Purdue junior quarterback Austin Appleby is headed to Florida as a graduate transfer and will be immediately eligible in 2016, according to a Monday night report from Rivals' Purdue site, Gold and Black.
Appleby confirmed the decision with a tweet late Monday:
Appleby entered the 2015 season as Purdue's starter after playing extensively in the final eight games of the 2014 season, but was benched by Purdue coach Darrell Hazell after a 9-for-28 performance with two interceptions in a 51-24 loss to Virginia Tech in September. Appleby would return to the starting lineup in November, and threw for 259 yards and a touchdown against then-undefeated Iowa before throwing for 332 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions against Indiana in Purdue's season finale.
In his Purdue career, he's thrown for 2,777 yards and 19 touchdowns against 19 interceptions. But given that David Blough was likely to be Purdue's starter in 2016, his release to pursue a transfer, and his Purdue degree, Appleby's been looking around since the end of the regular season — and might have found a fine match in Florida.
After Treon Harris completed just eight passes in the Citrus Bowl, one thing that has been relatively clear for months is crystalline: Florida needs as many quarterbacks as it can get. Harris will theoretically be Florida's incumbent into spring practice, but Appleby would be a fifth quarterback to compete for the starting job by then, along with Oregon State graduate transfer Luke Del Rio and early-enrolling freshmen Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask. It doesn't matter if Appleby, frankly, doesn't appear to be a surefire starter in 2016 for Florida — he might be better than Harris was over the last month of Florida's 2015 season, and Florida could use as many different options at QB as it can get.
So taking another grad transfer QB makes sense. Taking two might make sense. Taking two grad transfer QBs and continuing to pursue recruits like Maryland commit Dwayne Haskins might make sense.
While preparing for the Citrus Bowl, Jim McElwain hinted strongly that his program would stock up on quarterbacks to avoid situations like the one it was mired in with Harris as a starter and Josh Grady, a converted wide receiver, as his only scholarship backup. Adding anyone accomplishes that goal, to at least some degree.
If Appleby begins classes on Tuesday in Gainesville, at the beginning of Florida's Spring 2016 term, that counts, to at least some degree.