Posted: 4:09 pm Friday, November 5th, 2010
By Matt Porter
Dwyer coach Jack Daniels had a feeling, and he was right.
After an Oct. 22 visit to Dwyer’s campus, Florida coach Urban Meyer told Daniels he wanted to extend a scholarship offer to quarterback Jacoby Brissett — but only if he paid his own way for the first year, a practice known as greyshirting.
Greyshirting lets college programs sign extra players as insurance against injury, academic trouble or other unseen issues with scholarship players.
Brissett wasn’t interested in learning more. When Daniels told him of Meyer’s offer, he offered a smiling ‘No thanks.’
“I knew what Jacoby would say,” Daniels said. “He’s a real proud kid and I think he wants to play against [the Gators] and beat them,” Daniels said. “That’s what motivates him and I love it.”
Florida has not offered Brissett a scholarship, while Florida State, LSU, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Notre Dame are high on his list. He will visit LSU this weekend with teammates Nick O’Leary and Curt Maggitt.
“They were [interested] at the beginning, but no longer. Oh well,” Brissett said that afternoon, when asked about Florida.
Brissett, who threw for 2,200 yards and 28 touchdowns and won a state title as a junior, raised his stock after an offseason dedicated to improving his fundamentals and mechanics.
Playing in a season’s worth of mostly blowout games, Brissett, a four-star recruit according to Rivals, has completed 87 of 130 passes for 1,339 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has not thrown an interception. Last week, area coaches named him the All-District MVP.
Without commenting specifically, Meyer has expressed his satisfaction with his team’s future at quarterback.
The Gators have a verbal commitment from Oviedo-Hagerty quarterback Jeff Driskel, a five-star recruit. Driskel, who like Brissett is 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, is No. 12 on ESPN’s Class of 2011 national rankings, and No. 17 on Rivals’ list. Brissett is unranked on both lists.
“It wasn’t any slight on Florida’s part. When they initially recruited Jacoby, they had a guy in [Jeff] Driskel who they believed in,” Daniels said.
The Gators have three scholarship quarterbacks in the fold: Junior John Brantley; freshman Trey Burton, a versatile athlete but not considered a pure passer, and freshman Tyler Murphy, ranked as a two-star recruit by Rivals.
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Hard to ignore the prospect of O’Leary, Maggitt and Brissett playing together next season, whether it’s in-state or elsewhere.
All three are uncommitted and have expressed an interest in playing together in college. And while landing the trio would thrill one school’s fans — and provide a nice storyline, one year after Florida signed Dwyer’s Matt Elam, Gerald Christian and Robert Clark — Daniels says the three shouldn’t be swayed by sentiment.
“You know, I think that’s a possibility,” Daniels said of the trio landing at one school. “But I mean, it’s stupid for those guys to go as a package just for the sake of playing together. I try to tell them that. They have to go where it’s best for them, where they like the academics and the offense,” Daniels said.
That said, Daniels knows they want to remain teammates. Naturally, O’Leary and Brissett spend a lot of time together on and away from the field, and the bond between quarterback and tight end is strong.
“I think even though they’re worlds apart in the way they grew up and the way they’ve lived their lives, they’re two of the closest friends on the team. I’d say they’re best friends. I know Nick thinks the world of Jacoby as a quarterback. I think he’d want to have Jacoby throwing him the ball for the next four or five years, and I think Jacoby feels the same way.”
Two possible contenders to pull off the triple: Alabama and Florida State. While O’Leary and Maggitt have Alabama offers, Brissett does not. Daniels said he thinks if Alabama would offer Brissett, the Tide would be at the top of their list.
Florida State has not offered Maggitt, but O’Leary said FSU is at the top of his list, and the Seminoles are highly interested in Brissett.
O’Leary recently said he is most interested in FSU, Miami, LSU, Alabama and Wisconsin. Maggitt says he is ‘wide open’, and Alabama, Florida, LSU and Wisconsin are in the running. Daniels said he thinks Brissett will choose from Florida State, LSU, Wisconsin, South Carolina and Notre Dame.
Recruits can sign national letters of intent on signing day, Feb. 2.