Massey healthy, ready to resume Gator career after missing 2016

Dre Massey returns
Florida receiver Dre Massey runs a drill during the first practice of the spring at the outdoor practice field on the UF campus. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Dre Massey could feel the energy in the stands.
It was his first game as a Gator and he would be returning the opening kickoff. His mom and other family members were in the stands.
What a time to be alive.
“It was exciting,” Massey said.
But on that opening kickoff, something gave in his knee.
“I actually didn’t (think it was bad),” Massey said. “I thought I tweaked it. I was good to go. But after a few minutes, I couldn’t run fast, couldn’t do anything.
“At halftime, they told me.”
Torn ACL.
Season over almost as soon as it began.
Massey had to be an observer as the Gator offense struggled to find playmakers. All of the plans coach Jim McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier had put together to feature the 5-foot-9, 180-pound speedster had to be scrapped.
“When we came out of spring last year we were very, very excited about what he was bringing to the table as a weapon,” Nussmeier said. “And then obviously to lose him in the first game … he’s worked extremely hard to get back, and we’ll just see as he progresses through camp what his package is and how that leg is responding and where he’s at.”
In a perfect world, that leg will be just fine and Florida’s depth at wide receiver will be boosted by the presence of a player who once scored 11 touchdowns in a high school game.
His has hardly been a perfect world, losing his father to a car accident before he started high school and having to go the junior college route to get to big-time football.
And then there was that first game.
“It was actually very challenging,” Massey said. “Going through the preseason workouts and spring and summer and the first game I went down. It was tough. I felt like I let everyone down.
“But I think I’m ready. I’m very excited. My knee is 100 percent, I’m ready to go. I’m just really ready to get back in the offense and get things going.”
The hardest part was watching.
“Realizing where I could help out, how I could help out the offense, not being able to do that,” he said. “That was the hard part for me. They took a lot out of our offense.”
Nussmeier certainly is happy to have him back.
“Obviously, our trainers and strength staff have done a great job getting him back to where he needs to be,” Nussmeier said.
“He was a dynamic player in the spring last year. When you turned on the tape and the things he was able to do for a new player coming in, we really had high expectations, and then in the first game he’s got to go off. So you kind of go, ‘Well, I don’t know what it could have been.’ You had a vision and a thought, but it never materialized, so we’ll see as we get to camp.”
When asked if Massey has any limitations at all, Nussmeier said, “No.”
Staff writer Robbie Andreu contributed to this report.