Ajagbe re-energized by move to fullback
Published: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 6:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 6:46 p.m.
Like many players who fail to see the field at Florida, redshirt junior Gideon Ajagbe has been sidelined by injuries for the majority of his college career.
He missed his freshman season with a torn rotator cuff and all of last year with an MCL injury.
“I got hurt the first week, right before we played Bowling Green,” Ajagbe said. “It really crushed me.”
In the four games he has played, all in 2011, Ajagbe did not register any tackles as an outside linebacker and showed little promise at the position.
At the end of winter conditioning this year, UF coach Will Muschamp called Ajagbe up to his office to talk.
“He was like, ‘We just want to switch you over to fullback to see what you can do, if you can help the team,' ” Ajagbe said. “I was like, ‘Man, I'll do whatever, whatever you want me to do.' ”
The change has given Ajagbe new life at Florida. He is showing tons of potential this spring and has the size and physicality to play the position at 6-foot-3, 243 pounds.
“Oh, he's a monster. He's a complete monster,” UF running back Mack Brown said of Ajagbe. “The other fullbacks are happy he's not hitting them in the shoulders no more. Gideon, the impact when he hits you, he'll knock the guy over.”
Ajagbe has already secured the backup job and gives the Gators a great complement to starting fullback Hunter Joyer.
“Gideon has been really productive for us,” Florida coach WIll Muschamp said. “We were kind of looking into being a 21 team with a fullback with Hunter, but one hit (to Joyer) and you're out of it. So you've got to be careful how you invest your time with a guy (when) you don't have much depth at the position. All of a sudden, we feel very comfortable with that package and that's something we want to be.”
Ajagbe admits he still has a lot to learn at fullback, but he's enjoying the move.
“It's been great. I'm just so happy that coach gave me another chance to play here,” he said. “I'm so happy that he did that. I have the opportunity to do really well at it.”