Updated: Controversy surrounding QB Tyler Murphy’s decision to leave the Florida Gators

By Adam Silverstein
December 15, 2013

Updated on Monday at 6:15 p.m.

Quarterback Tyler Murphy, who was expected to be a redshirt senior competing for a starting job with the Florida Gators in 2014, chose on Sunday to leave the program and pursue other options, a decision that reportedly shocked head coach Will Muschamp.

Muschamp, who denied to The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley this week that Murphy was planning to leave the Gators after saying he had already spoken with the player and his family, told him on Sunday that Murphy did not attend the team’s annual postseason banquet and suddenly became aloof over the weekend.

He called Murphy, who didn’t answer but eventually responded with a long text message saying he felt he needed to go somewhere where he’d get a chance to start, Muschamp said.

“I told him it would be an open competition, just like I told him Jeff Driskel would be our starter last year,” Muschamp said.

Murphy completed the requirements for his bachelor’s degree in the fall and graduated on Saturday. He can transfer to another program and be eligible to play immediately without being forced to sit out a full season.

But he tells a different version of the story to GatorCountry.com, stating that he did originally tell Muschamp earlier in the week that he had not decided to transfer but also made the coaching staff aware that he would be unable to attend the banquet as he was taking his parents to the airport at that time.

Once he and his family decided his fate during that car ride, he tried to arrange a face-to-face meeting with Muschamp on Sunday. Instead, he was told to call Muschamp. The coach did not pick up, so Murphy sent the aforementioned text message and waited for a return call, which he received immediately.

“He wasn’t happy with [the decision to leave]. He told me he didn’t think it was a good decision for me. We kind of just went back and forth a little bit, talking about the whole situation and stuff for next year. When he kind of felt where I was leaning towards he said he appreciated everything I’ve done and stuff like that. When we hung up I thought everything was good.”

Murphy said he never intended to break the news to Muschamp via text message.

“I never tried to tell him what was going on through text,” he said. “I sent him a text kind of just so when he saw the missed call he knew what I was calling about and I could get his attention so hopefully he would call me back when he was free.”

“I was never trying to duck on him or not do it in a mature way,” Murphy said. “It just so happened that he had to hear it from me through text because he didn’t pick up my call and I couldn’t meet with him in his office.”

Criticism began to rain down on both parties Monday with some upset about the way Murphy reportedly left and others infuriated that Muschamp would allegedly paint the player in a bad light, especially one who had been a model member of the program.

The quarterback’s father, Peter Murphy, fell in the later category and discussed his concerns later Monday with Phillip Heilman of the Palm Beach Post ($).

According to the elder Murphy, the family did not believe that the Gators quarterback competition would actually be “open” with Tyler Murphy being given a fair chance at winning the job. It is their opinion that Muschamp would’ve kept Tyler Murphy as his “ace in the hole,” especially considering he had never been given a “real chance” to compete for the job in the past.

After sticking by the Gators through thick and thin for four years, Tyler Murphy finally got a chance to play meaningful snaps in 2013. In his first action, as an injury replacement for Driskel against Tennessee, he completed 8-of-14 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown, gaining 84 yards on 10 carries and scoring again with his legs.

In Murphy’s first start, he went 15-for-18 for 157 yards and gained 36 yards on seven carries against Kentucky. He also scored two touchdowns – one throwing, one rushing. Murphy’s magic continued in his subsequent start against Arkansas, when he completed 16-of-22 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns.

Things began to go downhill for Murphy when he injured his shoulder against LSU on Oct. 10. He only completed 50.6 percent of his passes over a three-game span, failing to secure a passing touchdown but tossing one interception.

Muschamp refused to address whether Murphy potentially had a serious shoulder injury – such as a torn AC joint – and consistently referred to the injury as a sprain.

The final game of Murphy’s Florida career game against Vanderbilt. He hit career marks with 30 completions on 46 attempts for 305 yards but only threw a single touchdown while coughing up three interceptions.

Murphy was simply never the same after getting injured against LSU, and his shoulder ailment became a point of contention later in the season. Though he was obviously limited but still played four games, he was suddenly ruled out against South Carolina but not deemed to be done for the season.

