Report: Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel considering transfer to Duke

By Adam Silverstein
December 27, 2014

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

34 Comments

  1. senuod says:

    Hope he excels wherever he ends up. It would definitely be bitter sweet, but he’s a good kid. It’s crazy how much offensive talent at the qb position we haven’t developed over the last four years.

    Hopefully, this will be the last time we see a heralded recruit not pan out at such an important position with an offensive minded coach at the helm.

  2. Aligator says:

    Sweet!

  3. Just Want A Change says:

    Adam, is that an indictment on the coaching staff and it’s inability to develop talent?

    Man, I just don’t get it. I watch some of these other teams use so many different personnel sets and we have had people like Adam Lane, Alvin Bailey, Chris Thompson, CJ Whorton who can’t get any time. Are you telling me they are that bad???

    • Is what an indictment? Having three quarterbacks transfer? Not really…choosing Driskel over Brissett might have been. Murphy was a senior and wanted to play in his final season; he made the right move.

      • Mac_Supporter says:

        Yes, I was talking about the QB transfers as being an indictment.

        I know we have a new coach now and I am not in anyway bashing Muschamp (I really like that guy), but Adam, what were Muschamp’s biggest mistakes at Florida besides Weis and his love for Driskell?

        • Daniel M. says:

          That’s a great question.

          Champ’s biggest mistakes in order IMHO:
          1) Choosing Driskel over Brissett. JB is tearing it up and Champ would probably still be in UF’s employ had he gone the other way with that decision.
          2) O-line recruiting. Regardless of particular players who stood out (?), the Gators have only eight offensive lineman on scholarship right now. That, more than anything, will hinder Mac. It’s inexcusable.
          3) Weis/Pease. It’s impossible to pinpoint exactly what was so embarrassingly wrong with those relationships since we’re not privy to their private workings, but oh man was the play calling bad.
          4) My wild card mistake is Champ’s wild-eyed tantrums on the sideline. Constantly battling officials made him look foolish and simple. It suggested to me that he didn’t really grasp the chess-match coaching nuances that HC’s and coordinators are always looking for. How can you be focused on out-coaching the other guy when you are busy having an aneurism? FAIL!

          What do you guys think?

          • Mac_Supporter says:

            #1 has to be the mentality that the “pound and ground” or “ground and pound” was the way to go. That just cannot be successful in the SEC nor is a good fit for Florida and its athletes
            #2 has to be the Weis hire
            #3 assistant coaching hires because player development has not been good particularly WRs, QBs, Oline with the exception of this year b/c I believe Summers did an awesome job

            I appreciate Muschamp for “fixing” the program in terms of behavior and off the field issues, but change needed to happen.

          • Michael Jones says:

            That’s actually a decent analysis. In fairness, no one could see the Brissett thing coming because by all accounts Driskel was always a pretty good practice QB. But, yeah, Brissett appears to be head-and-shoulders the better QB at this point. But I think it also speaks to the coaching that Driskel received that Brissett didn’t look anything like he does now when he was filling in for Driskel here at UF. I didn’t even recognize him against FSU. Coaching had to play a factor in that metamorphosis.

            I particularly agree with #4. That behavior was not only unclassy and cast UF in a bad light, it also demonstrated an intellectual deficit along with an inability to exercise the kind of control over the big picture situation that is paramount to good head coaching.

            Say what his supporters will, Muschamp basically cracked under the pressure of being a head coach. He just wasn’t built for it.

          • Michael Jones says:

            Bear in mind that when Driskel was injured and Brissett replaced him for awhile during the 11-2 season, Gator Nation did not exactly roar in unison: “Wow! Brissett should be our starting QB instead of Driskel!”

            I would still point to coaching . . or the lack thereof.

    • Dave massey says:

      Driskel wants to play QB in his senior year but would probably be third string at Florida. He has his degree and should just pursue a baseball career as he actually has a potential professional future there.

      He has no pro potential in football no matter how well he does against the weak defenses in the ACC. The pro scouts aren’t suddenly become blind and stupid to his lack of ability to throw accurately and to the right team.

      • Michael Jones says:

        Ha. . that’s funny. Driskel is the best QB on our team right now and will probably start if he hangs around.

  4. Ken (CA) says:

    Whatever happens ultimately playing football for him, certainly can’t argue going to get a free Master’s Degree from Duke. You can certainly do a lot worse in life than that kind of opportunity (from one who got a master’s at NCSU)

  5. SC Gator says:

    Hey, good for him. I’m always in favor of players doing what helps them and transferring to some place he can play vs staying some place he won’t is a smart move. The master from Duke would be icing on the cake.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      Kind of seems to be the issue today. I see it exactly the reverse. Being able to play is the icing on the cake, getting the degree ins the long term life guarantee. Barring something very unusual in his development, even if he has the “NFL caliber” talent, it doesn’t seem like he will have much of a career there if he even is asked to try out.

