From the start, Florida coach Dan Mullen has stressed that one quality that he looks for the most in his quarterback is leadership ability.

It appears Feleipe Franks has got it.

In a recent vote among the players, Franks was the quarterback elected as one of the team’s eight leaders to serve on a leadership council that will work as a conduit between players and coaches.

"I think it shows that they have belief in him as a leader,” Mullen said. “We do a lot of different things to get the leadership council vote. We do it by class, by position, by skill, that type of deal. It's position specific.

“For him it's something that just shows that he's on the right path with his actions and how he carries himself and what he does because the team believed enough to vote him as a leader because he was doing things the right way. Hopefully that's a big push for him football-wise, getting out there that you know you have the support of your teammates."

The others on the council are defensive end Cece Jefferson, offensive tackle Martez Ivey, tight end C’yontai Lewis, defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, linebacker David Reese, athlete R.J. Raymond and wide receiver Josh Hammond.

“It feels good,” Franks said. “I’ve always wanted to lead the team and be that guy that can bring us to a championship.

“It doesn’t seem that way, the way last year went. But we’ve closed that book. I had a little reflection period and what I could have done and moved forward.

“It’s just a fresh start to what I can do and what these guys can do going forward.”

Davis out, others limited

Sophomore tailback Malik Davis is still recovering from knee surgery and likely will miss most of the spring, Mullen said. Several other players will be limited due to injuries.

“Malik Davis won’t be doing much,” Mullen said. “(Defensive tackle) Kyree Campbell is going to be out for a little bit of spring. And (offensive guard) Brett Heggie, he’s still out a little bit.”

Junior defensive end Keivonnis Davis, who sustained serious injuries in a scooter accident last fall, has returned and is participating in limited workouts.

“Keivonnis will not be back for spring. He’s just recovered and started to work out,” Mullen said. “He’s probably behind all those other guys and just getting into working out. There’s actually positive hope that he might be able to make it back.”

Watkins a CB?

True freshman Justin Watkins, a two-way star in high school, likely is going to start his UF career on defense instead of at wide receiver, Mullen said. Watkins enrolls this summer.

“Justin and I talked the other day. I think he might start at corner,” Mullen said. That’s changed here or there, a couple different times. I said, ‘Hey, we come to meetings, you get here the first day, you split into positional meetings. Where are you going to go?

“It’s like, “Wherever you want me to go, coach.’ I said, ‘I’m not going to tell you where to go. I want to see where you feel most comfortable.’

Mullen said Watkins has a chance to excel wherever he ends up lining up.

“When you look at a guy that’s a phenomenal athlete and has all the positional flexibility he has, I kind of say — where do you feel most comfortable?” he said.

Burney a linebacker?

Another talented true freshman, early enrollee Amari Burney, will open the spring at safety, but could eventually grow into a linebacker. He’s currently listed as 6-foot-1, 224 pounds on the spring roster.

“He can do an awful lot,” Mullen said. “You watch him as a high school player, he played everything. He played everywhere on the field. I think he’s played safety. He’s going to start out at safety. But physically, you look at him as a younger guy that has potential to grow into being an inside linebacker, potentially a nickel/star type of player for us.

“There’s obviously a lot of potential and flexibility that he has. His physical development and size and where he gets to will kind of determine where he ends up, but I think his athleticism gives him the flexibility to play three, four different positions on the defense.”