Peter Murphy does not raise issue with the gamesmanship aspect of Muschamp downplaying his son’s injury, which he called a third-degree separation rather than a sprain, but rather the fact that the coach harshly criticized him after his poor performance against VU.

“[Muschamp] said you can’t win with a quarterback throwing three interceptions, but you can’t win with a quarterback playing with a third-degree shoulder separation either,” Peter Murphy told the Post. “He couldn’t lift his arm over his shoulder to take his hat off, and they’ve got him out there starting against Georgia and against Missouri and against Vanderbilt. He should never have been out there.”

With Murphy’s departure, the Gators are now incredibly thin at the quarterback position. He is the second signal caller to leave the program this offseason, joining freshman Max Staver, who announced his decision to transfer late last week.

Driskel, who will be able to take a medical redshirt due to the broken leg he suffered at Tennessee, will return in 2014 as a redshirt junior and the presumed starter. However, his recovery timetable is far from certain.

Incoming four-star freshman Will Grier (Davidson, NC) hoped to redshirt his first season as a collegian but could potentially be forced into action.

Future redshirt sophomore Skyler Mornhinweg started the final three games of 2013, but Florida game planned two of those contests around him throwing the ball. With the offensive coordinator that recruited him no longer with the program, Mornhinweg is undoubtedly at least considering opportunities he might have elsewhere.

Perhaps next up for the Gators would be second-year thrower Chris Wilkes, a 24-year-old former baseball player who chose to turn in his glove for a helmet and walk on to the Florida football team this past season.

Photo Credit: Mark Zerof/USA Today


  1. z says:

    This is comical

  2. Sharon M. says:

    Can anyone really be surprised these players are deciding to leave after the year Florida had. Does not bode well for next year. They obviously do not feel committed to Muschamp. We really need a new head coach.

    • Daniel M. says:

      Can you get through a comment without trashing the coach? He’s here, like it or not, for at least next season. Give it a break.

      I’m not overly worried about this transfer. Driskel and Grier 1-2. Not the perfect scenario but far more talented than most rosters. And if you are forced to your 3rd stringer you are screwed no matter the school. The addition of a capable OC will do wonders. There is talent.

      • Oldflyer says:

        I agree Daniel.

        Adam said Murphy stuck with the Gators for three years; only I would suggest he had few other options as a 2 star QB out of high school. Well at least he got a free education and degree from a good school, and he did get a chance to play with an SEC team, by default, and had some modest success. Now, degree in hand, he is bailing. Wish him luck; it will be interesting to see where he goes, and whether he starts at a school with a credible program.

        As to the comments about the coach. Exactly what I would expect. But, if you wrote a story about a coach who went from SEC COY to the outhouse with some fans as quickly as has happened with Muschamp; especially given the disruptions of the past season, some people would react, “well it must be a hell of a group of fans.”

        The ultimate irony is that during the fabulous run in 2012, as victories over highly ranked teams added up, many “fans” were expressing concern that WM would bolt back to Texas when Brown left. Damn, memories are short; conveniently short.

        • Ken (CA) says:

          Not sure where you saw that anyone was particularly concerned that he would bolt, however while there were lots of injuries that definitely impacted the program this year, what has so many tired and disgusted is his offensive philosophy and consistently being in the bottom 5% of FBS in offense his entire tenure. Since he hasn’t hired an OC yet, it appears he is looking for someone that still has a job, and if that turns out to be the guy from USC, we are probably going to just get more of the same, which will be disheartening again. At this point I begin to wonder how committed Grier still is to a program that seems in complete disarray. Until he signs or enrolls if coming early, I know it is still only a “maybe”.

          Whoever he hires as OC will definitely let everyone know what direction we will move at least next year.

        • T says:

          I didn’t like WM at his hire.

          Didn’t like him through his 2011 season.

          Didn’t like him through 2012.

          Still don’t like him.

          My memory is fine; he’s probably a good DC and may one day be a great HC. OJT at UF is not an option.

    • 630Chucky says:

      Still haven’t completely grasped the “wisdom” of that Carlos Alvarez column, eh? Now your comments are just more passive-aggressive.

