Gators' backup QB, RB transferring

Updated: January 6, 2013, 1:42 PM ET
By Michael DiRocco | GatorNation

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida Gators sophomore quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who was beaten out by Jeff Driskel for the starting job this season, and sophomore running back Chris Johnson are transferring, the school announced Sunday.

Brissett's departure is an expected move after UF coach Will Muschamp said in late November that Driskel would be the starter in 2013.

The 6-foot-4, 229-pound Brissett played in five games this season and completed 23 of 35 passes for 249 yards and one touchdown. He started the season opener and the Jacksonville State game.

"Both Jacoby and Chris expressed an interest in transferring and getting a fresh start," Muschamp said in a statement. "We are very thankful for their contributions to the University of Florida and wish them the best of luck."

Brissett and Driskel competed throughout the spring and in fall camp to become the Gators' starting quarterback, and Muschamp announced the week before the season opener that both quarterbacks would play against Bowling Green.

Brissett started the game at quarterback while Driskel started at receiver. Driskel, however, played the bulk of the game at quarterback and completed 10 of 16 passes for 114 yards and one touchdown against the Falcons. Driskel was on the field for 52 of UF's 63 offensive snaps. Brissett got 11 snaps and ended up completing 3 of 5 passes for 31 yards.

Brissett took snaps at the end of UF's routs over Kentucky and South Carolina and played little more than one quarter against Louisiana-Lafayette after Driskel suffered a sprained right ankle late in the third quarter.

Brissett led the Gators on a game-tying touchdown drive and UF eventually won the game by returning a blocked punt for a touchdown with seconds remaining. Brissett started the following week against Jacksonville State and completed 14 of 22 passes for 154 yards. He hasn't played since.

Brissett played in eight games in 2011 and completed 18 of 39 passes for 206 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions. He started the LSU and Auburn games and played the entire second half of the FSU game because of injuries to starter John Brantley.

Brissett's departure leaves the Gators no experience behind Driskel. Tyler Murphy, who will be a redshirt junior next season, has appeared in three games in his career in a mop-up role and has never thrown a pass.

Skyler Mornhinweg will be a redshirt freshman in 2013. UF has a commitment from Max Staver, a 6-foot-6, 238-pound four-star recruit from Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood Academy), and he would be the fourth scholarship quarterback on the roster.

The 5-9, 202-pound Johnson played sparingly on offense this season, gaining 35 yards on five carries. However, he was UF's top tackler on special teams (11) and had 19 special teams tackles in his career.

Johnson, who came to UF as a safety out of Ocala, Fla./Trinity Catholic, was ejected from the Allstate Sugar Bowl loss to Louisville after throwing a punch after the second-half kickoff.

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter