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Graham Mertz will rock the 15 jersey this season for the Florida Gators.
Mertz transferred to Gainesville after several disappointing seasons under center in Madison. Despite being the chosen son of the Wisconsin Badgers, he just couldn’t get it together.
The Badgers failed to play in a single major bowl game under Mertz or win the Big Ten West during his time as the team’s starter. After throwing 38 touchdowns to 26 interceptions in three seasons of starting action, Mertz smashed the reset but and headed to UF.
Now, he’ll wear the same number Tim Tebow made famous for the Gators, and that’s a BOLD decision.
Graham Mertz will wear the same number as Florida legend Tim Tebow.
Tim Tebow won two national titles during his time with the Gators, the Heisman Trophy and was an absolutely bully of a dual-threat QB during his time in college. He did it all wearing the number 15. When you see a 15 Florida jersey, you think of Tim Tebow. Yes, others have worn it, including Anthony Richardson, but it’s Tebow’s number. He will forever own it.
Now, when you see it in 2023, fans will be thinking of Graham Mertz.
When asked if Mertz wearing 15 might be a message from head coach Billy Napier, Mertz responded with, “You could say that,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.
However, Mertz ultimately also admitted the number he wears isn’t his main focus. He told the press, “There wasn’t really any expectations (about a number) because I’m here to just do my job.”
Mertz did note the 15 number made famous by Tebow is certainly “bigger” than him.
Will Mertz reset his career at Florida?
As a Wisconsin man, nobody is cheering for Mertz to turn his career around more than the good people of the Badger State.
It didn’t work in Madison. It happens. Not everything is a good fit. Mertz, despite having a ton of raw potential, just couldn’t get any momentum rolling in Madison after his first game.
It’d be great to see him light things up with the Gators. There shouldn’t be any hard feelings on either side.
Having said that, letting Graham Mertz wearing 15 is a bold move. Implying it might have been a message from Billy Napier is just as bold.
What kind of message? That Graham Mertz can restore Florida to glory like Tim Tebow? Mertz completed at least 60% of his passes in just four games last season.
There were three games he completed under 50% of his passes, including a 27.8% performance against Maryland. Mertz and Tebow shouldn’t ever be thought of in the same sentence or breath.
I sincerely hope Graham Mertz finds the success he couldn’t in Madison now that he has a new team. However, unless he gives fans a Heisman caliber season, this is a ridiculous situation.