It is hardly a secret that Florida Gators redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel is planning on playing football at another school in 2015 after losing his starting job this past season, especially considering a brand new coaching staff is about to be put into place.
When Driskel will officially make that decision, and determine to which school he plans to transfer, are greater unknowns.
According to the Raleigh News & Observer, Driskel has “sent a release” to the Duke Blue Devils allowing the program to contact him about football playing opportunities.
An early enrollee who completed his fourth year of study at Florida in the fall, Driskel would transfer as a graduate student and be eligible to play immediately at whatever institution he chooses.
Duke happens to make a lot of sense for Driskel considering he spent the last season learning a version of its offence under former Blue Devils turned Gators offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.
Roper was Driskel’s third offensive coordinator in four seasons, but the two seemingly got along quite well with Roper praising Driskel in the offseason and early in the regular season. New Florida coach Jim McElwain will not retain Roper as his offensive coordinator – the Gators announced the hiring of Doug Nussmeier this week – and Roper reuniting with long-time mentor David Cutcliffe at Duke is certainly a possibility.
Driskel was a backup during his freshman campaign but took over as Florida’s starter in 2012, leading the Gators to an 11-2 record despite only throwing for 12 touchdowns on the season. Two poor performances in neutral-site games against Georgia and Louisville led many to wonder if Driskel had what it took to lead Florida long-term.
He got progressively worse during his final two seasons with the Gators. Florida went 1-1 in the two full game he started in 2013, defeating Toledo before losing a very winnable game at Miami as Driskel coughed the ball up three times in the game. He was then injured in UF’s third contest of the season, breaking his ankle while throwing a pick six at home against Tennessee.
Driskel returned as starter in 2014, going 3-3 in six games with a 6-to-10 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He also committed a number of fumbles and was inaccurate with the ball, ending the season with a 54.4 completion percentage.
If he has played his last game with the Gators, Driskel went out on a high note in that contest, completing 9-of-11 passes for 164 yards with four total touchdowns as a reserve in a 52-3 win over Eastern Kentucky.
Upon his transfer, Driskel will be the third quarterback to leave Florida in as many offseasons. Tyler Murphy, who replaced Driskel as starter in 2013 and played admirably well before getting injured, transferred to Boston College to play for his primary recruiter at UF, Steve Addazio. Jacoby Brissett, who was in the same Gators recruiting class as Driskel, transferred one year prior to NC State.
Murphy led BC to a 7-5 record this season with an upset win over USC. He totaled 21 touchdowns (11 throwing, 10 rushing) against 10 interceptions, completed 56.9 percent of his passes and rushed for 1,079 yards (6.3 per carry). Brissett went 8-5 at NC State, tossing 23 touchdowns to just five interceptions while completing 59.7 percent of his passes for 2,606 yards. He also rushed for 529 yards and three scores and led his team to a 34-27 victory over UCF in the St. Petersburg Bowl.
Photo Credit: Butch Dill/Associated Press