also will be without two more players Saturday in Texas.

Franks, who will make his first career start, beat out incumbent starter Luke Del Rio, the son of Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio, and Notre Dame transfer Malik Zaire. Del Rio started six games last season before sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury in November. Zaire joined the competition in June and still could see time in short-yardage and goal-line situations.

Earlier Wednesday, Florida indefinitely suspended starting running back Jordan Scarlett and wide receiver Rick Wells.

Their suspensions are related to those of seven other Florida players, including star wide receiver Antonio Callaway, for making improper charges on their student IDs at the school bookstore and then selling those items for cash, school officials told ESPN.

"I didn't expect these," Florida coach Jim McElwain said of the suspensions later Wednesday. "I don't expect any more. But at the same time, if there is, it will be dealt with. Some places, who knows? You might try to figure it out. And yet, at the end of the day, the positive is we're going to handle what it is and not run and hide.

"As I said before, there are some guys who are going to step up and play their tails off. That will be fun to watch."

Scarlett, who practiced Tuesday, and Wells are suspended from all team activities and will not travel for the game Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET on ABC) at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Florida now has suspended 10 players for at least the season opener. Freshman wide receiver James Robinson was suspended this week after he was cited for marijuana possession earlier this month. Five of the 10 players have been in trouble before, including Scarlett and Wells.

McElwain said he did not foresee any potential NCAA violations. He even invited NCAA investigators to visit.

"One of the things when you do discipline and you call it out and you say it as it is, that's when usually people go in," he said. "I invite them in: 'Come on.' The one thing I do know is we're going to handle it, and we're going to handle it right."

McElwain said he had "a nice discussion" with his players following the initial suspensions, but he stopped short of saying Scarlett and Wells could face more punishment if they tried to cover up their roles in the scam.

"They're in trouble," he said. "I don't know what more is or what less is. What you hope is you learn from the lesson."

Maj. Brad Barber, spokesman for the University of Florida Police Department, confirmed to ESPN's Mark Schlabach on Wednesday that the department had one active investigation into allegations of credit card fraud involving UF players. Barber didn't immediately know how many or which players were involved, and he said an incident report wouldn't be available for a while since it was an open investigation.

Franks, from a small town south of Tallahassee, ended spring practice as the clear-cut starter, but McElwain opened the competition once Del Rio and Zaire joined the mix.

"I think the big thing is the whole body of work from spring on," McElwain said. "Him being there, being a part of that, I think he was a little bit ahead. And you know what, he deserves it. He's done a really good job. Not to say the other guys didn't. ... At this point, he's done a good job and we're excited for him."

The Gators have started 10 quarterbacks since Tim Tebow's departure in 2009, and none of them has proven to be a long-term solution for the team. Florida took another step back in 2016, dropping from 112th to 116th in the nation in yards and 100th to 107th in scoring. The Gators ranked last in the Southeastern Conference in total offense.

It's Franks' turn now.

"He was excited," McElwain said. "I mean, obviously the other guys were disappointed, and yet the other guys were also there to be supportive. They've been in those situations. It's not like they're not going to be ready to play. I think when you look at the full body of work, you know he deserved it."

Information from the Associated Press contributed to reporting.