      • TST says:

        Well FWIW . I agree with Sharon . Our Gators are in ‘Free-Fall.’ Also as to Carlos whom i watched play many games . Best regards but he doesn’t butter my toast . I know bad and this is bad . Have a good day Gentlemen !!

  3. Keith says:

    The mass exodus is alarming and could be looked at two ways.

    1. I like to look at it as addition by subtraction. Some of these guys that’s leaving had no business playing D1 football in the SEC.

    2. Something is going on behind the scenes. (Most Gator fans knew this but Jeremy Foley had on Orange and Blue glasses)

    Lastly, A lot of true freshmen will get lots of playing time next year, take it in stride good or bad.

  4. Jacob says:


  5. Champ supporter says:

    Something is going on behind the scenes? Why, because a bunch of bench players decided the depth chart didn’t look to be in there favor. If guys wanna leave let them leave. I would be more concerned if Fowler or Hargreaves or Kelvin Taylor decided to leave.

    I just honestly cannot see how it is on the coach if mediocrity wants to “find an opportunity” elsewhere!

    Murphy got a shot to play and feels he can start somewhere. The competition may be open, but he only plays if Driskell or Greir suffer injuries.

    Adam, I know Pat Dooley’s article says that Muschamp was surprised but are coaching staffs generally prepared for these types of transfers? Would Florida be able to sign a QB this late to add depth for this upcoming season. This is all my opinion on those transfers not being good, but should this be alarming?

    Muschamp did say they were going to find the people who wanted to stick around and get this thing right.

    • They have a good idea about most of them but Murphy is obviously a shocker for them. With no OC on the team, who knows if there’s a specific plan. I am sure there are some guys on their radar.

  6. David says:

    I say good riddance. He and his dad reportedly told Muschamp that he was going to stay and then sent a text informing coach that he was leaving. Coward. I highly doubt he will go anywhere and actually get to start unless it is FCS.

    • Croc says:

      Wow. Nice. Trash the kid. Classy.

      His family thought he was too hurt to play and his sister sent an angry tweet out about it after the fact. I’m sure that had at least a little something to do with it.

    • Croc says:

      I wonder if Muschamp told all those kids he recruited at Texas that he was going to stay and be the next head coach once Mack retired.

    • David says:

      Wasn’t trashing the kid, simply responding to the initial report that he went back on his word via a text message (21st or not. its still low imo ). If the updated story that includes his side of things is true then I retract my comment.

  7. SW FL Joe says:

    Any more transfers to come?

  8. G2 says:

    Don’t blame him for leaving, got 1 more year to make something happen. The guys has some skills so I say go for it.
    Seems Champs got a way of clearing the decks, getting guys buried on the depth chart to move on. Just wish we had a better recruiting class lined up to sign addl players. Maybe with a great OC hire things can change quickly.

  9. Ziggy says:

    Adam – Out of curiosity, how many of the transfers are guys that we’re recruited by Meyer?

  10. Champ supporter says:

    Adam, are there anymore expected transfers?

  11. Sam Andreu says:

    Feels like mostly offensive guys leaving. Likely a good thing since they played for the least best team in the SEC. Have a feeling some of the others leaving were to mAke room for new blood. since the defense is actually decent, those guys are sticking it out. We need an OC WITH HEART AND BALLS. LIKE MUSCHAMP HAS FOR THE D.


  12. g8ter27 says:

    Sure this doesn’t sit well with many of the optimists in here but the reality is Murphy was a 2 star qb for a reason. He wasn’t too good, will hopefully have success at a FCS program back up north. Muschamp is 2 star HC. Not real good either. We are stuck with him for another year though and he won’t transfer. Going to be a tough couple of years coming up.

