UF football notebook: Gators add vertical threat in enrollee Marcus Burke

Zach Abolverdi
Gator Sports
Florida enrollee Marcus Burke checking out his campus setup.

The second receiver from Florida’s 2021 class enrolled in school this week, with four-star signee Marcus Burke joining mid-year enrollee Daejon Reynolds on campus. 

Burke started the Summer A semester Monday, along with junior college transfer Diwun Black. Reynolds was one of 12 early enrollees in January, and the final eight UF signees will join the program June 28 for Summer B. 

The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Burke is from Jacksonville and was ranked a top-200 overall recruit by 247Sports and Rivals. As a senior, he led Trinity Christian Academy to its first state championship since 2016. 

Ready to resume:UF football recruiting program prepared for on-campus visits

A look at the future Gators:Florida football 2021 recruiting class

Burke caught seven passes for 144 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns, including the game-winning score, in the Conquerors’ 25-22 comeback win over Hollywood Chaminade Madonna in the Class 3A title game. 

Burke didn’t start playing high school football until his junior year in 2019, finishing that season with 37 receptions for 831 yards and nine touchdowns. He averaged more than 20 yards per catch in his two-year career at TCA and will be a vertical threat for the Gators. 

UF receivers coach Billy Gonzales served as the primary recruiter for Burke, who held more than 20 offers from Georgia, Florida State, Auburn and others. 

“When I visited, I loved Florida. They treated me like a king,” Burke said after signing early. “I talk to the coaches every day. They help me get better and keep me motivated. I just love that about them.”

Tim Paulk passes away

Former Florida linebacker Tim Paulk passed away Sunday. He was 53 years old. 

Paulk had been battling leukemia, according to family members.

The 6-foot-1, 229-pound Paulk played for the Gators in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 42 career games, he recorded 257 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and six interceptions. 

Paulk earned first-team All-SEC honors as a senior in 1991. His 98 tackles ranked second on the team and he made nine tackles in 9 of 11 games. 

“Saddened by the loss of my college teammate and freshman brother Tim Paulk,” former UF running back Emmitt Smith tweeted Tuesday. “RIP my friend!!!”

Florida linebacker Tim Paulk

C.J. Henderson donates $250K

A year after becoming a top-10 pick in the 2020 NFL draft, former Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson is using some of his first-round funds to give back. 

Henderson has donated $250,000 to Columbus High School, where he graduated from in 2017, to help build a 2,000-square-foot athletic facility. It’s scheduled to be completed in August and will be called the Henderson Family Athletic Training Center. 

“It’s a surreal feeling,” Henderson said of the project. “I’m just excited to get the new training room started and thankful for the opportunity. Just blessed and thankful they allowed me to do it."

In eight games last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Henderson had 36 tackles, six pass breakups, one interception and a forced fumble before a groin injury ended his rookie season early. 

Henderson decided to forgo his senior year at UF after first-team All-SEC honors in 2019, but stayed in school and completed his degree in educational sciences this spring.