SAN ANTONIO, Texas — As the 2011 recruiting season nears its end, Florida appears done with a position that could need depth this fall.
Let me clarify.
As of now, Florida will enter spring practice with what could be four scholarship quarterbacks — John Brantley (if he returns), Jordan Reed (if he doesn’t permanently move to tight end), Tyler Murphy (who we know the least about) and Jeff Driskel (who is just getting on campus) — on its roster. Trey Burton appears to be moving to defense and he is more of an athlete on offense than a quarterback.
Brantley will definitely be gone in a year and there’s a chance both Reed and Murphy could play different positions, especially with Charlie Weis bringing in a pro-style offense.
Florida was fortunate to land Driskel and should be relieved that he enrolled early. Driskel is the quarterback of the future at Florida, but it’s never smart to have one true quarterback on the roster (see Florida’s 2010 season).
Earlier in the year, I asked Urban Meyer if he was happy with the quarterback depth. He said yes, so I asked about possibly recruiting and signing another quarterback in the 2011 class. Obviously, he couldn’t list names, but again, he said he was happy with the situation.
Sounds like there just weren’t any other options for the Gators once Driskel committed.
Even if Brantley really does stay, Florida is left with some question marks at quarterback. Plus, there is always a chance that Driskel won’t be the quarterback everyone expects him to be. Honestly, it’s way too early to tell.
So with the future of the position a little shaky, Florida should invest some time into looking at a few quarterback prospects. The problem Florida’s staff is going to run into is that every quarterback the previous staff offered has committed somewhere, and none figure to break their commitments to come in with Driskel.
Right now, the quarterback with the most upside whom Florida might have a small shot at landing is West Palm Beach Dwyer’s Jacoby Brissett. He was originally offered to greyshirt at Florida by Meyer. A greyshirt would mean Brissett would have to pay his own ways his first year. Brissett declined, as he should have, and is now looking at LSU, Florida State, Wisconsin and South Carolina.
Though Florida isn’t listed as one of Brissett’s favorites, he hasn’t completely shut the door on the Gators.
“If Florida offered me I would have to move them up on my list, I would probably visit and just check out the situation,” Brissett said.
Now that Will Muschamp is the guy at Florida, Brissett said Florida’s interest in him has slightly increased.
“I haven’t talked to Coach Muschamp yet, but he has talked to my high school coach (Jack Daniels) quite a bit,” he said.
Brissett liked the Muschamp hire, but really likes Weis coming in as the offensive coordinator.
“I’ve heard Muschamp is a great coach, and they got Charlie Weis, that’s the NFL right there,” Brissett said. “Getting a coach from the NFL like that — he’s been successful in both college and the NFL — I was very impressed with his hire.”
If Brissett were to pick Florida and quarterback didn’t work out, he’d have the size (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) and athleticism to move to another position. He looks like he could play either wide receiver or safety.
First, Florida has to give him a legitimate offer and get him on campus. As of now, I’m not sure if either will happen. Now, if Brantley does decide to transfer, don’t be surprised if Brissett gets that Florida offer. It would only make sense, really.
Another beneficiary of a Brantley transfer could be Murphy. Talk about accelerating his growth at quarterback. Murphy and Brantley showed the best mechanics during pregame warmups. Unfortunately, the only live action I’ve seen on Murphy is film, which is run-heavy. He’s a great athlete, though.
There are a few other 2011 prospects Florida could show interest in, but none are top recruits. I don’t see Florida using another scholarship to bring in a less-talented quarterback, especially in Muschamp’s first class.
In my opinion, it’s Brissett or no one.