Chances are, Michigan doesn’t have much of a scouting report on Florida wide receiver Dre Massey.
There’s no tape, unless the Wolverines can find a way to dig some up from Massey’s playing days at Holmes Community College in the tiny Mississippi town of Goodman. Or reach even further back, to Mauldin High School in Greenville, S.C., but he was playing a different position (quarterback) then.
At Florida, nothing. No tape, no highlights, nothing to gauge. Unless you count the opening kickoff in the season opener a year ago. On the return Massey blew out his ACL, and just like that, his season was over.
That is the extent of his Florida tape, his brief Gator career.
Given there is so little recorded history on him, Massey may be in a position to surprise a lot of people and opponents this season, starting with the Wolverines in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday.
His teammates think he will.
“Some people probably might have forgotten what he’s capable of,” linebacker David Reese said. “He’s had a great camp. He’s a slot receiver who you can see him (making plays) all over the field. He can change the game. He’s a game changer.”
“Dre can bring a lot,” wide receiver Josh Hammond said. “He’s very versatile. He can do a lot of different things. We’ll be able to use him in a lot of different ways.”
The was the plan a year ago. Coach Jim McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier thought so much of his dynamic speed and skills that they planned to use Massey in multiple ways, including lining up as a Wildcat quarterback.
Unfortunately, the Gators never had a chance to reveal the Massey plan. It had to be scrapped following the opening minutes of the 2017 season. A considerable chunk of playmaking potential was lost on that first kickoff return.
Massey is back now, running at full speed again, and the plan (or variations of it) is back.
“A lot more playmaking ability,” Massey said, when asked what he can bring to the offense this season. “I hope to excite the crowd more, just be more exciting as an offense. Bring more excitement back, how it used to be.
“I don’t want to kind of give things away, but I think you’ll still see a lot of (me lining up in different spots) as the season moves forward. They’ve still got me in some packages and stuff like that. I think you’ll see a good bit of that.”
Massey’s knee has not been an issue. It’s held up fine through camp and is 100 percent. He doesn’t even wear a brace on the knee.
And, based on his performances in scrimmages, his speed and playmaking ability have not been diminished. He’s made numerous big plays on the practice field.
Now, he’s ready to take to the real field.
“I feel very confident in my knee,” Massey said. “I’m never thinking about my knee at all, just playing. I’m not going to come out kind of worried or scared or anything. I’m just going to give it my all.
“Just seeing that I can still do the things that I did before, that kind of raises my confidence. I’m pretty much the same as far as confidence from last year to this year. My knee hasn’t really done anything to affect me mentally.”
Being a playmaker, Massey wants the ball in his hands. That still includes returning kickoffs.
Even though his ill-fated return in the opener ended his season a year ago (and altered part of UF’s game plan on offense), Massey will be back returning kickoffs this season. He volunteered for the job at the start of preseason camp.
“I talked to Coach Mac,” he said. “I went up to him and told him that I want to be on the kick return this year. I know I got hurt last year, but I still want to do it. I’m not running from it.”
What he plans to be running from Saturday are Michigan defenders, trying to make plays to get this season off to a positive start — for the Gators and himself.
“Most definitely,” he said. “It’s a big game. I’ve been looking forward to it, but I think it’s kind of a momentum setter. We win this game, we’ll feel real good going into the next big game. I think it kind of sets the tone as the season goes on.”
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.