Five questions with Florida's Justin Shorter

Graham Hall
Special to The Sun
Florida receiver Justin Shorter (89) catches a pass and runs for a touchdown during the annual Florida Georgia rivalry game held at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Fla. Nov. 7, 2020.

Florida redshirt sophomore wide receiver:

Q: How important is it for you to be helping lead Florida play in a game of this magnitude in the Cotton Bowl Classic?

A: Obviously, as the whole team, we are very, very thankful to be able to participate in this bowl game. So it's just — it's a huge game, just how every game is a huge game. And it's just going to mean so much for us to be able to win the game and just be able to hold that trophy up at the end. It's going to mean a bunch for me just to see my teammates happy and the coaches and everyone.

Q. What have you learned from your fellow pass-catchers, Trevon (Grimes), K.T. (Kadarius Toney), and Kyle Pitts this year? 

A: I'd say I've just learned how to play dominant football. And that really doesn't make sense. But the way that they play their game, they're just so confident in everything that they do. And I feel like, coming into the game, that's the part that I have — not the confidence, but just that dog mentality, that no matter where the ball is, no matter what I'm doing, I'm always going to win. In practice, I'll see one-on-ones, like Trevon, they'll throw the ball up, and he'll make some crazy catch. And then I'll come back afterwards and I'll be like, "How did you catch that?" He'll be like, "I don't know. I just jumped at it and got it. You just have to want it more.

Q. Has there been a catch from any of them where you've thought in the moment, ‘OK, go back and figure out how he did that’? 

A: Yeah. Literally all of them, all of them. I'd say Kyle Pitts in the Georgia game, that was an insane catch he had. Trevon (Grimes) in the Georgia game. Trevon, even in this past game, he made that catch. I was, like, screaming on the sidelines, running back and forth because I didn't know how he even made that. The one run I will never forget about K.T. (Kadarius Toney) is South Carolina, when he bounced back and forth between all those players and scored. I don't know how he even did that. They're all great players, and I just can't wait to see what they do at the next level.

Florida Gators tight end Kyle Pitts (84) scores a touchdown during a football game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. Nov. 28, 2020.

Q. Dan (Mullen) gave you guys time off through Christmas break. I guess just physically and mentally, after how long of a grind this season has been, how necessary was that for you guys? 

A: First off, I'd say, because I feel like we've been going at it for six months straight, no breaks, no time off, nothing, it's just been super crazy. I feel like everyone is kind of a little bit tired. We just want to give our bodies a break. Everybody is banged up, sore — I know I'm super sore, my body, from going hard every single day. But this year, it's nice to get these few days off to relax, lay down.

Q. Have you been able to watch any of Oklahoma? What have you seen from their top-20 defense?

A: I remember watching a few games before. I know their defense is good. I know there were a few players on there. I know Brendan Radley-Hiles, he was at The Opening. A bunch of guys from my class, I know, are on their defense. I know their quarterback, Spencer (Rattler). He's really, really good. They have a great solid team, and we definitely aren't going to sleep on them at all. I know they're a great team. This game is definitely going to be a battle. But we are too. I'm confident in our team. So just put the work in and just be consistent throughout that whole week in order to win the game.