Mike Leach’s ability to groom quarterbacks, coupled with Gardner Minshew’s historic 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 consecutive transfer quarterback and 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 actually is pondering a transfer to WSU, however, and the source said the former 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 WSU 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 appeared in only 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 of playing my final year elsewhere.”
The quarterbacks name hit the transfer portal the same day and 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 Louisiana State.
Once a four-star prospect, Franks had offers from Florida, Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Georgia, Florida State and many others. The Crawfordville, Fla., product became the Gators’ starter in 2017, throwing for 1,438 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions in eight starts, before drastically improving his numbers in 2018 when he threw for 2,457 yards with 24 touchdowns and just six picks in Mullen’s first season. Franks had completed 54 of 71 passes for 698 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions this season in victories over Miami, Tennessee-Martin and Kentucky before his injury.
Franks’ mobility also could be an intriguing addition to Leach’s offense. The quarterback has 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 market, telling reporters during bowl practice, “We’ll see what’s out there. See what’s happening.”
WSU’s grad transfer quarterbacks have had mixed results. Minshew had a record-setting season after leaving East Carolina for WSU in 2018, but 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 former Eastern Washington standout played in just two games as a backup.