When the play call came in, Dre Massey and his Florida teammates knew his moment had finally arrived. After an arduous journey, Massey finally looked in prime position to reach the end zone.
Massey’s first touchdown of his Florida career gave the Gators a 17-10 lead early in the fourth quarter following a handoff from quarterback Feleipe Franks. While the 6-yard score ultimately wouldn’t be enough to down the Aggies in the 19-17 setback last Saturday, the touchdown was a significant one for Massey. A former junior college standout at Holmes Community College in Goodman, Mississippi, Massey enrolled at UF before the 2016 season and looked to have crafted a role for himself by the end of his first fall camp in Gainesville.
But in Florida’s season opener, Massey tore his ACL on the opening kickoff, ending his season before it could even begin.
After more than a year away from the field, Massey had been in search of that first touchdown, and it wasn’t simply because he yearned to contribute on the field.
“It was just kind of a feeling of I’ve been coming a long way, working very hard and getting back to the point,” Massey said. “Coming off the knee injury it’s like a mental thing, and finally getting in the end zone it was like a breakthrough for me.”
Considering an injury to freshman wide receiver Kadarius Toney created a larger role for Massey against the Aggies, he knows he has to continue working to assert himself as a mainstay in UF’s offense. He admitted the reduced action he’s seen this season wasn’t how he envisioned his year playing out, but Massey acknowledged that Franks’ youth has played a role in the offensive packages, which affects Massey’s impact.
“I thought I would (have a larger role this season). Yeah, I definitely thought I would,” Massey said, “but like, you know, I guess kind of playing with a younger quarterback we wanted to lean on things that we are more comfortable with, but I think as the season continues to go we will open up more.”
With the bye week providing necessary recuperation for the Gators before a season-defining clash in Jacksonville with SEC East-rival Georgia, Massey is hoping he and his fellow Gators can put the mistakes of the past behind them. Because just like a touchdown could re-define Massey’s UF career, a win over Georgia could revive Florida’s season.
“I think we kind of missed a few opportunities as the season has gone on, but it’s not over yet really,” Massey said. “We can still turn some heads, I think these next couple weeks can really show that. Georgia, that’s a big test, but as far as the East goes, we’re still in it.”