    • Ziggy says:

      What do you people who continue to bash the coaches not get? Are you purposefully trying to hurt the program? Don’t you think potential recruits might get on these message boards and read what people are saying? All of your whining isn’t going to get Muschamp fired before next season, but it will hurt the recruiting class, which becomes a problem for the new coach in about 2-3 years, assuming your right about Muschamp being fired after next year.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        If you think ANY recruit is looking at these or other local forums and going to base their decision upon that have a way overstated importance of sites like this. Recruits likely have a lot more to do between their sports, their school, their lives than to troll around every local blog of every school they may be interested. Not to mention it isn’t like anything being said here is particularly secret anyway. Disgruntled fans aren’t going to impact recruiting, the coaches know their own situation with the administration better than the fans and can communicate that to revruits, and it will not hurt any new coach either as even if they were looking, they would see a lot of likely relieved fans. It is just unbelievably silly to believe in such self importance that comments like these are going to be impacting recruiting. They *may* check articles and comments on ESPN.com or something, but even that is pretty unlikely, and they would see the same type of sentiment there as well.

        So constantly complain about the complaints is not only silly but just as much beating a dead horse as well

  13. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Adam, Will this HC and AD seriously wait another month until the Bowl games are over to hire an OC and stop the bleeding? Just very concerned about the OTHER coaches out there who will not stop recruiting our recruits until after signing day!! I can handle being the laughing stock of college football, but 18 year old kids want to play with winners and teams that have a clue, so competing coaches have lots of fodder for their arguments to get them to jump ship…..

    • That’s what Muschamp has reportedly said, but I agree it is a mistake in terms of recruiting. But then again, the dead period starts and they couldn’t make contact with kids anyway. The key is the one month leading up to NSD. The problem for UF is that Cook is an early enrollee.

  14. SW FL Joe says:

    And now Mornhinweg too. First the injury bug hits the football team and now the transfer bug.

  15. cline says:

    Here’s hoping Grier is the real deal. Our program looks shaky at best right now.

  16. nugent1021 says:

    Can you put this in perspective? I don’t see any other team with this kind of immediate transfer rate. Why is this? Are other teams having this as well, it’s just not being reported or something? Does this have to do with players not wanting to be there or is it coaches cleaning house possibly? What’s going on?

    • Most teams have a handful of transfers each offseason. It is being compounded for Florida with the losing season, Muschamp on the hot seat and fact that one of the players leaving is a top-two QB on the depth chart.

      • nugent1021 says:

        okay, so while we haven’t heard of other teams having the same issues/transfers (ours seem to be getting a lot of focus) you’re saying this is probably just 2-3 players more than normal. I’m okay with that. Just want us to start playing the game on both sides of the ball again.

  17. jacob says:

    Relax people. All of there under performing players leaving is a good thing. This give is more scholarships for this yr. With mack brown leaving texas we can probably get some good kids from them. Still believe cook is coming to UF muschamp im sure told him the type of offense we are gonna run or even named the coach. All will be fine next yr then all of you crybabies will have to shut up.

    • Croc says:

      Cook is an absolute monster. If we lose him it would really really hurt.
      Tough to get a read, but it appears he will be heading elsewhere.
      He says things like he is 100% committed to FL until the UA game. Kind of a curious way to phrase that.
      He also says he knows where he is going to go already and he is shutting down recruiting, but then goes on to say that who UF hires at OC could impact his decision.
      At this point I would be shocked if he puts on a gator hat on January 2nd.

      He said he “shut down” recruiting before Muschamp was supposed to have an in-home visit with him.

      Any word on if that happened? If it didn’t then he is a goner for sure.

  18. Nobody says:

    I forget how clueless the UF fan base is sometimes, but then I read a comments section or message board and immediately remember. How many of these transfers do you really want to play for your team at full strength when competing for an SEC Title? I sure as heck don’t want Murphy or Staver playing QB. Ledbetter was so bad on defense where he was recruited they moved him to fullback where there’s two others who are better than him. Kent Taylor didn’t play a snap as a sophomore and didn’t look all that good as a freshman. Quinteze Williams couldn’t even see the field this season with an offensive line that was depleted as all get out. None of these guys are going to be major losses for Florida. And to have a buncha additional scholarships opened up now to offer to kids that actually may be able to produce in their careers is a good thing for the program. I’m sure in their exit interviews after the season WM told them all exactly where they stood and they probably didn’t like what they heard and left. This isn’t as big of a deal as all of you are making it out to be.

    • Ken (CA) says:

      So, if Driskel goes down again, you have a true freshman starting again, and if 2nd string goes down again, who do you plan to have as QB with Staver, Morninweg, and Murphy gone? (Assuming Grier isn’t wavering at this point over what the heck is going on)

      • Mornhinweg isn’t gone yet.