  6. Michael J. says:

    I feel sorry for Duke. Driskel is a bad quarterback.

    • Oldflyer says:

      What a perfectly crappy thing to say.

      Frankly, no one knows what kind of QB he could have been. We do know that he played behind perfectly awful offensive lines almost his entire career; and with receivers who couldn’t catch a ball with a peach basket (or wouldn’t as some have implied); and that he was hurt multiple times. We will never know how often he took the field in pain.

      We have seen flashes of brilliance; and we have heard him booed by asses in the stands who proclaim themselves to be fans.

      If he was sometimes confused, it is no wonder.

      Good luck Jeff. Wish you the best.

      • Daniel M. says:

        “What a perfectly crappy thing to say.” That was funny. I’m not here to bash Driskel but I have to disagree with you strongly as he came out and laid ostrich size eggs over and over. Throwing consistently crappy passes was nobody’s fault but his no matter how much you distribute blame around to the team. As a collegiate QB, the light has to come on at some point and his blinked but never stayed on. He was also a half second slow in his decision making. He had plenty of time to re-wire his decision making to be quicker and never did. It’s not accurate to say he flashed brilliance. He looked good at times but he generally looked mediocre to really bad. He never looked brilliant. Brilliant QB’s put the correct velocity and touch on the ball. Driskel? No.

        I would love nothing more than to see him go start at Duke and go on a tear through the ACC. It would be highly entertaining and a happy ending to his otherwise dismal college career.

      • Michael J. says:

        “No one knows…?” Everyone knows that Driskel sucked. There are plenty of quarterbacks who play behind a less than stellar line and have inadequate receivers, yet they manage to overcome it. If your offensive line doesn’t give you enough time, you need to get the ball out faster, you need to sense pressure and avoid it, etc. I know of one player who has been harassed greatly going back to the National Championship game against Auburn. Starting with that game, Jameis Winston has not had good protection from his line much more than not, yet he doesn’t use that as an excuse to suck. It’s way past the time for excuses to be made for why Jeff Driskel sucks. He sucks because he is a bad player, period.

    • Timmy T says:

      I’m with Flyer. Jeff wasn’t good enough to play QB at Florida, but it wasn’t because he didn’t try. It wasn’t because he wanted to fail. He gave it his best shot and he did so with class. No need to hate or bash. Best of luck, Jeff.

  7. 305Gator says:

    Not hating on the guy or anything but going to Duke is the best idea he ever had. Maybe playing in the weak arse ACC will allow him to have a decent season. It is not hating to say that at UF the guy stunk up the place it is a fact. Just like it is a fact he got worse every year even with Roper and all the B.S. about the spread being his natural system. I bought into that crap before the season more out of wishful thinking I guess only watch more of the same crap from Driskel. It is amazing how long Muschamp stuck with the guy after such dismal performance, big reason he is not our HC anymore. So it is fitting that Muschamp and Driskel go away together and we can have a fresh start.

  8. Aligator says:

    I am sure like the last two that transferred under Muschamp, Driskell will probably rebound and have a good year. I will be glad for him. It will reinforce the idea that Muschamp sucked at developing any semblance of an offense.

    Don’t be surprised if Roper ends back there too. Getting plugged back into a good system and getting back to winning ways.

  9. Michael Jones says:

    If McElwain talks Driskel into staying, a lot of you Driskel bashers are going to be surprised. 1st of all, I predict he’ll be our starting QB. Secondly, with an actual QB coach instead of what he’s had (not) coaching him up so far, he might finally be able to realize his potential.

    He’s way better than Harris. Not sure about Grier because we haven’t seen him play yet.

    A lot of you have no idea what the hell you’re talking about when you talk about Driskel.

    • Michael J. says:

      Shall I contact your doctor? It appears you need to get back on your meds. McElwain would have to be a lunatic to put back in a guy that is the reason he got the job in the first place. The pitchforks would be out in full force, and justifiably so. I don’t think the new coach is a fool, he knows he could never get away with having Jeff Driskel be the starting quarterback. Can you imagine the ridicule that would be heaped upon Florida if Jeff Driskel was named the starting quarterback going into next season? UF would be the laughingstock of college football. Is that what you want? I can hear the announcers now, laughing out loud at McElwain after Driskel “driskels” another game away. Please take your medication, I’m worried about you.

      • Michael Jones says:

        Being a Nole, I can certainly understand your non-stop campaign against Driskel. You’re still sore over the a–whipping that he helped us put on you in Tally and we most likely would have kicked your butts again this year if he had been quarterbacking and able to hit all of those wide-open WR’s we had against you with a Division I throwing arm.

