Position breakdown: Receivers
Published: Sunday, June 30, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 11:44 p.m.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second in a series breaking down the Florida football roster. Next Sunday, we'll look at the offensive line.
PROBABLE DEPTH CHART
-- Marqui Hawkins
-- Ahmad Fulwood
It has taken him longer than anticipated, but it appears Quinton Dunbar has finally positioned himself to have a breakout season after coming on strong in the second half of the 2012 season. Dunbar was UF's most productive wide receiver last year, catching 36 passes for 383 yards and four touchdowns. He's always had the speed and hands to be a go-to type wideout. Now he has the experience to possibly complete the package.
The versatile Trey Burton caught only 18 passes last season, but figures to be utilized more in the passing game now that he's listed as a starting wide receiver. The wild card, of course, is Loucheiz Purifoy, one of the team's most explosive athletes.
The standout cornerback/special teams player spent half the spring at wide receiver and will enter camp in August with a package of offensive plays designed to get him the ball. If he starts making some big plays down the field, Purifoy's offensive package could expand over the course of the season. One of the biggest positives is that the Gators upgraded (and bolstered their numbers) at wide receiver with the 2013 recruiting class. UF signed five standout receivers, led by early enrollee Demarcus Robinson.
The only consistent playmaker among the receivers last season was tight end Jordan Reed, and he's gone, leaving the Gators without an obvious go-to guy heading into the 2013 season. It is doubtful that the tight end position will produce that guy. The Gators have plenty of options at the position, but the four returning tight ends have little experience and even less production on their resumes. Clay Burton, Kent Taylor and Tevin Westbrook combined to catch all of four passes last season, while freshman Colin Thompson redshirted after undergoing knee surgery. The playmakers in the passing game likely will have to come from the pool of wide receivers, but other than Dunbar, there's not much past production here either. Andre Debose continues to be an enigma and is coming off a disappointing junior season in which he caught only three passes for 15 yards. Latroy Pittman showed great promise as a true freshman in the spring of 2012, but has not done much since to distinguish himself. Solomon Patton has been effective on end-arounds and jet sweeps, but he caught only one pass last season before breaking his arm in the Georgia game.
YOUNG GUY TO WATCH
Although he missed half the spring with a high ankle sprain, true freshman wide receiver Demarcus Robinson did enough things to convince the coaching staff that he has a chance to be a major contributor this season. “He's going to help us,” Will Muschamp said after the spring game. Robinson has the size, speed and hands to make plays down the field — something that has been missing in the offense the past two seasons. If he has a strong summer and preseason camp (and stays healthy), Robinson has a chance to earn a starting role (or at least significant playing time) as a true freshman.
RANKING THE SEC RECEIVERS
3. Texas A&M
6. Ole Miss
10. South Carolina
13. Mississippi State