Debose not a fan of Harvin comparisons


Freshman wide receiver Andre Debose practices on Thursday.

Doug Finger/Staff Photographer
Published: Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 11:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 11:34 p.m.

As the elusive freshman wide receiver attempted to run off the practice field Thursday, he was quickly hemmed in by about a dozen members of the media. There was nowhere to go, so Andre Debose stopped, and then smiled.

“I was expecting this,” he said. “I was kind of looking forward to it.”

This is the way it’s been for the high school All-American since he signed with Florida in February, and UF coach Urban Meyer on signing day promptly compared him to Percy Harvin.

Debose has said he doesn’t really want to be compared to Harvin, but, well, too late. It’s already out there, and the expectations (and now the media) have him surrounded.

He was the most requested player after UF’s first mostly freshmen practice of the preseason. This is just the start. He’ll be attracting lots of attention in the next few weeks as the Gators search for a player to fill the Harvin role.

“I’m not worried (about the expectations). Not really,” he said. “I don’t really pay attention to what people are expecting. I know what I can do and I know what I’m going to do. It doesn’t really bother me. Either way, I can’t get away from it.

“It’s just (about) making plays. I’m looking forward to getting on the field first.”

Debose only fueled the expectations further Thursday when he said he feels he’ll be ready to contribute this season.

“I feel I can contribute to the offense a little bit,” he said. “I feel more comfortable running the ball, but I play wide receiver, too.”

Just like Percy Harvin.

Even Debose admits he sees some similarities between his game and Harvin’s. But he still doesn’t want to be called the next Percy Harvin.

“My dad always told me to be my own man,” he said. “I don't like to too much be compared to another dude. I know he was a great player, but I want to kind of build my own way in Gainesville.

“When you look at playing styles, I can see myself in him a little bit. I can’t blame you guys at all (for the comparisons).”

While the media and UF fans likely will continue making the comparison, Debose said he hasn’t heard any of that stuff from the UF coaches since he’s been here. Meyer admitted after making his signing day comment about Debose that he was probably putting too much pressure on him.

“They (the UF coaches) kind of stay away from it ever since I told them I didn’t want to be compared to him,” he said. “I don’t want to be the next Percy. I don’t like to hear that.”

Debose said he hasn’t said anything to Meyer. “No, I didn’t tell him. Coach Meyer can say what he wants,” he said.

Debose said Meyer has talked to him about dealing with the expectations and hype that followed him to UF.

“He said I can’t let it get to my head,” he said. “I don’t want to let too many people down. Urban said, ‘Remember you’re a freshman.’ He just kind of lets me know not to let the hype get to me.”

Debose is still learning the offense and learning his way around campus. He said he studied the offense every day this summer to prepare, and feels pretty comfortable in it.

He was slowed by a hamstring injury early in the summer, but said he’s fine now.

So Debose is now off and running, trying to find his niche in the offense while trying to keep the expectations and comparisons at bay.

When Meyer was told that Debose asked the UF coaches not to compare him to Harvin, Meyer said, “That’s good. He’s got a lot of talent. I hope it turns out to be close to that.”

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top