As a sophomore it was back to the bench behind Griffin, but he played seven games as a backup. Last year was supposed to be the year he used his redshirt while Griffin was wowing the nation, giving him two years as the starter after Griffin left.
But then, in the 10th game of the season, Griffin took an elbow to the head and couldn't play the second half against Texas Tech. Baylor led by just 31-28 at that point and coach Art Briles asked Florence if he wanted to play, knowing it would burn his redshirt. He never hesitated.
"He said, 'Coach, whatever it takes to win.' Those were his exact comments,'' Briles said. "It's not an individual sport. It's a team sport. Your job is to help the team win, so they all understand that when they play football.''
Baylor will petition the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility for Florence, but that seems like the longest of long shots. Normally, the NCAA only grants those exceptions in extreme cases, usually involving a serious medical or personal issue. Florence will clearly have played three full seasons and his choice to play late last year was simply that, a choice.
Again, though, Florence has no regrets, in large part because he's been part of something wonderful at the same school that graduated both his parents.
"It's like night and day,'' said Florence, who graduated from high school in Texas in 2008, took one course at Baylor in the fall of 2008 but delayed his full-time enrollment until January of 2009. "When I got there we hadn't had a winning season in who knows how long [13 years]. And then we won four games [when he was a part-time student], then won four games again, then made it to a bowl game and then won a bowl game and had 10 wins. Now we want to win a Big 12 championship.
"The perception has changed. There are still people who are going to write us off and that's the way it's always going to be. But we get respect now. People aren't going to look at us on the schedule and say, 'That's a win.'''
After 16 straight years without a bowl game appearance, Baylor can set a school record this season with its third straight. No, he's not RG3 - although some have taken to calling him NF1 - but Baylor is trying to prove that its recent surge has more to do with building a program than with recruiting one Heisman winner.
Florence is proud to be playing a part in that.
"I think we imagined it changing around. I mean, that's why we signed with Baylor,'' Florence said. "When our senior class signed, we were nobody. I think we all knew we could change it. We just didn't know what it would look like. I don't think any of us thought it would be a new stadium. That's crazy. It's going to be the most beautiful place to play college football in America.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.