Gators QB Jeff Driskel transfers to Louisiana Tech, ends bowl game on field for Florida

By Adam Silverstein
January 4, 2015

Updated on Monday at 10:50 a.m.

Florida Gators redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel knew at the end of the regular season, with a new coaching staff taking over, that it would be his best bet to play the final year of his collegiate career elsewhere.

But he did not announce that decision immediately, choosing instead to remain with the teammates he has played beside for the last four years as they took on East Carolina in the 2015 Birmingham Bowl.

However, minutes before the game began, new head coach Jim McElwain officially let the cat out of the bag, telling gathered media members that Driskel had asked for his release, a request the coach did not think twice about granting.

“We all have choices,” he told multiple reporters in attendance at the bowl game, “and I’m not going to hold him hostage.”


Driskel, relegated to a reserve role since Nov. 1, watched as freshman QB Treon Harris started the contest. He was inserted rather early in the game with Florida backed up near its own goal line but was not expecting to see much action overall. But injuries to Harris (elbow, knee) put Driskel back in the contest, and a decision by interim coach D.J. Durkin kept him there for the duration of the game.

Though he did not lead the Gators on a scoring drive in a handful of consecutive opportunities, Driskel took care of the ball. He completed 8-of-17 passes for 48 yards (at least three of his attempts were dropped by would-be pass catchers) and helped ice the victory for Florida on its final offensive series with a nine-yard bootleg run on third down.

Durkin offered praise for Driskel’s effort during his post-game press conference.

“I think it was outstanding,” he said.

“I think it says a lot about him as a person, too, the amount of adversity he’s had to go through in his career. To be honest with you, I don’t know if I could last through that, what he’s going through, especially at his age. It just says a lot about him; it says a lot about our team. Our guys still believed in him; he believed in his teammates.

“I’m just very happy for him how it all worked out. He was able to go in there, play in the game and able to help us get a win.”

Up next for Driskel is finding a new program to call home. He graduated in the fall and will be eligible to play immediately, meaning Driskel will assuredly be searching for a starting opportunity as he vets those interested in his services.

Update: Driskel has decided to transfer to Louisiana Tech. He should step in as a starter for the Bulldogs, which lost their primary signal caller to graduation.

“There have been rumors going around that I am going to leave the University of Florida and transfer to Louisiana Tech University for my fifth and final year of eligibility. This is indeed true, and I look forward to the upcoming chapter of my life,” Driskel said in a school release. “I have nothing but good things to say about the University of Florida and the football program there.

“I am grateful for the opportunities that have been presented to me over the course of the past four years. Although things did not play out on the field as I would have liked, I have no regrets on the choice I made to attend UF. Again, I appreciate everything that my coaches, teammates, strength coaches, athletic trainers, equipment staff, academic staff, fans, and the University of Florida have done for me.”

A former five-star prospect, Driskel ends his time at Florida with a 23-to-20 passing touchdown-to-interception ratio, 11-to-13 over the last two seasons. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes, averaging 10.4 yards per completion. He also scored nine rushing touchdowns and averaged 2.9 yards per carry due to the high number of sacks he took.

Harris and classmate Will Grier are expected to compete for the Gators’ starting job in 2015. Grier will received a redshirt for the 2014 season after not stepping on the field.

10 Comments

  1. Oldflyer says:

    The one line discussing Saturday’s performance was most telling: “at least three of his attempts were dropped by would-be pass catchers”.

    Another significant line was: “He also scored nine rushing touchdowns and averaged 2.9 yards per carry due to the high number of sacks he took”.

    Best of luck Jeff. I do hope that you can find a team where you will have a chance to succeed..

  2. Mac_Supporter says:

    Things just didn’t work out well in Florida for him. Good luck to him wherever he ends up. I am sure we all have more negative things to say about him, but we must move on as he is moving on.

  3. JW says:

    Anyone feels the uniform for buffalo bills, LA tech, and gators are somewhat alike. I notice this couple of years ago.

  4. Ken (CA) says:

    Whatever else people think. Driskel has been a class act from day 1. He didn’t immediately quit on his teammates and start thinking NFL as soon as WM was fired, he kept his counsel to himself and waited to announce until it was a more appropriate time. Even though word got out early, it wasn’t because he jumped out and announced it to everyone. I hope he does well at Duke and has a successful final season. He is heading into a good situation both on the team and in the school itself. Very surprised he chose La Tech rather than Duke, since Duke lost their senior QB as well and an experienced QB with some familiarity to their system would have been good as well.

    • JW says:

      I totally agree with you on his class and not quit personality. But NFL? r u kidding me, John Brantley is better than Driskel and not get a share in NFL. Also Duke does not automatically guarantee him a position, who knows, LA tech may be the only one made offer to Driskel.

      But anyway, good luck to Driskel, you did nothing wrong, especially in this day and age when steal and rape became more common for quarterbacks.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        I wasn’t talking about him going to the NFL, I am talking about the kids that announced as soon as WM was fired that they were gone to the draft. He left with class, unlike those guys who basically said “screw you guys” right then when they could have waited until a more appropriate time once the season was over.

  5. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Good luck Jeff – hoping you get a Masters degree that will help in your future endeavors!

  6. GatorKen says:

    best of luck to him. Sucks that he had to deal with terrible coaching and WRs and OL who didn’t play hard. Hopefully he will ball out at LA Tech and show why he was a top recruit. Meanwhile I am glad UF and Driskel are moving in different directions. Best for all involved.

  7. Michael Jones says:

    Can’t say that I blame the kid. I hope that he sets the world on fire. Good luck, Jeff! Thank you for all you did and for all you endured, and all of it with class and humility!!

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