        • Ken (CA) says:

          You’re right, I was reading the comments and it sounded like someone had said he was gone as well, but my point still stands that all these transfers may not be starters, but they make us that much more thin should we get the injury bug again, so it does hurt in general. And unless we have a whole lot of recruits that just haven’t publicly declared yet, this seems like it is giong to be a very small recruiting class to try and fill holes in general.

        • SWFL Joe says:

          Beard wrote it in his Thoughts of the Day column on 12/16. He later went back and revised his column to say that Skyler hasn’t gone just yet.

  19. Jesse says:

    Hey Adam, any news about us ADDING a transfer or two?

  20. Joaqui says:

    Losing 27-0 vs fsu in the 4th quarter and the all the Gator fans (including myself) in attendence started cheering how great it is. Lets not forget how great it truly is. This is what in all types of weather really means, not when we are winning 2 nat champs in 3 years.

    We stick behind our players and coaches, even when we are so upset that we may throw a couple of things around the house. For the players that have moved on, im sure they have their reasons and wish them only the best bc at the end of the the day once a Gator always a Gator.

    Im excited for the new OC to come and the new players we get in Feb. Go Gators.

  21. Spike says:

    ‘nobody’ is spot on with player analysis. Not one player transferring is a major loss except for depth at qb. And to the party that asked if other schools have transfers….alabama pretty much ‘cuts’ 5-7 players per year – advising them they are not renewing their scholarships as they over sign every year and need room for new recruits. Some of uf’s transfers were recruited for one offensive style and may not mesh with the new one. Kids want to play and if they can’t play at UF they go elsewhere. If there were starters leaving I would get concerned. But if Williams or someone else leaving opens a ship for Lorenzo Carter or Jordan Sims or Tabor….probably a good thing.

  22. gatorboi352 says:

    So let’s recap: the most loyal guy to ever suit up for the Gators since Tebow has randomy decided to leave the program after 4 years 3 OCs and 2 HCs. Hmmmmmmmmmmm yeah lets not read into this AT ALL and chalk it up to any transfer ever leaving a program at any time.

    Keep the blinders on, apologists. This program is more broken today than it ever was under Meyer or Zook.

    As for me, go Billy ball! Chomp Memphis up in the Big Apple!

    • Champ supporter says:

      What makes him the most loyal? Doesn’t the fact that he’s leaving contradict the belief that he is most loyal? The kid sees a better opportunity elsewhere, why is that the coaches fault?

      Is “affluenza” (no disrespect to the families suffering; just making a point that kids make their own decisions and it’s not someone else’s fault)creeping into sports also?

  23. Keith says:

    Zach is a Pon and a tool that recruits use to troll. Often wrong on big notable signing day predictions.

  24. SW FL Joe says:

    Wow, if I was Peter Murphy I’d be pissed too. You cant have a coach who does not be the welfare of his players first. I will always be a Gator fan but I am finding it harder and harder to be a Muschamp fan

    • Champ supporter says:

      Yeah, but you can’t come out now and say all of this stuff. Murphy himself made light of his injury when he was asked about it. Injury or not, those picks against Vandy were terrible throws. It is what it is! The guy is leaving so what’s all of this stuff matter. He wasn’t complaining when he was proudly walking around their hometown when Tyler played well.

  25. Maurice.f says:

    I am a true Gator fan born and raised in the swamp. But let the truth be told Driskel sucks at Qb and Tyler showed just how much he did sucked but like The gators they will not let a man of color lead our team so they can feed eveyone that crap about Driskel one theQb job but Tyler was the better guy untill he got hurt. The president said it himself if he builds that stadium no BLACK MAN WILL LEAD THE GATORS AS QUARTERBACK so yes it is and always will be this way untill we get a real coach that does not see color but skill have a blessed day fans.

      • T says:

        And he was only embraced AFTER they won the BCS title, and took a slew of abuse during his tenure.

        Or have we forgotten people wanted Tebow to become the QB before he so much as took a snap; it wasn’t until the OSU game when he won people over.

