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Gators quarterback Graham Mertz plans to return in 2024

Wisconsin transfer teases 'Unfinished Business'
Florida Gators QB Graham Mertz vs. Vanderbilt Commodores, Oct. 7, 2023
Posted at 11:23 PM, Nov 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-30 23:26:46-05

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida quarterback Graham Mertz is coming back for his final year of college eligibility and giving coach Billy Napier some offensive consistency heading into 2024.

Mertz, a three-year starter at Wisconsin who transferred to Florida in January, made the announcement on social media Thursday with a short video titled "Unfinished Business."

Mertz completed 72.9% of his passes this season for 2,903 yards, with 20 touchdown passes and just three interceptions. He broke his left collarbone during a Nov. 18 loss at Missouri and missed the team's regular-season finale against rival Florida State.

Mertz will turn 23 next month and should, at the very least, be a helpful mentor to DJ Lagway, a five-star recruit committed to signing with the Gators for a year. Mertz also could end up being Florida's starting quarterback again.

Florida Gators QB Graham Mertz hands off football to running back Trevor Etienne in first half at Missouri Tigers, Nov. 18, 2023
Florida quarterback Graham Mertz hands off to running back Trevor Etienne during the first half against Missouri, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, in Columbia, Mo.

With Mertz running the show, the Gators made offensive strides as the season progressed. After averaging just 19 points a game in its first four games against teams from the Football Bowl Subdivision, Florida averaged 33.5 over its next six.

The Gators (5-7) finished seventh in the Southeastern Conference in passing yards (259.3 a game) and sixth in efficiency (153.68 rating). But they also lacked big plays: 14 completions of at least 30 yards, which ranked 13th in the league.