Over the past few weeks, I’ve received quite a few e-mails from people inquiring about the status of redshirt freshman wide receiver Andre Debose, whom Urban Meyer compared to Percy Harvin when he signed as part of the 2009 recruiting class.
Is Debose hurt?
Is he in the dog house?
Did he do something wrong?
Is he a bust?
Well, the answers to those questions are no, no, no and no.
Debose’s hamstring is completely healed and he’s 100 percent now. He’s doing fine in school and is in good standing with the coaching staff. And he has the same skill set and up side he did when he signed with the Gators 18 months ago.
Why isn’t Debose playing more and catching passes? He isn’t quite ready yet. As Meyer said on the SEC coaches’ teleconference Wednesday, he’s still behind the learning curve at wide receiver. And as we’ve seen in the past, receivers (all players for that matter) at Florida do not see the playing time until they’re ready.
Debose isn’t quite there yet, but he’s getting closer every week.
You have to remember that there is little difference between Debose and the true freshman wide receivers. The extent of his experience over them at UF is two days — one practice before the spring game; then the Spring game. Other than that, he’s right with the freshmen, who are not doing much yet, either (other than Robert Clark).
Not only did his hamstring injury basically cost him a year, now Debose is learning a new wide receiver position — out wide instead of in the slot. With UF going to more of a conventional offense, the coaches like Debose on the outside, where he’ll get more man-to-man coverage and be able to utilize his great quickness, speed and hands.
Debose played in the first half of the Tennessee game last Saturday, but did not catch a pass. The fact he even saw the field again means he’s making progress.
He’s coming along slower than many UF fans were expecting, but it’s time to show some patience. Debose will break out at some point this season, and I’m guessing the wait will have been worth it.