Jeff Driskel is NOT Tim Tebow

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Jeff Driskel wants to make something perfectly clear to everyone — he’s not Tim Tebow.

Did you read that correctly?

He’s not Tim Tebow.

One more time for good measure Gators fans — Oviedo Hagerty quarterback Jeff Driskel IS NOT former Heisman Trophy winner and two-time national champion Tim Tebow.

OK. Do you have that out of your system?

Good.

But Driskel is arguably the country’s best high school quarterback. He’s ranked No. 1 at his position by Rivals.com, Scout.com and ESPN.com. At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, the Gator commit showcases a cannon for an arm and tremendous speed and agility for a dual-threat quarterback.

Through five games this season, Driskel has led Hagerty, a fourth-year program, to its best start in school history at 3-2. In that time, he’s thrown for around 760 yards and nine touchdowns, while rushing for 621 yards and seven scores.

The good thing? With lesser talent around him, Driskel has proven he can make plays — lots of them.

The bad thing? His impressive numbers thus far will only keep the Tebow comparisons coming. Fortunately for Driskel, he doesn’t let that talk bother him.

He’s dealt with being called the next Tebow since his hype machine was cranked on during his junior year. And while he wants fans, he’s his own man. He is trying to mimic Tebow’s accomplishments at Florida.

“There’s no other Tim Tebow,” Driskel said. “He’s a once-in-a-lifetime-type player. I’m going to try and work as hard as he did and lead as hard as he did and hopefully have as much success as he did.”

Driskel’s arm and technique look to be stronger and more polished than Tebow’s, and he has very similar speed. He’s not the bruising runner Tebow was, but he might be a little more agile.

The next thing people want to know is if he has the intangibles that made Tebow — and Florida — so successful. After watching him in Hagerty’s 28-21 loss to Winter Springs last Friday, he’s getting pretty close.

With ESPN in town and all the attention directed toward Driskel, the senior did everything he could to pull out a win for the Huskies. He finished with 118 yards and a touchdown through the air and added 108 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

But it was his final drive that really showed Driskel’s determination. He scampered for around 17 yards on a third-and-15 to extend the drive early. He swatted off defenders to make tough throws. He wasn’t bothered by Winter Springs’ constant blitzes and took his team all the way inside the 10 before the Winter Springs defense smothered his receivers with some thick coverage, forcing Hagerty to turn it over on downs.

Having some playmakers would certainly have been nice, but Driskel is the last person to get down on his team. He’s happy with how his team has played and proud of the way his teammates have surpassed low expectations.

“No one expected us to do anything this year, but we put a lot of hard work in and surprised some people,” he said. “We have to continue that and hopefully get into the playoffs.”

When you’re the consensus No. 1 quarterback in the country, everyone will be scrutinizing you when you don’t win, no matter who’s around you, but Driskel said none of that has affected him. Not even all those ESPN cameras could rattle the soft-spoken leader.

“There’s pressure, but I don’t let it get to me,” he said. “If I let it get to me I’m not going to be able to preform well. There’s no reason for me to be nervous because I’ve put the work in and I know my teammates are going to make plays and I know I’m going to make plays on Friday night. That’s what we have to keep doing.”

What has also come easy to Driskel is his ability to talk to recruits. He’s developed a great relationship with most of Florida’s other 14 verbals and has used his time to recruit as many of the big-named guys on Florida’s board.

One recruit he’s putting in a little bit more time with is recent tight end de-commit A.C. Leonard (Jacksonville University Christian). Driskel’s other top targets include wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (Belle Glade Glades Central), defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (Lake City Columbia), linebackers Curtis Grant (Richmond, Va., Hermitage) and Stephone Anthony (Wadesboro, N.C., Anson), and defensive end Curt Maggit (West Palm Beach Dwyer).

Besides Leonard, Driskel said the prospect he’s going after the hardest is Benjamin, who stands 6-foot-6, 210 pounds.

“I’m not going to push anybody, but he’d be a nice addition to our class,” Driskel said.

