Scott Carter’s Blog Carter’s Corner
Photo: Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel in Saturday's win over Bowling Green.
Now that it's official -- Jeff Driskel will start at quarterback on Saturday at Texas A&M -- let's re-familiarize ourselves with the former prep standout at Hagerty High School in Oviedo, a suburb of Orlando.
Driskel enrolled at UF in January 2011 and played in five games as a true freshman. His claim to fame last season was that his 31-yard run against eventual national champion Alabama's vaunted defense was the longest of the season against the Crimson Tide.
While Driskel took 52 of Florida's 63 snaps in Saturday's win over Bowling Green, he technically didn't get his first win as the team's starting quarterback. That went to Jacoby Brissett, who took the Gators' first snap with Driskel lined up at receiver.
Since Driskel wears No. 6, here are six tidbits about Driskel that you may not know -- or simply forgot:
Driskel started eight games as a freshman at Hagerty High in the school's first season of football. The Huskies won just five games in their first three seasons. By his senior season, Driskel led Hagerty to the state playoffs and had a memorable final game. In a playoff loss to traditional power Lakeland, Driskel passed for 182 yards and rushed for 270 yards. The 452 yards of total offense set a new school record.
Driskel lived in Japan from ages 8 to 10. His parents served on the U.S. Naval base in Sasebo during that time. Driskel comes from a family with a rich Naval history. His father, Jerry, is a retired senior chief and his mother works for the Naval Air Warfare Center.
"Tim Tebow won a Heisman Trophy, he won two national titles and is a first-round pick. If people want to compare me to that, I’m honored. I’m not Tebow, but I hope I have a college career just as good as his.” -- Driskel on Tebow comparison after committing to Gators in 2010
Before he started playing football in the seventh grade, Driskel was a pretty good baseball player. Driskel played center field for Hagerty and was good enough that scouts told his high school coach that he was good enough to be drafted among the first 100 players in the 2011 MLB draft.
When Driskel officially signed with the Gators, according to the Orlando Sentinel he became what is thought to be the first Orlando-area quarterback to sign a scholarship with the Gators since former Apopka High star Rodney Brewer in 1984. Coincidentally, prior to that, former Orlando Oak Ridge quarterback Tim Groves was the last Orlando-area signal caller to play for the Gators. Groves split time with John Brantley III on the 1979 team. Driskel's first appearance with the Gators came in relief of John Brantley IV in the 2011 opener.
EDGED BY POP
While Driskel was named Gatorade Florida Player of Year as a senior, he was edged out by current teammate De'Ante "Pop" Saunders for the Florida Athletic Coaches Association Player of the Year Award for Volusia and Seminoles counties. Saunders, a two-way star at DeLand High, took the overall honor.