Driskel assures fans he will remain at UF

Published: Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 5:19 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 5:19 p.m.

Junior quarterback Jeff Driskel wants to assure Florida fans his focus will be on leading the Gators on the football field. He just wants to keep his options open once it's time to leave Gainesville.

Driskel announced Thursday he has in fact signed with the Boston Red Sox, who selected him in the 29th round of the Major League Baseball draft last month. The signing occurred late Wednesday, and the club now has his MLB rights secured for six years.

‘‘After my college football career is over I want to pursue a professional career in the NFL,” Driskel said in a statement. “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.''

It was first reported Wednesday night that Driskel, a two-sport athlete in high school at Oviedo Hagerty, had signed with the Red Sox.

“Yes I signed with the Red Sox,” Driskel wrote on his Twitter account Thursday morning. “Nothing changes. I am still a full time student athlete at UF, fully committed to playing football.”

Driskel has thrown for 1,794 yards and 12 touchdowns in two seasons, one as a full-time starter, when he set a single-game school record for rushing yards by a quarterback (177).

“I plan on focusing on football and finishing my college career with the Gators,” Driskel said.

Driskel is not the first Florida football player to sign with an MLB team while still in school.

Former receiver Riley Cooper (2006-2009) signed with the Texas Rangers during the summer of 2009 but returned for his senior season that fall, while former quarterback Doug Johnson (1996-1999) was drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as a freshman and played two summers of minor league baseball for the organization before completing his college football career.

Driskel can remain NCAA eligible and on scholarship at UF as long as the money and/or benefits he receives from the Red Sox are baseball-specific and he doesn't sign any commercial endorsement deals.

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