“We already have a good class, but there are a bunch of spots that need to be filled, and we want to get the better guys. I’ll be talking to them and I’ve developed a lot of relationships with them.”

If Driskel helps corral a bunch more studs into Florida’s 2011 class, those Tebow comparisons will only grow larger. Remember, he too was instrumental in getting Florida’s top-rated class back in 2006.

Well that last statement didn’t help …

Regardless, as long as Driskel continues to play like he has through the first half of his season, his hype will only escalate. Those Tebow/savior comparisons won’t be gone as long as he’s committed to Florida, which he says he doesn’t plan to change.

Driskel is set to enroll early and start working out with the Gators in January. But he assures that while his goal is to get playing time, he’s not expecting to surpass current quarterback John Brantley on the depth chart.

“I’m going to try and be the starter, even though that’s unrealistic,” he said. “That’s what I’m going to try and do. That’s going to be my mindset.”

22 COMMENTS

  1. If he is not going to be a guy who can truly run the ball like a Pryor, Martinez, Newton, or Robinson at the top D1 level, then why in the hell are we recruiting him. One thing time has proven regarding Meyer’s beloved offensive system: He can’t take guys who are more passer than runner and modify his system to be efficient for the player or the offense. That little notion has finally been put to bed.

    The offense has not been modified to work efficiently with pure passers Leak and Brantley. The only player this system has worked for at the SEC level- and at times it was stuck in 3rd gear- was Tim Tebow. Well, this blog post has made it perfectly clear Driskel is NOT Tim Tebow.

    The OPTION part of this spread/OPTION has proven to be the lynch pin in making the offense efficient. Speed is not the main ingredient in being a great runner in the systems like Mich, NB, or UF, but it is really quickness and the ability to read, react, stick the foot in the ground and go. Many 4.5 guys are not going to be great option runners. Some guys who are 4.7 like Tebow can effectively run the option. Guys like Robinson and Martinez can run the hell out of the option because they have it all.

    We have players we have recruited who are excellent runners and I believe can run the option extremely well. First of whom is Trey Burton. All he has done is come in early in the spring and move the ball up and down the field for bigger chunks of yards and as many TDs, if not more, than Brantley. Against the Gators defense I might add. He is the player they bring in to run the redzone offense because of his option ability. He has one of the biggest pass plays of the season, because of the defenses commitment to stopping his option ability.

    Why would we not expect Trey Burton to be the man in our offense? Many in Gator Nation are already looking over Burton’s shoulder and making googly-eyes at Driskel because he is the number one drop back pass QB in the nation. His running is not why he is well known. It is what he has done in combines, camps, and his physical measureables. None of which tell you what kind of football player he is, how he leads, handles adversity, and what he would do in championship situations.

    If he comes to UF and is a winner, he will be a first. The first QB who hails from a losing program who wins at UF. UF’s Championship QBs have all been big time winners at big high schools. Winning championships takes a special person who has more than just talent. A person who has charisma, determination, focus, and “it.”

    Going through pressure of playoffs reveals a lot about the mental makeup of a QB, which is 70% of what makes a QB great. You can’t tell as much about a QB at Elite 11 camps, Nike Combines, or a QB’s size and speed, as you can tell about them in playoff runs. Doug Johnson didn’t push his teams to a state championships, but he had nice measureables, a gun of an arm, and could make all the throws. He didn’t cover himself or the Gators with glory.

    Leak, Peace, Matthews, Danny, Tebow, Grossman were all big high school state champions. I don’t think there is any coincidence they all had an “it” factor while at UF. They were productive in tough environments on the road in the SEC. They all rose above tough coaching, physical injury, and adversity to lift the Gators to great heights.

    The champion light switch didn’t get turned on when they became a Gator. That great quality was revealed and developed leading teams to playoffs and having the nerve and mental toughness to lead their teams to big win after big win in playoffs. UF was the recipient of a QBs ready to lead Gators to championships, and each of them did.

  2. as a gator fan….im deeply asking the gator nation and the rest of the nation to please forget about about tim tebow on saturdays, he is the best gator of all time but please everyone give it a break, he’s playing on sundays now not saturdays.

  3. As the year goes I’m missing T.s’ cheerleading on the sidelines. Sounds like Driskell is going to help on the sideline in year one, uh, like T..

    Anyone else curious what Ronnie Powell could do as a fullback inside the 5 yard line? Maybe even as a blocking back in short third down plays. The coach needs to try something new.

  4. It is going to take more than talent to get things back on track. Obviously a strong, mobile quarterback is what this scheme calls for. I too wonder about the coaching, not just OC. It seems to me the little details are missing this year.

  5. Have you listened to this kid in an interview? He thinks he is Peyton Manning. LOL. The kid is a nothing, but thinks he is the next Peyton Manning. Gators, you can have this child. He is a nothing. Nor will he work well with Urban, if Urban is still there.

  6. Driscal has been a 4 year starter at a small school in Orlando. He has 3 wins this year and 4 total in the past 3, that is 7 wins in high school out of 34 games. This is not even Brantley. He can’t beat non athletes. He has a great arm, can throw the out, but can’t read a defense, Love to see him play any team in the top 5 just from Orlando. He would have 5 picks a game. He is not a winner. If Mike Vick or Tebow played for that school they would have been to state 3 years. Good luck with this one.

  7. Jack, UF didn’t rate this guy #1. Every recruiting service in the country did. He isn’t rated #1 in the State of Florida. He is rated #1 in the United States of America. Kind of ignorant of the facts to say that he is a “nothing”. How could you possibly know if he will work well with Urban? If your team had recruited him, then you’d say he was another Tebow and how great he is. Just another Gator Hater attitude.

  8. I had the pleasure of watching him live this past Friday against St.Cloud. He was a one man wrecking crew. He ran for 3 td’s over 70ish yards. During the first long touchdown scamper he outran 2 Bulldog DB’s who are said to have 4.3-4.4 speed. He threw a long bomb into the endzone perfectly but his receiver dropped it. Also, scrabling for his life, (no offensive line), he rolled right outside the numbers, shed a couple blitzers, and threw across his body to the opposite sideline about 40 yds upfield for a completion. It was amazing. Final: Hagerty 36- St.Cloud 14

  9. To the guy complaining about recruiting Driskel because he’s not a running QB.

    Driskel runs the ball well. He’s just a much better passer than Tebow.

    To the guy saying Driskel can’t read, ur obviously a Canes fan. Don’t know why u guys always like commenting on Gator boards.

    One thing I noticed about Driskel when I watched him, was that he was very accurate. Very impressive when combined with his rocket arm.

    If the spoiled Gator Nation doesn’t burn down the Swamp, IMO he will make the team better. Burton most likely ends up playing RB if Driskel takes the reigns.

  10. If you guys were all good enough to play college football, we might pay a little attention to your negative comments. Since, however, most of you are has-been high school second-stringers with a legend-in-your-own-mind belief system, you should probably stick to what you know…which is…? To the rest of you, who keep your comments respectful and positive, acknowledging that only time will tell, and Driskel will probably make an impact one way or the other…keep up the good work.

  11. Congratulations Jeff! for your UF choice. I hope that any comparisons people make of you related to Tebow are moral and spiritual ones. Tim’s commitment to Christ as his personal savior is the most important decision any person can make in life. All of the rest is in His hands as we serve Him. Like Tim and Danny Wuerffel before him…we will pray for you.

  12. My daughter is a cheerleader for that “small school” near Orlando, so I had the pleasure of attending all of the Hagerty football games this past season. (Unlike most other “mom’s”, I am a HUGE football fan! Just went to the Super Bowl last weekend!)
    Anyone see ESPN magazine this week?? They predict that Jeff Driskel to win the Heisman Trophy in 2014. Yep…it’s right there in black and white.
    I had been amazed by his play all season, so I am with them on this one. This kid is scary good….. Can hardly wait for football season. : )