Why Red Sox had an interest in Birmingham Bowl

Rob Bradford
January 03, 2015 - 2:08 pm

The guy who ran for the final first down in the University of Florida football team's 28-20 win over East Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl Saturday, believe or not, should be of some interest to Boston baseball fans. Jeff Driskel is, after all, property of the Red Sox. Driskel, one of the Gators' quarterbacks to play in their team's season-ender, was drafted by the Sox in the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft in the 29th round. At the time the former high school outfielder was coming off his freshman season with Florida, fully intending to pursue a career in the NFL rather than MLB. He did ultimately sign a contract with the Red Sox a few weeks after the draft, locking his baseball rights in with the Red Sox. "After my college football career is over I want to pursue a professional career in the NFL," Driskel told the Associated Press after the draft via a statement. "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." But things haven't worked out as planned on the football side of things for Driskel since that draft, ultimately losing his starting job with the Gators with new Florida coach Jim McElwain releasing the junior from his scholarship. So, where does the 6-foot-4, 237-pound Driskel stand with the Red Sox? Per a Red Sox team source, the organization has been in constant communication with Driskel. It is the Sox's belief, however, that the quarterback remains focused on continuing his football career before hitting the baseball diamond again for the first time since hitting .330 as a senior at Hagerty High in Oviedo, Fla. The Red Sox went through a similar scenario with former Arizona State linebacker Brandon Magee, who played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season before being put on the injured list with a torn pectoral muscle. Magee was drafted in the 23nd round of the 2012 MLB draft by the Red Sox, attending spring training with the Sox last season. (To read more about Magee, click here.)