Florida has had plenty of successful quarterbacks in its program's history—from Steve Spurrier to Danny Wuerffel. Throw in guys like Chris Leak, Rex Grossman, Jesse Palmer and of course, Tim Tebow, and it is safe to say that the Gators have been blessed with talented signal-callers.
Soon, you will be able to add Jeff Driskel to that list.
The young sophomore quarterback that was fighting for a starting position during fall camp, and hasn't even finished a complete season in his short career, will soon become the next top quarterback in the SEC.
And while that isn't saying much, as this conference is known more for the defensive side of the ball, Driskel has the tools to become that next superstar at the most popular position in the sport.
Earlier this week, I wrote an article about Driskel needing to step up and show Gator fans that he has what it takes to become that elite quarterback to take this program back to the promise land. After his performance in the Gators 37-26 victory over the Florida State Seminoles, I am now convinced that he will soon join the company with some of this program's greats.
Driskel only threw 23 passes in the victory, but he was able to complete over 65 percent of those throws for 147 yards and one touchdown. I would have liked to see more explosive plays in the passing game, but Florida is now the first team all season to complete at least 60 percent of its passes against this incredible Seminoles defense.
He did a terrific job of moving around in the pocket and buying himself extra time to throw the ball. But most importantly, Driskel was able to finally provide the big plays when his team needed it most. The offense that would usually turn to the running game to move the football, could finally count on its young signal-caller to step up and take charge.
When Florida was facing a 3rd-and-15, Driskel avoided the pressure and made a top defense in the country look foolish—he ran for 31 yards. Due to one of the biggest runs of his career, the drive ended up resulting in the first score of a game.
In the beginning of the second quarter, Florida was facing a 3rd-and-5 when Driskel completed a 21-yard pass that resulted in a field goal to expand the lead. Late in the third quarter, Driskel again completed a pass for over 20 yards on third and long.
It was the play in the fourth quarter that really showed this young quarterback's growth.
Florida was looking to put the game out of reach with only seven minutes left to play. On 3rd-and-4, Driskel did a good job of rolling out of the pocket, found an open receiver in zone coverage and placed the ball perfectly over a Florida State defender.
The play resulted in a 14-yard touchdown pass to receiver Quinton Dunbar and it was the dagger that gave the Gators the victory.
Keep in mind, all of this was done against the top defense in the country and was performed by a quarterback that missed last week’s game due to a sprained ankle.
The talent and potential for Driskel was always off of the charts; he stepped on the Florida campus as a 5-star recruit back in 2011. The ability to make plays was always there, but if he was going to be the quarterback of the future, he had to prove he was capable of leading his team in pressure situations.
Florida has relied way too much on its defense, running game and special teams to win games, but the victory over Florida State was sparked by a sophomore quarterback that was able to step up and make plays when his team needed him most.
With a second season under offensive coordinator Brent Pease and more playmakers to help Driskel out, there is now little question that Florida has found its quarterback for next season.
Don't expect a quarterback controversy next year, because the Gators have found their guy.
The program that has had a knack for producing quality quarterbacks has now found another in Driskel.
Gator fans can now be excited for what is to come at the quarterback position.
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