Florida’s quarterback decisions for the 2010 class have been heavily scrutinized, but even Urban Meyer said he likes what Trey Burton and Tyler Murphy bring to his spread offense. In 2011, however, Florida should be looking to snatch one or two of the bigger quarterback fish.
One prospect who currently resembles a whale shark in the recruiting world is Oviedo Hagerty’s Jeff Driskel. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound, dual-threat quarterback wowed scouts and members of the media at the U.S. Army National Combine in January and continued his combine dominance at the Elite 11 Regional QB Camp Sunday at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. Reports are that he had one of the strongest arms at the camp and was the most fluid of any of the other particpants.
When I spoke to Driskel after he returned from Orlando, he said that he felt he did well.
“I feel like I can make all the throws on the field in the pocket or on the run,” Driskel said. “I can make some plays with my legs because I’ve got some speed.”
Since January, Driskel has gotten a lot of publicity and is considered to be one of the top prospects this year. Driskel doesn’t call it fame, but his name is “starting to blow up a little bit.”
I will make one thing clear. His name is blowing up, but his head isn’t. Driskel comes across as a very humble kid, which can be hard for a quarterback getting this much love this early.
The media has drooled over Driskel’s ability (he’s been clocked running a 4.52 in the 40), but college coaches saw enough in Driskel’s junior season — he threw for 1,427 yards and 11 touchdowns — to realize that it’s time to put the heat on him.
“They like my accuracy and they like my strong arm,” Driskel said of what college coaches have said about his skill set. “They like my poise in the pocket. Obviously they like the size as well. That never hurts.”
Driskel said he doesn’t have a list of top schools at the moment, but he’s getting the most attention to Auburn, Florida, LSU, Mississippi, USC and just picked up on offer from Tennessee Sunday. He’s already been to Junior Days at Florida and Auburn.
Being a Florida native and having that dual-threat ability, Driskel is already hearing the comparisons to one of the most famous Floridian football players — Tim Tebow. Some kids hate to be compared to past players and like to make their own name, but Driskel said he embraces the comparisons.
“I like being compared to Tim Tebow,” he said. “That’s a guy that has a great competitive mentality. He plays the game right, he’s a great leader and he’s a good person. I don’t know if I’m quite like him, but whenever I’m compared to him I like that.”
So, if he’s being compared to UF’s most decorated football player he’s certainly got some interest in the program, right? Right. Driskel said Florida has been recruiting him very hard and that he has developed a good relationship with quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler. Driskel said the two talk once or twice a week and that he’s most impressed with the players Loeffler has been able to send to the NFL.
As far as the rest of Florida’s program, Driskel said he likes the winning tradition and the fact that the Gators compete in “the best league” in the SEC. He’s also impressed with the type of athletes Florida consistently brings in on offense.
“Even if I wasn’t a Florida guy, if Florida’s coming after you that’s a big deal,” he said.
Another thing going for Florida is its baseball program. Driskel said Meyer and baseball coach Kevin O’Sullivan have given him the green light to play both if he were to pick Florida. He’s a center fielder, and senior Matt den Dekker will be gone after this season.
Driskel said he’ll take five visits over the summer to colleges and wants to make a decision in either June or July.
“It’s definitely coming before the fall,” he said of his college decision. “I’m thinking early summer.”