Since Tim Tebow graduated from the University of Florida, the Gators have had a revolving door at QB. Originally, Cam Newton was supposed to be the quarterback of the future, but off the field trouble and being demoted to third string led him to transfer. Newton went on to win a National Championship and Heisman Trophy at Auburn.
John Brantley, Jordan Reed, Trey Burton, Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel have all had their turns at QB since then. Reed was moved to tight end and Burton has been a position-less player; he has seen time at full back, h-back, tight end, receiver and running back. Brantley threw 20 TDs and 17 interceptions in his two seasons as a starter for UF.
Going into 2012, the battle was between Brissett and Driskel for the starting QB job with Brantley gone. Driskel won the job and had a successful Sophomore year. While looking uncomfortable at times in the Pro-Style offense, Driskel still managed to lead the Gators to a BCS bowl game and threw for 12 TDs and interceptions. Brissett saw limited time, going 23-for-35 with 249 yards and 1 TD. Brissett transfered at the end of the season, leaving Driskel as the only experienced QB.
Through these last four seasons, Redshirt Junior Tyler Murphy has sat and watched as he continued to get passed over. Driskel struggled at the start of the 2013 season, especially in a loss to the University of Miami, where he threw two interceptions and fumbled once. In the third game of the season against Tennessee, Driskel broke his leg and the Gators were forced to turn to Murphy.
Murphy led the Gators to a 31-17 victory and went 8-for-14 with 134 yards and a TD. He also showed the ability to make plays with his legs, by rushing the ball 10 times for 84 yards and a TD.
The next week against Kentucky, Murphy made the first start of his career and it was on the road. He started hot going 11-for-11 in the first half with a TD. He ended the game 15-for-18 with 156 yards, one TD and one interception. He also carried the ball seven times for 36 yards and a TD in a 24-7 Gators win.
On Saturday, he made his first start in the Swamp and led the Gators to a 30-10 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks. He went 16-for-22 with 240 yards and three TDs. He didn’t run the ball as well, carrying it seven times for 15 yards. The Gators showed big play ability for the first time this season. He threw 51 and 38 yards TDs to receiver Solomon Patton, who finished with career high 124 yards receiving.
When he came in for Driskel against Tennessee, the Gators were hoping Murphy could keep them competitive for the remainder of the season. It’s now looking like they have their QB for the next year and a half and the Driskel era may be over in Gainesville.