Why Florida quarterback Emory Jones is Alabama football's most interesting Week 3 opponent

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Florida quarterback Emory Jones is a Dan Mullen guy.

Look no further than how Jones ended up with the Gators.

He had more than a dozen Power 5 offers as a 2018 dual-threat quarterback, the first of which he received from Mississippi State when Mullen was coach there. Jones made a commitment to Ohio State, though.

Then, Mullen took the Florida job. And he was able to bring Jones with him with an offer just weeks before signing day in December.

“It was just crazy how God put that in front of me for coach Mullen to come back in my life at this time,” Jones said in December 2017. “He offered me my first scholarship, so it’s crazy for me.”

Four years later, he’s expected to be Mullen’s starter at quarterback and could very well face Alabama the third week of the season.

Throughout the summer, The Tuscaloosa News is taking a look at an interesting player or person around each Alabama football opponent: not necessarily the best, the worst or the most important person. Instead, the focus for this series will be on who's interesting. 

PART 1:Meet the most interesting player for Alabama's Week 1 opponent, Miami's Zach McCloud

PART 2:Meet Alabama football opponent Alvin Ward Jr. of Mercer, who plays trumpet and taught himself piano and guitar

Sure, Jones fits the important label as well. He’s expected to be the starting quarterback, after all, and much of the Gators’ success will stem from his success. But "interesting" can also be used to describe the junior quarterback and what he has in front of him.

He’s interesting because after all this time with Florida, it remains unclear what exactly he can do. He’s only seen spot duty, and despite all of the hype he’s unproven. Jones has the potential to be an electric player in the SEC, but he could also flop.

Florida Gators quarterback Emory Jones (5) rushes the ball for a first down in the first quarter of the 2020 SEC Football Championship at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on Saturday, December 19, 2020. [Matt Pendleton/Special to the Sun]

He will be replacing Kyle Trask, who led a top-flight Florida offense in 2020. The transition from Trask to Jones doesn’t directly mirror Alabama’s switch from Mac Jones to Bryce Young this season, but there are some similarities beyond the fact that they both involve players with the last name Jones.

Both Trask and Alabama's Jones leave behind significant voids as No. 1 and No. 2 in passing touchdowns in the nation in 2020, respectively. The two new projected starters are similar in that they won’t likely play the position like their predecessors.

Both Florida’s Jones and Young are dual-threat quarterbacks. They can create just as much damage with their legs as their arms, particularly Young.

Jones has rushed for six touchdowns the past two seasons with limited playing time in special packages. It’s clear he can provide a threat for the Gators with his legs, but he only has provided glimpses of what he can do with his arm.

Jones is trying his best to set himself up for success. He has worked with Quincy Avery, who has trained Jalen Hurts, Trey Lance, Justin Fields and others.

For Jones to succeed at a high level in college football, he needs an opportunity. And he has one. 

As to what he does with it will be interesting to follow.