Florida Gators sophomore quarterback Jacoby Brissett, embroiled in transfer rumors after losing the starting job to classmate Jeff Driskel in September, decided to leave the program immediately and transfer to another school.
Florida officially announced Brissett’s transfer on Sunday, confirming an initial report released Saturday evening by GatorCountry.com.
Brissett originally committed to the Gators late in the 2011 recruiting cycle after the team had already secured a pledge from Driskel. Then-offensive coordinator Charlie Weis went after Brissett personally and convinced him to commit to Florida over Miami, a move that went against his mother’s wishes.
Third on the team’s depth chart at the start of his freshman season as he enrolled in the summer and not early in the spring, Brissett was thrust into a starting role in 2011 after starter John Brantley and second-stringer Driskel both got injured against Alabama in the fifth week of the season. The following week, he became the first Gators freshman to start at quarterback since Chris Leak and went 18-of-39 for 206 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions in two consecutive starts.
Brissett and Driskel battled for the starting job over the spring and summer with both players earning the start (Driskel at wide receiver) in the 2012 season-opener against Bowling Green. Driskel took the majority of the snaps in the game and was named full-time starter after the contest, leaving Brissett in a back-up role. Coaches pointed to Driskel’s mobility as the tipping point in their decision-making process.
When Driskel injured his ankle against Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 10, Brissett came on to finish the game. He returned as starter the following week against Jacksonville State, combining to go 20-of-30 for 218 yards with one touchdown in the two contests.
It now appears that he will not see the field again until 2014 as he will likely transfer to another Division I program and use 2013 as an NCAA-mandated redshirt year.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Arkansas, Duke, Louisville, N.C. State and West Virginia are the five leading candidates for Brissett’s services. He has long considered WVU an option and had the school as part of his final four with UF, Miami and Wisconsin during his recruitment. Then-UW head coach Bret Bielema accepted the Arkansas job on Dec. 15, 2012.
With Brissett no longer in the fold, Florida is set to have four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster in 2013. Backing up Driskel will be redshirt sophomore Tyler Murphy, freshman Skyler Mornhinweg and incoming three-star Max Staver (Brentwood, TN). Murphy played sparingly in 2011 but has not thrown a pass in his collegiate career. Mornhinweg did not play in 2012 and will take a redshirt to preserve his full eligibility.
Likely fueled by Brissett’s decision, the Gators appear to have recently made an inquiry about four-star 2013 QB recruit Asiantii Woulard (Winter Park, FL). UF already has four-star QB Will Grier (Davidson, NC) committed for 2014.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press