Florida Football: Gators QB Jeff Driskel signs MLB contract

Jeff Driskel should keep Red Sox contract in back pocket

7/5/13 in NCAAF   |   Tyler_Waddell   |   426 respect

Jeff Driskel was the top dual-threat quarterback in the nation for the recruiting class of 2011, earning the respect of 247Sports as a top-20 overall prospect and a near-perfect composite rating of 99.15.Blog Photo - Florida Football: Gators QB Jeff Driskel signs MLB contract

Florida fans are wondering when that hype will translate into on-field success, as the Gators averaged a mere 146.3 passing yards per game in 2012 (118th overall). Driskel struggled against SEC defenses, throwing for under 100 yards four different times and laying an egg against Louisville in the Sugar Bowl.

While he still has another two years of eligibility at the collegiate level to develop and improve himself as a potential professional athlete, Driskel has a solid backup plan if football doesn't pan out.

The Boston Red Sox selected Driskel in the 29th round of the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft in June, and on Thursday he signed a minor league contract. But the Oviedo native made it clear that his heart is still with the swamp.

"After my college football career is over I want to pursue a professional career in the NFL," Driskel said in a statement, per the Associated Press. "If I ever decide I want to play baseball, I want to play with the Boston Red Sox who drafted me in the recent draft."

Driskel hasn’t played baseball since high school, but the Red Sox saw something to make them believe he’s talented enough to some day play in the Major Leagues if he ever changes his mind. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Driskel hit .330 and played centerfield during his junior season of high school before putting all focus on football.

The NFL is still a reasonable career choice for him, but maybe Driskel should start swinging a bat in his free time.

As of right now, Driskel is an athlete playing quarterback. He's been asked to use his arm more than his biggest strength—his legs. Last season he was seen locking on to receivers and holding on to the ball way too long, resulting in horrid decisions and 36 sacks.
Blog Photo - Florida Football: Gators QB Jeff Driskel signs MLB contract
Driskel struggled to make quick reads and never seemed to get rid of the ball in time to hit an open receiver. He forced a lot of passes and tried to do too much—but usually by this time, it's too late and he would take a nasty hit.

Here are some scary statistics:

When Florida was winning, Driskel completed 89-of-136 (65.4 percent) of his passes for 875 yards (6.4 yards per attempt), 11 touchdowns and just one interception. The Gators were a run-heavy team and relied on their backfield and tremendous defense to win games, not asking Driskel to do much of anything when up on an opponent.

However, when they were losing, he completed 67-of-109 (61.5 percent) attempts for 771 yards (7.1 ypa), one touchdown, four interceptions and was sacked 20 time; he was sacked for almost every third completion.

As he gets more comfortable with offensive coordinator Brent Pease's system, familiarizes himself with opposing defenses, continues to lock himself in the film room and works on his progressions, Driskel should improve as a passer and do a better job finding his receivers.
 
He needs to find comfortability in the pocket and neglect his habit to run first, but an entire offseason working with the first-team offense should help.
 
Driskel has the size, athleticism, arm and potential to be successful in college, but the NFL is still a few miles away. He has the tools to play professional football, but as of right now, he's an undrafted free agent.

Keep Boston on speed dial, Jeff.


Follow @Tyler_Waddell on Twitter
Notify me by email about comments that follow mine. Preview