Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel will transfer to Louisiana Tech, the Gators announced Monday, following a Sunday report by ESPN's Brett McMurphy and Joe Schad that was first to break the news.
In a statement, Driskel thanked Florida and its fans.
"There have been rumors going around that I am going to leave the University of Florida and transfer to Louisiana Tech University for my fifth and final year of eligibility. This is indeed true, and I look forward to the upcoming chapter of my life. I have nothing but good things to say about the University of Florida and the football program there.
"I am grateful for the opportunities that have been presented to me over the course of the past four years. Although things did not play out on the field as I would have liked, I have no regrets on the choice I made to attend UF. Again, I appreciate everything that my coaches, teammates, strength coaches, athletic trainers, equipment staff, academic staff, fans, and the University of Florida have done for me."
Driskel had reportedly also considered Duke. Driskel asked for and received a release from his Florida scholarship to transfer last week, with Florida coach Jim McElwain telling reporters on Saturday that he had granted Driskel's release, and "wasn't going to hold (Driskel) hostage."
Driskel started 22 games over his four years at Florida, compiling a 16-6 record as the Gators' starter, but will go down as one of the more disappointing players in program history. When Driskel committed to Urban Meyer in April 2010, he was seen as one of the nation's best quarterback prospects; when Will Muschamp kept his commitment, he kept the player some recruiting services named the No. 1 quarterback in the 2011 recruiting pool, and it was seen as a coup.
But while Driskel showed flashes of brilliance throughout his Florida career, especially with his legs, he was never a consistently good passer, and his turnover issues were devastating to the Gators. In Florida's six losses with Driskel starting since 2012, the Gators committed an astounding 26 turnovers, and at least three in every game; even though Driskel wasn't personally responsible for all of those turnovers, that record of ball insecurity is profoundly poor.
Driskel graduated from Florida with a degree in sports management in the summer of 2014, and was taking graduate courses this fall; he will transfer with a year of eligibility remaining, and should be the favorite to be the Bulldogs' starting quarterback, with senior Cody Sokol graduating. Sokol threw for 3,040 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2014, leading Louisiana Tech to a 9-5 record that featured just two losses — to Oklahoma and Auburn — by more than a field goal.
Driskel, for his part, threw for 3,411 yards and 23 touchdowns in his Florida career.
As with any outgoing Gator leaving the program, we wish Driskel the best of luck. But Driskel deserves special commendation: Despite his disappointing career, and the exceptional vitriol he took for the better part of it, Driskel unquestionably handled his time as a Gator with grace and dignity, and was an exemplary player virtually everywhere except between the sidelines on Saturdays.
Nothing but class from @jeffdriskel through four years here. You'll be missed by those that had the chance to work with you.— Dan Apple (@dapple0) January 5, 2015
He could have pouted about his many misfortunes. He could have complained about being benched. He could have left long before this Monday. Jeff Driskel didn't do any of those things, and though he never quite met my expectations as a player, he surpassed them as a person and a representative of the University of Florida.
For that, he'll always have my respect.