Post image for Jeff Driskel, Louisiana Tech, Quarterback

Jeff Driskel, Louisiana Tech, Quarterback

by carmine on February 20, 2015


Spotlight Athlete Archive
By: Samantha Silver – UA Writer (Southeastern University)

You will certainly hear some mixed reactions from Florida Gator fans if you mention the name Jeff Driskel. Some may remember him as a highly sought after recruit with big expectations coming out of high school, and some may only remember him as a quarterback who never quite met those expectations. Whether or not Driskel has been a success as a quarterback is up for debate. Who he is as a follower of Christ is more important.

rn_g_jeffdriskel_ms_300Many fans and members of the media were looking for a breakout year from Driskel in 2014. Unfortunately, during his last year at Florida, Driskel did not play as well as he would have liked. He completed 114 passes out of an attempted 212. This includes 2 TD’s and three interceptions.

“Through it all I stayed the course. I never put the blame on anyone,” stated Driskel of last season. “I always felt that it wasn’t as bad as people made it seem like. People would always ask if I was okay and I said yeah I’m fine, you know it sucks but at the end of the day God doesn’t care about your performance on the athletic field. That was comforting.”

The Gator fans were ruthless with endless tweets and message board posts regarding Driskel’s performance and the team’s lack of success. When asked about the criticism he faced, he had a different perspective on it.

“Being a quarterback and being on the national scale you are going to get some criticism that is blown out of proportion and also some positive publicity that is blown out of proportion as well. It is a two way street and you are going to have to deal with that if you go to a big 10 school. It was tougher for people who cared about me than it was for me. I didn’t pay any attention to any of the online stuff.”

153583052.0After a rough performance against Missouri in a 42-13 loss on homecoming, the decision was made to start freshman Treon Harris the following week against Georgia.

“It was tough, obviously I didn’t like it or agree with it, but I kept doing what I could for the team and I told coach I would help in whatever way I can. I was always ready in case I needed to go in.

It was definitely something different not something that I enjoyed or wanted to happen but I think I handled it well. I didn’t show a bad attitude; I knew that all eyes would be on me and how I handled it. I think I did a pretty good job, it was tough but God gave me strength and helped me show what a Christian should look like in times of struggle.”

Driskel was raised in the church by parents whom he said did a very good job. He attended Hagerty High School where he also played baseball and was coached by his long-time friend and mentor Jered Goodwin. Driskel excelled as both a baseball and football player, and showed great character off the field.

“He was a leader from day one; he was the type of athlete that could do anything on the field. They don’t breed them like that: size, strength, and speed. Off the field, he is one of the most level-headed and strongest kids around. It’s funny because our relationship has grown from coach and player, to friends over the last four years now that he is in college.”

Goodwin has gotten to see Driskel develop as a player and a person over the years. He has also not let any of his struggles on the football field shake his faith.

fladriskelx-large“I think everything else aside, the thing I am most proud of is his faith and how it has not wavered. There was always a bigger plan and a bigger purpose with him. He has the ability to develop important relationships and that is one of the things that we always talk about in my program in high school. He has been able to do that throughout college and make some very close friends that will be with him for life. He has really taken a mature approach to everything that has happened. He is not the type of person to wear his heart on his sleeve. He knows who he is he knows who his family is and who his God is and it is amazing for me to see that.”

Goodwin feels the impact Driskel made went beyond the playing fields.

“I don’t think people understand how many people Jeff has inspired in our community and how he goes about his business and handles adversity. What he has been able to accomplish; our community is really proud of him.”

Before any of this happened in his life, Driskel had to make the big decision on where he would attend college. He felt that Florida was the best fit and picked the Gators over other highly regarded schools.

recruit_driskel_200“It was pretty hectic, in high school I was pretty heavily recruited. There were schools from all over the country that would call or email me pretty much nightly,” said Driskel of his recruitment. “It was kind of cool for a while but after a little bit it got overwhelming. I was happy I picked Florida over Auburn and Ole Miss. It was also close to home, and close to my friends so that was good. The way the quarterback depth chart was at the time allowed me to play pretty fast when I got there. It is a great school and a great program; it was a total package for me. I enjoyed my four years there and wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Although his career at Florida is over, Driskel has one more year of eligibility by NCAA rule, which he will use at Louisiana Tech, where he will also begin his master’s work.

“I would think some expected it to come just how the season unfolded,” said Driskel of his decision to transfer. “A lot of people weren’t happy to see me go; I made a lot of friends there and it was a tough decision. I’m leaving a lot of people that cared about me behind, but I’m looking forward to the next chapter. I am definitely going to make sure I stay friends with all of the people I know and love in Gainesville.”

Driskel is not dwelling on the past but rather looking forward to the new opportunities in front of him.

“It’s always cool to get a fresh start and a second chance. I have one last chance in college and I’m looking forward to building some relationships with the coaches and teammates that will be really fun. I hope I can help Louisiana Tech win a championship.”

He views Louisiana Tech as an opportunity to win a championship as well as a possible avenue to get him to the next level.

hi-res-181929927-quarterback-jeff-driskel-of-the-florida-gators-warms-up_crop_north“I want to play in the NFL, and I think that going to Louisiana Tech will help my chances. After that, I want to use my degree to get into something. I am in grad school, I don’t know what program I am going to go to but I’ve thought about maybe going into some kind of sales position whether a medical sales firm or insurance firm. My main focus is having a good season and getting a shot at the NFL.”

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