‘Play Maker’ could be the nickname for Kadarius Toney, but in essence he is much more than that. The newest prized commitment for the Florida Gators has a lot going for him, but you can’t help but notice what he does with the ball.
“He’s dynamic,” Garcia started in when asked to describe what he has seen from the young man. “I think that’s the best way to describe him. Whether you’re talking about as a leader, as a passer, and certainly as a runner, he’s a dynamic kid and a point guard out there. You want the ball in his hands whether he will be the distributor or the aggressor.
“I saw him go against top defense after top defense and he was able to neutralize just about anything you threw at him. If you rushed him with extra guys, he was able to throw one-on-one. If you sat back, he obviously would take off and really make people look stupid. His short area quickness is arguably the best in the entire state of Alabama regardless of position and it’s a great year in the state, there are 19 4-stars in Alabama”
The Florida Gators have afforded Toney the chance to try out at quarterback when he arrives on campus. They accepted his commitment as an athlete that could play multiple positions, but he wants that shot and Garcia understands why.
“The only knock is that he isn’t the biggest cat in the world,” Garcia said. “He’s just under 6-foot and 180 pounds. If he was 6-foot-2, he would be easily a top 100 guy in the country and a prized quarterback recruit from coast to coast. His arm is strong enough and can be accurate with all his throws. In the one game I really saw him compete and took his team to the playoffs, he made every single throw… deep ball, bubble screens, slant underneath, under duress, taking hits. Once he took off with the football it was a whole different level. I think that is the real reason people like him as an athlete. It’s that he has that ability. It’s not that he can’t pass… it’s that he’s such a good runner with the ball in his hands. He’s so quick that it’s just so attractive and easy to fall in love with.
"He’s a dynamic kid and one who I believe had he not committed tonight, or it still could happen, he is a guy that could add a lot of offers going forward. You just see him (in person) and evaluate him and you really like him and I expect schools to be the same way. That’s really what’s happened since November, he’s become one of the hottest kids in Alabama over that span.”
Garcia noted that it was pretty ironic that Toney grew up a Cam Newton fan and committed to the same school that Newton did out of high school. It was very important that the Gators give him that shot at the same position.
“He wants to play quarterback, that’s his preferred position,” Garcia said. “He’s open to receiver or defensive back, but quarterback is his preference. I wouldn’t say he would turn away from schools that don’t want him to play quarterback, but that is what he wants to hear at this juncture. He thinks he can play with anybody and you can make the argument that he could play in any system.”
Outside of his athletic exploits, Toney also has a lot of other things going for him.
“He’s a great kid, really humble… he’s a leader,” Garcia said.
“That team had a lot of D-1 guys last year when he was a junior and he was unquestionably the leader. He’s probably the big reason that program has turned around. They had a first year head coach and new everything last year and were still able to win 10 games in Mobile. The team wasn’t supposed to be very good last year and he sort of willed them to double-digit wins and a playoff run and now has their expectations extremely high.
“He’s a humble kid and a leader. He’s a guy that kids want to be around and obviously want to play with.”