Bucs’ Rookie Quarterback To Focus On “Trask” At Hand

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When you are born, raised, and ultimately play football in a hotbed of Division 1 talent like Manvel, Texas, it’s in your blood. It is also in your sweat, tears, and competitive nature. All of which only begins to explain the quarterback that is Kyle Trask.

Commitment

There were other high schools there in Texas. A player with Trask’s tools could easily have started at numerous other schools in the area. When current Miami Hurricanes quarterback D’Eriq King got to Manvel, he was eighth on the depth chart. Kyle Trask was third. But this isn’t a story about egos, power trips, or self pity. The Trask story is one of devotion, endurance, and commitment.

With no offers at any of the big programs to play quarterback beyond high school, it took a chance visit by a University of Florida defensive coach to put Kyle Trask on the Gator radar. After returning to Gainesville, he told offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier about this quarterback he’d seen at Manvel. With a lot of turnover at the quarterback position, the Gators were looking for two quarterbacks in 2015.

Belief

Doug Nussmeier, who is currently the quarterbacks coach for the Dallas Cowboys, checked in on Trask. Big, strong kid with great feet. Can make every throw on the field. Very powerful, very accurate. But how do you sell a guy who wasn’t even the starting quarterback on his high school squad? Even if it’s a DI factory such as Manvel High School?

Kyle Trask was invited to a June camp in Gainesville. The live action matched the tape, but coaches needed to see more.

So Nussmeier proposed getting Trask on campus once more. This time, it was for Florida’s Friday Night Lights camp. It’s an annual showcase that draws top-flight talent from all around.

“I wanted to see him in an environment where he’s going for a couple of hours against the best,” Nussmeier said. So, on June 25, 2015, Trask made the return trip to Gainesville.

Faith

Not only did he hold his own among the elite players invited to the camp. He shined. The Gators didn’t hesitate. The very next day, head coach Jim McElwain offered Trask a scholarship. An offer the young man accepted. Suddenly the backup quarterback from Manvel High School was on everybody’s radar.

Even before arriving that fall. The Gators had flipped Feleipe Franks from LSU. With Power 5 programs now wondering what effect this might have on Trask’s commitment to UF, they would be disappointed. “These are the guys who showed interest in me, took a chance on me, I’m not wavering,” Trask said. The consummate team player, Trask would work, and study, and prepare for his time – should it ever come. Which eventually it did when Feleipe Franks went down with an ankle injury in 2019.

Welcome Aboard

In 2020, Kyle Trask was a beast. The first game of the season, he eclipsed his own record passing for 416 yards and six touchdowns against Ole Miss. Later on, he threw for 474 yards and four touchdowns against a Georgia team that was ranked No. 4, at the time. Trask became the first SEC quarterback to throw for four touchdowns in five consecutive games. At one point, he was the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.

Trask would finish the season setting the Power 5’s single-season passing touchdown record at 43 touchdowns. It broke the record previously set by Danny Weurffel in 1996.

The Buccaneers drafted Trask at No. 64 in last week’s NFL draft. Trask is named after Kyle Field, the stadium at Texas A&M, the college where his mother, father, and quite a bit of his family attended. Trask will one day get his chance to continue to prove all those people wrong who wrote him off as a backup quarterback in Manvel.

A great career here in Tampa Bay might even get his name up in the Buccaneer Ring of Honor, one day. But they will never change the name of the stadium to Kyle, or Trask stadium. That’s because it will already be named “Tom Brady Stadium”. So don’t get any ideas, rookie.

h/t to ESPN and Sam Khan Jr. (who now writes for The Athletic) for the story

 

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