Skyler Mornhinweg is in a position he never thought he would find himself this season — one snap away from becoming No. 20 Florida’s starting quarterback.
After Jeff Driskel suffered a season-ending fractured fibula in his lower right leg against Tennessee, backup quarterback Tyler Murphy became the Gators’ new starting signal-caller.
UF’s new arrangement means Mornhinweg will back up Murphy for the rest of the season. The redshirt freshman is next in line if Murphy were to be injured at any point in 2013.
“I don’t know if he knows the volume of everything yet, because you still have the growing pains of learning all of it,” offensive coordinator Brent Pease said. “He’s smart.”
Mornhinweg, who is 6-foot-2 and 214 pounds, had several scholarship offers coming out of Philadelphia St. Joseph’s Prep. He was rated a four-star recruit by ESPN, which ranked him the 19th-best quarterback in the Class of 2012. He chose Florida instead of Penn State, Stanford and Tennessee.
Mornhinweg spent last season working with the Gators’ scout team while redshirting.
“He’ll be taking about one-fourth of the reps, like in most back-up situations,” coach Will Muschamp said. “Skyler will be the backup. Max Staver will move over (from UF’s scout team) and work with our offense for preparation of the game.”
Mornhinweg is the son of Marty Mornhinweg, who serves as the offensive coordinator of the New York Jets. A dual-threat quarterback, he finished his high school career with 4,912 passing yards — the most all time at St. Joseph’s — and 1,243 rushing yards.
“He understands football because he’s grown up around it,” Pease said. “The thing now that he’s going to lack is true game speed and getting in there where they actually hit you. That would be a next step we have to take.
“I don’t think anybody in that situation would be totally ready for what Jeff’s gone through.”
Staver is a true freshman from Brentwood, Tenn. Senior receiver Trey Burton, who attempted 12 total passes in 2010 and 2011, would be another option to fill in at quarterback for Florida.
Follow Phillip Heilman on Twitter @phillip_heilman.