GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As expected Monday, Florida quarterback Austin Appleby was asked about his relationship with LSU quarterback Danny Etling, as the two were former teammates at Purdue and will now square off Saturday in Baton Rouge, La.
It’s a notable subplot to the matchup between the No. 21 Gators and No. 16 Tigers.
But just as interesting was the connection Appleby made with another former Purdue signal-caller.
When asked if he had ever met Boilermakers legend Drew Brees, Appleby revealed that he actually had the chance to workout with Brees, former Gators star Tim Tebow and noted quarterback coach Tom House during the offseason in California a couple years ago.
“I had a chance to spend a day out with them. I got his number, we texted and he called me and offered me some support every now and then,” Appleby said of Brees. “He’s huge for that program. He kind of is our Tim, I guess. He’s obviously a Hall of Famer, and what he’s done, what he means to that university is huge. And the way that he’s been around and knows how important it is to get around us kids and support our program has been really, really special.”
Appleby spent four years at Purdue and made 11 starts over the last two seasons before joining Florida as a graduate transfer this offseason.
He made two starts earlier this fall as a fill-in for injured starter Luke Del Rio and replaced Del Rio again for Florida’s 20-7 win over South Carolina last week. The LSU game will be his fourth start of the year.
Appleby has had some highly successful quarterbacks supporting him in his development. Former Super Bowl champion and current ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer spoke in September about the relationship he formed with Appleby through the famed Elite 11 quarterback camp.
As for Brees, Appleby reiterated his appreciation for the time the New Orleans Saints star spent with him.
“The way he does it is almost more than you would expect for a guy like him,” he said. “We definitely appreciate him. I definitely appreciate the way that he has always supported me.”