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Florida QB Graham Mertz Returning for 2024 Season

Gators redshirt junior quarterback Graham Mertz will return to Florida for a second season in 2024, he announced

Gators quarterback Graham Mertz on Thursday announced via Instagram that he will return for his redshirt senior campaign and a second season with Florida.

“One more year,” Mertz wrote, adding the hashtagged message “Unfinished business.”

Mertz left Wisconsin, where he signed in the recruiting class of 2019, to enter the transfer portal following the conclusion of the 2022 regular season and the firing of head coach Paul Chryst.

He made 34 appearances and 32 starts over four seasons with the Badgers, tossing for 5,405 yards, 38 touchdowns and 26 interceptions with a completion rate of 59.5%. Wisconsin went 19-13 with Mertz as its starting quarterback.

But it was with the Gators where the Overland Park, Kan. native and former consensus No. 3 quarterback in the country flourished as a collegiate passer, offering routine glimmers of hope for Florida as it endured its third losing season in a row.  

Mertz finished his first season in orange and blue having completed 72.9% of his 358 passes for 2,903 yards, 20 touchdowns and just three interceptions in 11 games, reaching career highs in the former trio of categories and a career low in the latter statistic. He added four touchdowns rushing on the year.

The campaign was cut short by a nondisplaced fractured left collarbone suffered in Week 12 against Missouri. Florida went 5-5 in games Mertz finished and was losing at No. 9 Missouri by just two points, 23-21, when his injury occurred. The Tigers went on to win, 33-31. 

Mertz reached 300+ passing yards in a single game thrice in 2023, against Utah, South Carolina and LSU, after not meeting the mark once during his time at Wisconsin. He attempted a program-best 239 passes in between his second and third interceptions of the campaign, breaking Tim Tebow‘s former record of 203 amid UF’s matchup with the Tigers. 

For his efforts on the campaign, Mertz was named to the Davey O’Brien Award watch list and Quarterback Class of 2023. His consistently efficient production warranted speculation regarding his 2024 NFL Draft prospects, although any such discussion can conclude following Mertz’s Thursday announcement. 

“I think he left everything out on the field,” Florida receiver Ricky Pearsall said of Mertz on Nov. 20. 

Mertz is the second draft-eligible Gators player to announce their return to Florida for the 2024 season, following senior defensive tackle Cam Jackson‘s Wednesday announcement

Source: All Gators