Posted: 11:59 am Friday, December 31st, 2010

Urban Meyer says QB John Brantley needs to evaluate his options 

By Jason Lieser

Earlier this week, Florida QB John Brantley said he talked with coach Urban Meyer about the possibility of transferring. Meyer wants him to stay, Brantley said.

Meyer said today they haven’t discussed it, but even if it comes up, he would not tell Brantley what to do.

“First of all, he’s not asked my opinion,” Meyer said at an Outback Bowl press conference at the Wyndham Westshore hotel. “I’m one of those guys that opinions are not given unless asked. At the appropriate time, we probably will sit down. I’m not sure.

Urban Meyer and John Brantley talked about whether Brantley should return next year. No they didn't. Yes they did. Who to believe? (AP photo)

Urban Meyer and John Brantley talked about whether Brantley should return next year. No they didn't. Yes they did. Who to believe? (AP photo)

“It’s like a guy asking, ‘Should I stay for the NFL Draft?’ You never tell a kid what to do. You have to go educate it and find out what’s — I keep hearing about the system or whatever. All that, if that’s important to him, you better find out the system, whatever it is.”

Brantley said Monday he remained undecided about his future. As a red-shirt junior, he can transfer to Division II or III and play immediately with no restrictions.

If he wants to go to another FBS school, he needs to graduate, enroll as a grad student at a university that offers a program Florida doesn’t have, get a written release from Florida and obtain a waiver from the NCAA. Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli executed a similar move going from Oregon to Ole Miss this year.

NCAA rules prohibit a player transferring from the FBS to FCS, formerly Division I-AA, unless he has multiple years of eligibility remaining. Brantley does not, so he would need a written release from Florida and an NCAA waiver.

He can also attempt to turn pro.

Brantley said he plans to make his decision after Saturday’s Outback Bowl against Penn State and has not contacted any other school.

“I’m a Gator,” he said Monday. “I always wanted to be a Gator. We’re going to go home, talk to my parents, weigh the pros and cons. That’s all I can say right now.

“We’re really going to concentrate and talk about it after this bowl game, but we didn’t want that distraction. I want to give my full attention to this game.”

Brantley said late in the regular season he fully intended to return for his senior year, but his commitment seemed to wane in step with his playing time. He took fewer than half the snaps in the final regular-season game, a 31-7 loss at Florida State on Nov. 27.

Soon after, Brantley mentioned the possibility of leaving. He said the upcoming coaching change — Will Muschamp was hired Dec. 14 and will take over the program after the Outback Bowl — makes it more likely he will stay because Muschamp plans to utilize a pro-style offense.

Brantley struggled in Meyer’s spread-option offense this year and proved an ineffective replacement for Tim Tebow. He completed 61.4 percent of his passes and threw for an average of 168.3 yards per game. He threw nine touchdowns against nine interceptions.

Meyer said Brantley handled a tough season well and has been dedicated to the Gators during this week’s practices.

“He’s been good,” Meyer said. “One thing about John: he’s a professional. I think a lot of times, microphones get stuck in young people’s face and, ‘What do you think? What do you think? What do you think?’ and that’s a national story or it’s a big-time story. Johnny’s going to do the best he can to help Florida win a bowl game against Penn State.”

Several Gators said Monday they talked to Brantley and he gave the impression that he will be back for the 2011 season.