Hammond becoming Florida’s go-to wide receiver

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Florida receiver Josh Hammond (10) runs through defenders after making a catch during a practice in the spring at the Sanders Practice Fields on the UF campus. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

If Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks ever hands out awards to his wide receivers, senior Josh Hammond will be going home with a lot of hardware.

Let’s see, Most Reliable. Most Consistent. Most Appreciated. Most Underrated. Most Dependable. Most Coachable. Hardest Worker.

Maybe even Best Hands and Best Route Runner, too.

Anyway, you get the idea. Franks really, really likes No. 10. Hammond may often get overlooked among the Gators’ deep and talented receiver group, but his quarterback always sees him.

“One of my favorite players,” Franks said. “Responsible. Somebody you can always count on. Someone you know is always going to run the right route and be in the right place at the right time. He’s a guy you can always count on.

“He knows when to break hot. He and the quarterback are always on the same page. He’s not spectacular, but he does what he needs to do. He does his job. That’s the most important thing.

“I’d rather have somebody who goes out there and does their job every play instead of someone who every now and then makes a spectacular play but runs the wrong route ever so often. That’s what Josh brings to the table.”

Hammond is just as impressive in the locker room as he is on the field, Franks said.

“Comes to the building every day ready to work,” Franks said. “You never hear anything bad about Josh. He’s always taking care of his teammates. I can’t brag enough about Josh.

“He’s a great guy to be around, a great friend, and on top of that, a great player. He doesn’t get as much recognition as he should.”

Hammond is a player who doesn’t seem to crave recognition, or even care about his. His focus always seems to be on working hard, doing the right thing on the field and off, improving his craft to be a better asset for his teammates and team.

That’s what this summer is all about for Hammond. He’s grinding away with his teammates, working on improving his game, which already seems pretty complete based on what Franks says about him. But Hammond is hard at work.

“I’m working more on being a leader of our team, being more vocal,” Hammond said. “Football-wise, I’m just trying to make sure that I can make those contested catches and make sure I’m able to separate out of the top of my breaks.

“That’s the biggest thing, not only for me but our entire receiver corps. We’ve all been working on separation in and out of route breaks. And trying to make sure we can come down with those 50-50 balls and make those a habit.”

Hammond said the receivers and quarterbacks have been getting on the practice field practically every day this summer, working on timing and route running and the passing game in general.

“We try to go out there every day, even if it’s not for very long,” he said. “We know how important it is for our offense if we can have a dominant passing game.

“We’ve got a lot of veteran guys who have played a lot of ball who definitely know what they’re doing when it comes to running routes and catching the ball and making things happen.

“The biggest thing for us is making sure we’re all on the same page where we’ll be able to execute at a high level.”

The receivers have set a goal for themselves for the upcoming season: become the best wide receiver group in college football.

“Definitely (we can be),” Hammond said. “We have a lot of guys who can play ball and get after it. The talent is there. We have to push ourselves every day to strive for that title to be the best receiver group in the country. I think we can get there.

“We have to work hard, stay together as a family and get each other better every day. The sky is the limit for this group.”

Along with football, Hammond is also working on something else this summer that is very important to him and his family — finishing his degree. He’s on track to graduate in August.

Getting that degree is the main reason he did not seek any feedback from the NFL last winter about the possibility of entering the draft.

“The biggest thing for my family was making sure I got my degree first,” Hammond said. “That’s something I wanted to make sure I got. I graduate in August, so that’s something I’m excited about. Then football from there.”

18 COMMENTS

  1. Hammond seems like a good man. Education will help him with the money if he’s successful in the NFL. If not he has a degree and can make money the traditional way. Regardless looks like his head is in the right place. Good luck this year. Go Gators!

    • The degree is the most important thing Hammond will take away from his UF experience. If you watch “A Football Life” you will understand that while Emmitt’s NFL accomplishments far outweigh those at UF, and his “Dancing with the Stars” was highlighted in this documentary, I was still sorely disappointed that they didn’t mention Smith returning to UF to earn his degree while winning Super Bowls and eclipsing the many great NFL rushers who went before him.