        He was appreciated AFTER the fact.

        • Not true about how he was appreciated. People wanted Tebow to take over because he was said to be the best player Florida ever had. It was excitement over Tebow not hate for Leak.

          • T says:

            Therein lies the flaw – the best player………..who never so much as took a snap.

            While Zook took a lot of heat, Surely, you remember the hate Leak took.

            Leak took heat galore because he wasn’t Rex Grossman or Danny Wuerffel.

            Hell, Fox even did a profile on him at the BCS title game.

            Or perhaps you forget Leak getting booed.

            • He wasn’t as good as those guys early in his career. Or do you not care about production?

              I’m not discussing this further. You’re being ridiculous.

              • T says:

                I am being ridiculous ?

                Fox did a profile on the harsh criticism he took.

                He was a top recruit and took a lot of the blame for the Zook mismanagement.

                Danny Wuerffel split with Terry Dean his first two years. And Rex Grossman’s final season was a severe drop off which was blamed mostly on Zook. Yet somehow, Leak took the heat for the Zook mismanagement after that.

                “The criticism is unfair because he hasn’t met the FANS’ expectations. The unselfish Leak has had an outstanding career. A 34-12 record is fine and on top of that, even if he wins this game he probably won’t get the credit because the fan favorite is Tebow” – Jimmy Johnson

                Jimmy Johnson, a man who has forgotten more about football that either of us will ever know as the hardware on his fingers and mantle would indicate.

                Or perhaps we’ll just ignore his words because he is affiliate with “The U”

              • Players of every race get criticized unfairly. Have a good day.

            • nugent1021 says:

              Sorry T, just don’t see the racism thing you’re pushing. We all loved and appreciated Chris Leak and wanted the best for him.

              • T says:

                you ALL ?

                You are the official spokesperson ?

                Sorry, when the BCS coverage team, with one of the greatest coaches of all time points out the unfair criticism, plus the school’s track record of chasing people away at positions of leadership, it’s amazingly easy to make that leap.

  26. T says:


    Yet at Florida they sure seem to have a hard time being the QB.

    Hell, sometimes they get chased away from the program for small infractions compared to their teammates.

  27. jesse says:

    I am happy Murphy is gone.. are u kidding Me people?? If ur upset that he left then u obviously have not watched him play and paid attention to his accuracy, leadership, mechanics and footwork.. this kid is horrible! He makes Driskel look like Tom brady! We are just fine at the QB position.. One name “Wil grier”… I see sec championships in our future along with a National Championship soon with this new recruit coming in.. I have a friend who is close with top recruiters in the country and the things I have heard about this grier kid are delightful to say the least.. There were plenty other top schools that had a hard on for this kid and he came to us.. can’t wait.

  28. led65 says:

    I was excited about Grier until I realized that driskel will get a redshirt so we will be stuck with him starting for the next two years or until champ is fired. Champ has a chubby for Jeff it’s pathetic. If it wasn’t for our running game and defense in 2012 he would have three pathetic seasons at Florida. Sure jeff can scramble and sometimes make plays with his legs. However if a qb can’t throw the damn ball then he has no business running the offense. He makes tebow look like Peyton Manning passing the ball. In his career he had one very good game. That was against vandy when he ran for around 172 yards. You can’t find nor ever will find a game where he has lit it up with his arm. When he has to throw it is inaccurate and often picked off. Against Georgia we had five turnovers in 2012 and most of those were on jeff. Against miami we had five and again most of them were on jeff. Grier will never start at Florida until jeff is hurt or will is gone. It’s one thing to be loyal and believe in a player. This is just idiotic how champ is so enfatuated with a guy who is honestly a worse qb than Brantley. To the poster earlier yes I would have rather seen Staver play because I have never seen him play and I know how jeff plays. I sure as hell don’t want jeff to be the signal caller. Give me staver all day it can’t get worse. Since he’s gone here’s hoping Foley threatens champ’s job and tells him he’s on a kiffin type trial next year so maybe he will nut the f up and let the o coordinator actually do their job instead of running his vanilla offense and taking the unfair blame like pease did. Also so maybe he will get over his man crush and give qbs not named driskel a real chance to start!

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