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BREAKING: QB Treon Harris to start Saturday's opener

GAINESVILLE -- Florida has finally named a starting quarterback.

Sort of.

Sophomore Treon Harris, a former star at Booker T. Washington, will start in Saturday's season-opener against New Mexico State (7:30 p.m, SEC Network).

“It was really close,” UF coach Jim McElwain said.

And the battle isn't over.

Harris (somewhat) surprisingly edged out redshirt freshman Will Grier, who exited spring practice with a slight lead in the competition.

“Somebody has got to take the first snap,” McElwain insisted. 

"I wouldn't read too much into it."

Too late. 

Harris took all the first-team reps during the open fastball periods Tuesday and Wednesday, causing some to wonder if he'd already be tabbed the starter. The sophomore was 4-2 in six starts in 2014, totaling 12 touchdowns while completing just 49 percent of his passes. The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder is a slippery athlete, but last season's accuracy concerns have persisted in camp.

However, Harris' experience, elusiveness and playmaking skills could provide a steadier presence behind Florida's inexperienced offensive line. 

McElwain also praised Harris’ ability to “affect the people around [him] in a positive way.”

Still, Harris hasn't seized control of the starting job. Grier shined early in training camp before losing his grip on the job. With Wednesday's announcement, Harris simple earned the right to play the first "three or four" series Saturday against the Aggies.  

“Treon’s going to start the football game. Will’s going to play in that game a lot, too," McElwain said.

"It’s a painting in progress. We’ve got to figure out what the backdrop is going to be.”

McElwain didn't reveal his plan to rotate the quarterbacks, but he did say both signal callers have a scripted set of plays for Saturday.

“If a guy is 11 for 11 you’re not going to take the shooter out,” he said.

"Both of them are deserving. Both of them had a really good spring and fall and we're excited about seeing those guys play. … They'll both have their set of first eight and move it kind of that way as we work forward."

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton




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