      Our offense could be extremely explosive this season with the WR and RB corp we have assembled, but it will of course depend on Frank’s continued improvement and a robust O-line to make it all happen. We will see when Miami meets us in Orlando. Looking forward to that game.

      Loved the 1983 bumper stickers that read: Miami, Nat’l Champs in 49 States, because we beat them 28-3 in that season opener. I’d enjoy winning by that score again in August, knowing the ‘Canes won’t win out like they did in ’83. Hammond can help make that happen. He’s one of those types of
      players who seems to have been in the program for a decade and be a leader even if he doesn’t have a so-called breakout season.

      • I had forgotten those bumper stickers, Phil — classic. I was stationed in Germany at the time, so I never saw one myself……but I sure heard about them. I kept asking people in the states to send me one, but one never arrived. Thanks for the memory tho!

        I totally agree that Miami is going to be the diagnostic game for the 2019 season. To a large extent, anyway……there will probably be another mid-season, but damned if I know yet against who that will be against. Franks, I think, will indeed have that elusive break out year, the receivers and running backs should be superb on their own merits, and the OL……well…..I admit to being a little more nervous than I probably should be……but the more I think about it, the more I realize that these particular guys were recruited to Florida for a reason, they have in fact played plenty of football, they are coached superbly, and they have probably one of the best S&C programs available in the SEC. All they might really need is the right attitude, and CDM sure excells at instilling that.

        So as old Coach Lovely once told us at a Delo Hall dorm meeting my second year at Tampa, when speaking about the RAs, “Men, if these guys weren’t here, they wouldn’t be here!”. Didn’t make a lot of sense at the time, but it does now.

      • SHP Never saw the bumper sticker as the Army was in control in those years. My younger sisters were at UF then and they saw those and told me about them. My youngest sister has told stories of hoe Emmitt came back between NFL seasons to finish his degree. He hadn’t risen to the level of ‘future HOF’er” yet and was smart enough to know that degree could be useful. I also remember her saying he said in a class he promised his mother he would finish. A football career can be over in a instant if injuries go the wrong way. Having a degree to help with a future has served a lot of players well. Thank you JH for finishing what you started.

  2. So, he’s no ”ham and egger,” huh Robbie? Truthfully, and without any more puns, I think the enitre U.F. Receiving Corp will be a huge asset this college football season. And Hammond, along with all the other great W.R.s, should see plenty of action this 2019 season. In fact, I would argue that this is the best group of skilled-postion players at U.F. since Dan Mullen was the O.C. here in 2008. Go Gators!

  3. we have so many great players, unfortunately as this was written the story of tony joiners murder charge has hit the national press as well. im really convinced the program has changed from the days of selecting 5 star talent with no star behavior, but there is little else to say until time makes its judgments.
    Still I am excited that Hammond and his entire group will be national leaders, what a wonderful player and a great group

  4. Josh Hammond is the model WR at UF. We should take note. We don’t need the flashiest, the fastest, or the
    one with the most juke. Just be in the right place at the right time, run your routes well, get separation and catch the ball. Josh is a Pro who works at improving his craft. He is also a team leader. This is the future model of Gator football.
    Let’s recruit 20 more Josh Hammonds.

  5. That was a great bumper sticker indeed , eclipsed ( at least in my own mind ) only by the bedsheet sign that some students brought to the 98 or 99 FSU game declaring that ” our Johnson is bigger than your Wenke ” , That one was hilarious ! I took my son to a Tenn game when he was about 10 yo and some students had made one that said ” Vols suck Balls ” ( hope I don’t get censored) , security tried to catch them the entire game, but every time they would get close, the students would roll it up real fast and stuff it under their shirt and head out for another corner of the swamp. My boy had more fun watching the cat and mouse game going on in the stadium than he did the actual football game itself, he’s in his 30’s now and we still laugh about that one every time we go to a Gator game together which is usually a couple times a year. Josh Hammond is a great kid and I don’t recall Frankie ever getting into any trouble in his time at UF either. I strongly suspect that they came from a solid upbringing / background and we could use another 84 just like him..