Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel has reportedly signed a contract with the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball.
As first reported by Boston radio station WEEI and later confirmed though father Jerry Driskel by Dieter Kurtenbach of the Sun-Sentinel, Driskel signed with the Red Sox Wednesday but it will not impact his status as the Gators' starting quarterback. Driskel's father told the Orlando Sentinel the UF football program is entirely on-board with the move. The contract signing essentially guarantees Boston holds his rights should Driskel ever decide to play professional baseball. He is not expected to report to Boston's farm system immediately.
"I plan on focusing on football and finishing my college career with the Gators," Driskel said in an official statement. "After my college football career is over, I want to pursue a professional career in the NFL. 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."
According to baseball agent Matt Rodriguez of Global Sports Management Group, NCAA rules allow a college football player to sign a contract with an MLB team, and earn money from said team, as long as that money does not come from endorsements or marketing. Players can even maintain college football eligibility after signing an agent as long as that agent is solely focused on baseball and separated from the athlete's football career.
The Red Sox own Driskel's rights for six years, essentially giving him a back-up plan for football. Driskel was a standout baseball and football player in high school but has never played baseball at Florida.
He is hardly the first college football player to make a similar move. Quarterbacks Russell Wilson, Jake Locker and Dennis Dixon, all signed MLB deals while playing college football.
In 1996, Florida freshman quarterback-to-be Doug Johnson signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and went on to play minor-league baseball during the summers of 1996 and 1997. He was a four-year letter winner at Florida and started 22 games on the football field.
Driskel was selected by Boston in the 29th round (No. 863 overall) of the 2013 MLB Draft. He was draft-eligible because he has completed six semesters of school at UF.
Thursday morning, Driskel took to Twitter to reiterate his intent to remain Florida's quarterback.
Yes I signed with the Red Sox. Nothing changes. I am still a full time student athlete at UF, fully committed to playing football. #GoGators