Florida football recruiting has experienced a mix of successes and failures over the past decade, with the quarterback position being far and away the No. 1 problem for the Gators.
UF has signed a handful of All-American passers, but none of them panned out. Even worse, a few transferred to other schools and had success.
SEC Country took a look back at the quarterbacks Florida has signed in the last 10 recruiting classes to equate a hit rate. Here are the results:
2006: Tim Tebow
Tebow was both a blessing and a curse for the Gators. He took the program to new heights and finished his career as one of the great quarterbacks in college football history. However, Florida’s quarterback position has seemingly been under Murphy’s law since Tebow’s last snap in 2009.
He helped the Gators win the SEC and a national championship in 2006, then led them to two more titles in 2008. Tebow become the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy in 2007, as well as the Davey O’Brien Award and Maxwell Award. He repeated as the Maxwell Award winner in 2008, was a three-time Heisman Trophy finalist and also earned SEC Offensive Player of the Year honors twice.
Tebow was selected in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft and spent three seasons in the league. He now plays minor league baseball for the New York Mets and is also an analyst for SEC Network.
2007: John Brantley, Cam Newton
Brantley and Newton were both 5-star recruits, but only one of them lived up to that billing. Newton played sparingly behind Tebow in his first two years before deciding to transfer after the 2008 season. After one year in junior college, Newton went to Auburn and won the Heisman Trophy en route to leading the Tigers to a 2010 national championship. He was the first overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers and is one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the league.
Brantley, meanwhile, took the reins from Tebow in 2010. He threw for 2,061 yards that season and 2,044 yards the following year, but never found his rhythm under center. He was part of three-quarterback system in Urban Meyer’s final year, then had a rocky senior season with Will Muschamp. Brantley had a 15-9 record as the starting QB.
2009: Jordan Reed
Reed threw for 252 passing yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception as Florida’s third QB option in 2010. He moved to tight end under Muschamp and had 866 receiving yards in two seasons, including a 559-yard campaign in 2012.
Reed finished his career with 907 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. He turned pro as a redshirt junior and was selected in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. Reed has developed into one of the top tight ends in the league.
2010: Trey Burton, Tyler Murphy
Burton signed with the Gators as a quarterback, but he quickly became more of athlete and primarily played wide receiver in his four years at Florida. In 50 career games with 29 starts, he had 976 receiving yards, 720 rushing yards, 103 passing yards and 20 total touchdowns (0 passing).
Burton signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014 after going undrafted and has spent three years with the team as a tight end. He started four times in 15 games played last season, making 37 catches for 327 yards and a touchdown.
After three years as a reserve quarterback, Murphy appeared in nine games in 2013 and started six. He threw for 1,216 yards, 6 touchdowns and 5 picks before missing the final three games with a shoulder injury.
Murphy left for Boston College as a graduate transfer and finished the 2014 season with 1,623 passing yards and 1,184 rushing yards. He spent one year with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a wide receiver.
2011: Jacoby Brissett, Jeff Driskel
Muschamp came up big by signing both Driskel and Brissett in his first recruiting class at Florida. However, neither would finish their college careers with the Gators. Brissett became just the fifth quarterback in school history to start as a true freshman, but transferred to N.C. State after the 2012 season when Driskel had locked up the job.
Brissett threw for 5,268 yards, 43 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in his two years as the Wolfpacks’ starter. He was selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots and started two games as a rookie.
After leading the Gators to an 11-2 record in 2012, Driskel broke his leg three games into the 2013 season and then lost his starting job the following year. He finished his UF career with 3,411 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in 29 games played, with a 14-6 record as a starter.
Driskel transferred to Louisiana Tech for his final year of eligibility and had a breakout season in 2015, throwing for 4,033 yards with 32 total touchdowns and 8 picks. He was drafted in the sixth round by the San Francisco 49ers and now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals.
2012: Skyler Mornhinweg
Mornhinweg spent three years at UF and started the final three games of Florida’s 4-8 season in 2013. He completed 44 of his 63 pass attempts for 344 yards with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. Mornhinweg transferred after the 2014 season and finished his career at Columbia. He had 1,653 passing yards, 8 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 17 games played, starting 12. He lost the QB job as a senior.
2013: Max Staver
Staver left Florida after his redshirt freshman season and transferred to Houston Baptist. He started 10 games for the Huskies in 2015, throwing for 1,010 yards, 5 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Staver lost his starting job last season and saw action in just four games, throwing for 173 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception.
2014: Will Grier, Treon Harris
Grier was supposed to be Florida’s quarterback of the future, but Harris got the first crack at the job after Driskel was benched in 2014. Harris started the final six games as well as nine more the following year, but had a 9-6 record and regressed at QB. He left the team prior to last season after McElwain planned to move him to wide receiver. Harris transferred to Tennessee State this month.
Grier would be Florida’s starting quarterback right now had he not gotten in trouble. He led the Gators to a 6-0 start in 2015 — throwing for 1,204 yards, 10 touchdowns and 3 picks — before the NCAA suspended him for one year after he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. UF went 4-4 with Harris under center and Grier transferred to West Virginia after the season.
2016: Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask
The jury is still out on Franks and Trask, as both redshirted last season. McElwain relied on transfers Austin Appleby and Luke Del Rio at the quarterback position. Appleby started seven games and threw for 1,447 yards, 10 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, while Del Rio made six starts and threw for 1,358 yards, 8 touchdowns and 8 picks. Franks is expected to be the starting quarterback in 2017.
The Hit Rate: 8 percent
The Gators hit the jackpot with Tebow, but they’ve struck out on every quarterback since then. Of the 11 players Florida signed post-Tebow and before McElwain, all of them except Brantley either transferred to another school (8) or switched positions.
UF has ranked lower than 100th nationally in total offense in five of the last six years and had the 96th-ranked unit in 2014. These offensive struggles are a direct result of the QB woes. There’s a reason it’s called the most important position in all of sports.