Was Jeff Driskel more accurate in 2012 than we think?


Jeff Driskel's adjusted completion percentage suggests that he's among the better throwers in college football.

Bill Connelly's put an absurd amount of work into making Football Study Hall a storehouse for tons of useful college football data, and he and helpers did great work with their extensive charting of the 2012 season. One of the things that has come of that charting is this great post about adjusted completion percentage — and the revelation that Jeff Driskel might be a very accurate quarterback.

Connelly and Co. charted 50 or more passes from 43 different quarterbacks, and charted Driskel in seven games. (Before you ask, I don't know which games.) And Driskel came in tied for 13th among those quarterbacks in adjusted completion percentage — essentially a measure of how quarterbacks would do if everyone were throwing the same passes — with a 64.5 percent mark. That's good enough to put him ahead of players like Clemson's Tajh Boyd, Ohio State's Braxton Miller, and USC's Matt Barkley, and puts him fourth among first-year starters charted by the Football Study Hall folks, behind Baylor's Nick Florence, Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, who were all mentioned as Heisman contenders in 2012.

That's not unexpected, given that Driskel mostly threw short passes (72.1 percent of Driskel's charted throws traveled less than 10 yards) and was good at them. But you might be surprised by how good he was, when you read this chart.

Driskel's just about as good as Geno Smith from 4-9 and 10-14 yards from scrimmage, and decent in the 20-24 range, too. This jibes with my assessment of Driskel as a smart passer who generally didn't make many throws he couldn't complete, and with my assessment of Florida's offense as one that set him up for success.

The big hole in Driskel's game on this chart, and one of a few on the field, is obviously his ability to throw the deep ball. Driskel didn't attempt a pass of over 30 yards in the seven games charted, apparently, or had those bombs called back; either way, it's an indication that Florida's offense nibbled instead of chomping, which is a recipe for frustration in a fan base weaned on Steve Spurrier's Fun 'n Gun.

Better pass protection and more explosive receivers should be on the way in 2013, and Driskel's definitely got the arm strength to air it out. Doing that, and doing it well, could make him an excellent quarterback. But these numbers suggest he was very good at what he was asked to do in 2012.

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