Jeff Driskel granted release from Florida, Jim McElwain says

The Jim McElwain era at Florida will begin in earnest after Saturday's Birmingham Bowl win over East Carolina, but the new head coach says he's already taken care of one piece of Gators business.

McElwain seemed to confirm to reporters Saturday what had been rumored for a long time around Gainesville: former starting quarterback Jeff Driskel would be playing football elsewhere next season.

"I don't know," McElwain said of Driskel's status. "I know he's asked for his release, and that's up for him. We all have choices and I'm not going to hold him hostage, certainly."

However, Driskel was in uniform Saturday for Florida and did play for the Gators vs. East Carolina.

Driskel wasn't recruited by the incoming staff and his skill set does not appear to mesh with what McElwain and new coordinator Doug Nussmeier want in a signal-caller. The redshirt junior, who will have his Florida degree in hand shortly, per reports, should be eligible immediately at any school he transfers to.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder has reportedly been exploring a transfer to Duke next season, which makes plenty of sense considering Blue Devils head coach David Cutcliffe's reputation for developing quarterbacks (including Peyton and Eli Manning) and the fact that Anthony Boone played his final game for the program in a Sun Bowl loss last month.

Driskel has not impressed NFL scouts enough to consider a jump to the next level but the dual-threat quarterback does have some intriguing talent. A former five-star recruit, he led Florida to a Sugar Bowl appearance against Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville in 2012, but has struggled ever since due to injuries and ineffective play. The Gators had trouble establishing any sort of offense under former coach Will Muschamp.

Nothing appears to be set in stone at the moment, but based on what McElwain said on Saturday, it looks like Driskel will be playing college football in another uniform next season.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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