Like all fallen college football empires, the Florida Gators exist in a permanent limbo of whether or not they're capital-b Back. From 2018 through 2020, the Gators seemed poised to reclaim their rightful perch atop the SEC, ripping off three straight New Year's Six bowl appearance under offensive mastermind Dan Mullen. Last season, the Gators were decidedly un-Back, collapsing under the exacting compulsions of meddlesome worry-wort Dan Mullen. And now, led by first-year starting quarterback Anthony Richardson, the Gators could be one of the most exciting teams in all of college football.
Despite languishing on the bench during his first two years in Gainesville, Richardson is on the warpath to prove that he can go toe-to-toe with any quarterback or team in the country. During last week's upset of #7 Utah, Richardson threw for 168 yards and added another 106 yards and three touchdowns on the ground—of the Gators' 451 yards, Richardson personally accounted for nearly 60 percent of them.
Despite having the nondescript name of the lead in a rom-com, Richardson is one of the most visibly and viscerally gifted quarterbacks of recent memory. Whereas guys like Tom Brady or Joe Burrow require some level of nuance to fully appreciate, you can understand why Richardson is considered a top 10 pick in next year's NFL Draft simply by looking at him. At 6'4, 235-pounds, Richardson is roughly the same size as big quarterbacks like Josh Allen and Cam Newton who routinely bulldoze linemen. The key difference between Richardson and Allen or Newton, though, is that Richardson is much faster—his 4.5 second 40 yard dash trounces Allen (4.76 seconds) or Newton (4.6 second seconds).
Even against a team as good as Utah, Anthony Richardson was clearly the best player on the field. It's easy to see how he's skyrocketed from 204th in the class of 2019 to a probable top ten pick (maybe even top five if you feel spicy) in next spring's NFL Draft. His tools are so rare and so powerful that it barely even matters that he's started a grand total of one game at Florida so far.