This one seemingly comes from out of nowhere.
The starting quarterback for Lane Kiffin‘s resurgent FAU program for most of 2017, Jason Driskel was hoping again to trigger one of the most potent offenses in the country in 2018. Instead, Driskel announced on his personal Twitter account that he is retiring from the sport.
“After a lot of thinking, talking with friends and family, and prayer, I have made the decision to end my college football career,” Driskel, who has one year of eligibility remaining, wrote in the social media missive. “I undoubtedly will miss my teammates and the game with all of its trials and tribulations; but I will not regret the decision to move into the next chapter of my life.”
After going 1-2 the first three games of the 2017 season, Lane Kiffin benched starter Daniel Parr and inserted Driskel. After losing his first start at Buffalo, Driskel proceeded to help lead the Owls to 10 straight wins to close out the regular season with a school-record 11 wins. FAU won the Conference USA championship and also claimed the program’s first bowl win since 2008 for good measure.
Driskel passed for 2,247 yards, five touchdowns and just four interceptions in what turned out to be his last season at the school. He was also third on the Owls with 427 yards rushing, while his eight rushing touchdowns were second on the team.
With Driskel out, a pair of transfers, Florida State’s De'Andre Johnson and Oklahoma’s Chris Robinson, will likely battle for the starting job beginning in the spring. Even if he hadn’t retired, Driskel would’ve had to beat out that duo for the starting job, his head coach confirmed after the Boca Raton Bowl rout of Akron.
Florida Atlantic quarterback De'Andre Johnson was one of the notable absences for the Owls when they travelled to play Wisconsin last week and school officials never seemed to be all that specific as to the reason why beyond labeling the issue as a “medical condition.” On Wednesday though, it was revealed just what that condition is and it’s far more serious than first thought.
According to the Sun Sentinel, a Facebook post by Johnson’s father revealed the quarterback had surgery last week for two blood clots in his arm. Head coach Lane Kiffin confirmed on Monday that the signal-caller remained in a local hospital.
“It was pretty scary,” Kiffin said.
He’s not kidding and the coach did not say whether Johnson would even play again this season after undergoing such an ordeal. While the Florida State transfer and recent ‘Last Chance U’ star at East Mississippi Community College did see time in the FAU opener, he did not start the game and was mostly limited to running the ball against the Midshipmen. To make matters worse, the quarterback had to remain back in South Florida to recover from surgery just as Hurricane Irma hit the area over the weekend.
That’s certainly rough news out of Boca but hopefully Johnson can recover fully in the coming weeks and months.
Lane Kiffin had reportedly targeted a former Alabama quarterback prior to being hired by Florida Atlantic. For now, he’ll have to settle for a former one from Florida State.
Tuesday, FAU officially announced the hiring of Kiffin as the Owls’ new head coach. A day later, 247Sports.com is reporting, Kiffin has his first signee as East Mississippi Community College quarterback De'Andre Johnson has put pen to paper with FAU.
The recruiting website currently has Johnson ranked as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the country for JUCO prospects. Johnson was a four-star member of Florida State’s 2015 recruiting class who left the Seminoles under a cloud of controversy.
In June of last year, Johnson was indefinitely suspended by FSU after being accused of punching a woman at a bar. He was subsequently charged with misdemeanor battery as video of the incident emerged.
One day after the video surfaced, Johnson was dismissed.
Johnson will be eligible to play for Kiffin immediately at FAU. He’ll have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.