If this whole football thing doesn’t work out, Florida Gators starting quarterback Jeff Driskel now has a pretty nice fallback plan. The junior signal-caller inked a minor league deal with the Boston Red Sox last week after being drafted in the 29th round by the club in last month’s MLB Amateur Draft.
Despite what it may seem like, don’t worry Gator fans as Driskel wasted no time reassuring the Gator Nation that he intends to continue to play football and that baseball is merely a backup plan.
“I am still a full-time student athlete at UF, fully committed to football. After my college career is over I want to pursue a professional career in the NFL,” Driskel said. “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.”
Driskel, an outfielder, has not played baseball since 2011 when he was a senior at Hagerty High School in Oviedo, Fla.
Driskel is not the first college quarterback to sign a professional contract with an MLB team, in fact he’s not even the first Gator. Former Florida quarterback Doug Johnson spent two summers with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1996-97 before deciding to stick to football full-time. Also, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson spent time in the Colorado Rockies organization in 2010 while he was still playing for NC State. The Los Angeles Angels drafted current Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker in 2009 when he was still at the University of Washington.
This seems to be a positive move for everyone involved. For Driskel, he is able to accept a signing bonus and receive benefits from the Red Sox, while he continues to improve as a quarterback in college. For the Red Sox, they own Driskel’s rights for the next six years, so if his career in pro football doesn’t work out then they may have potentially gotten a steal in the 29th round of the draft. And for the Gators, they get to hold on to arguably the most important player on the team if they hope to fulfill those SEC Championship and potential National Championship aspirations.