        You have to remember, Dr. Troll, that you are a troll and, therefore, are ultimately against anything that is good for UF. So, as I’ve said before, your hatred for Driskel is one more reason for me to like him.

        Speaking of medicine, though, I’m looking forward to watching you over-rated powder puffs take some overdo doses of humility in the days to come. That, of course, is when you will crawl back under the ACC rock that you trolls come out from, never to be heard from again. Ha ha ha!!!

        • Michael J. says:

          If this, if that, woulda, shoulda, coulda. You’re very good at saying things that never happened and now resort to bringing up FSU when someone laughs at the notion of Jeff Driskel ever starting another game at Florida. I’m sure McElwain would laugh out loud as well> Just like getting rid of all the coaches that were part of the reason McElwain is hired in the first place, he also realizes that some players, especially Driskel, have to be told they no longer fit into what UF is doing going forward. Anyway, it’s just another fantasy of yours that is ludicrous and will never happen. Make sure you watch FSU play Oregon, you seem very concerned about them and your happiness seems to be tied to hoping they will fail. If that’s true, it’s really been an awful year for you, hasn’t it?

    • gatorboi352 says:

      Driskel will be a 5th year senior and gone after next season. Why “waste” resources on fixing him next year? It’s not like this team is simply a QB away from competing in Atlanta next season. This team needs WORK. No Fowler, 2 O. linemen gone, coaching change from top to bottom, etc..

      Next year, if we’re 8-4 I’ll take it and be pleasantly surprised.

  10. Gatorbait Nugget says:

    Why did Pouncy say he was from Lakeland High and not UF in Monday Night Football announcements?

  11. CAGator says:

    Adam,

    Are you going to put up a list on possible signees for Army and Under Armour games coming up? Guys we should keep an eye on as I know a lot of these guys like doing their announcements on air during these games.

    Thanks and hopefully we get some big name recruits soon!

    Go Gators!

    • I’ll try to get to that. Have a lot coming up with two bball games, bowl game and all the other news. But we’ll see if I have time.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        Byron Cowart made an interesting comment at the UA practice today, talking about where he was going something along the lines of “I am pretty much decided but I am not sure if I want to go where my heart is or where my friends are”. Sounds like his heart is UF but his friends are at or leaning Auburn. He also followed that up where it sounded like he was trying to pull them with him to UF wondering if he could get them to follow him rather than joining them as he talked about taking a team ranked 96 to one in the top 10.

        Of course can read so much into everything nowadays, but if he pulls folks like Jefferson, Ivey, Holland, others with him to have a powerful recruiting class to go with what is already here, that is a mighty powerful start for Coach Mac and back in the thick of conference and national races sooner rather than later.

        • Michael J. says:

          I would think that everyone would have learned by now that recruiting rankings are meaningless when it comes to UF. UF has recruited as well as anyone not named Alabama and has a Gator Bowl championship to show for it in the past five years. I don’t think UF will do well recruiting this year, but it hasn’t made a difference anyway, so I’m not going to get excited about it. It only leads to being disappointed. Remember the class with Easley, Elam, etc.? It was considered to be one of the best classes ever. After this season, all of them are gone and what did they accomplish? They won the aforementioned Gator Bowl and beat FSU once. That’s it, so visions of championships based on highly rated recruiting classes is illusory.

          • Ken (CA) says:

            So this means that we never again have to see a post from you talking about how FSU has out-recruited UF for the past few years or how they are bringing in more talent then, right? Wouldn’t that be nice.

            Actually, while they may not be perfect, and there is a lot of subjectivity to them, recruiting rankings are meaningful. The fact that UF has had excellent recruiting but not produce is an indictment of the previous coaching staff and their inability to develop the talent they brought in.

            The players I mentioned are game changers just like Easley or Hargreaves. throw them all together throw in Tabor, a couple of others, that defense will be better than anything Muschamp ever put on the field in skill or execution.

            Just curious did you ever even go to FSU or are you just one of those annoying bandwagon fans that has decided they are “your team”, likely because they are recently trending upward? And why do you even continue to bother wasting your time in a place where clearly few if any want you and virtually ever post you make is laughed at or groaned “not again” at? Seems like there is a lot more productive things you could be doing with your time, likely on some Seminole website…

            • Michael J. says:

              Why are you fixated about FSU? Did I mention FSU? I think you have a ‘thing’ for FSU which is why you keep talking about them when they aren’t even mentioned. Yes, FSU is on top now, but that can change very quickly. It was only five years ago that UF was on top and FSU was far below, that’s how quickly it can turn around. I have no idea if McElwain is going to be able to do it, but I do know that it’s sad to be so concerned about a rival that you bring them up out of thin air, like you always do.

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