John Brantley Considers Transfer: What Is Florida's Plan B at QB?
Is quarterback John Brantley transferring from the University of Florida? If you believe the reports out of multiple media outlets, the redshirt junior is at least considering it.
Brantley’s high school coach, Kerwin Bell—himself a former UF quarterback—told the Palm Beach Post that had Florida not brought in a new coach and offensive coordinator, Brantley probably would not have returned.
“If everything’s the same as it was this year, I don’t think so,” Bell told the Post. “I don’t think that would work out. Now, it could be a little different. I’m sure he would love to bounce back and have a great final season.”
Still, if Brantley goes, that leaves new head coach Will Muschamp in a bit of a bind in terms of what he has to work with behind Brantley
Here’s a quick look at Florida’s options at QB.
Driskel is a high school senior who just completed his career at Hagerty (Oviedo, FL).
He’s a stud, to say the least. Driskel was the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state and is ranked as the No. 1 recruit in the country by rivals.com and No. 2 by scout.com.
Now, have no fear UF fans—Driskel is still coming to Gainesville. Although he was an Urban Meyer recruit, Driskel spoke to Muschamp and re-affirmed his commitment to Florida. In fact, he will early enroll on Jan. 7.
That’s huge for Muschamp—in all likelihood, other recruits will follow in Driskel’s footsteps knowing that the star player is still attending Florida despite the coaching change.
That’s all well and good, but would Muschamp really be ready to turn the reins over to a true freshman?
Murphy, a freshman, did not play this year.
The coaching staff loves him—the Urban Meyer coaching staff, that is. At 6'1", 193 pounds, Murphy is a gifted athlete—he won the Florida state triple jump championship as a senior in high school—who can run the spread offense.
But Muschamp is said to be favoring a pro-style offense, so it’s a question mark as to what this will mean for Murphy going forward, just as Brantley is questioning his role in a new offense.
Reed, a freshman, appeared in 11 of Florida’s 12 games in backup/mop-up duty.
He actually had a better efficiency rating than Brantley—127.36 to 118.79—although, obviously, Reed took far fewer snaps than Brantley did.
Reed finished the regular season 18-of-33 for 192 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. That’s not a bad game for a freshman, but unfortunately it came in dribs and drabs over the course of a season.
At this point, Reed is as much a question mark as anybody else.
Burton is at the top of this list simply for what he’s already done.
Having enrolled at Florida in January of this year to get the ball rolling, Burton was ready to play when the season commenced. He burst onto the scene in late September when he broke a Florida record by accounting for six touchdowns—five rushing, one receiving—in a 48-14 victory over Kentucky.
Burton finished second on the Gators with 347 yards rushing and a team-high 11 touchdowns. That’s the good news.
The bad news is, he’s an inexperienced passer, and with Muschamp preferring a pro set, the quarterback is going to get a lot of straight drop-back opportunities. It’s not whether Burton is a good passer or a bad passer—we just don’t know since he only threw five balls this year, and that’s the issue.