With Pitts gone to NFL, Gamble leads UF tight ends

Alan Festo
Gator Sports
Florida tight end Kemore Gamble (88) heads for the end zone in the second half against Vanderbilt on Nov. 21, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. With the departure of All-American Kyle Pitts to the NFL, Gamble is expected to take on a bigger role in the offense this year.

Anyone willing to bet that the Florida Gators will see a drop in production at the tight end position this year with the departure of All-American Kyle Pitts may want to hold onto their money.

“Kemore Gamble is going to the be the best tight end in the SEC,” Gators tight end coach Tim Brewster said Monday.

While’s Gamble’s career stats don’t point to a player ready to break out on the field, he enjoyed his best season in 2020 and played a key role in two games after Pitts went down with an injury. When Pitts took a hard shot to the head in the second quarter against Georgia on Nov. 7, Gamble finished off the drive with a 24-yard touchdown catch. He ended the game with three catches for 51 yards and the score in a 44-28 victory. He followed that up two weeks later with three catches for 66 yards and two touchdowns in a win against Vanderbilt.

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Gamble, a redshirt junior, said Pitts taught him to keep pushing hard, even when he’s tired, and to not let anything stand in his way.

“I think, if I keep my head on right and if I keep grinding how I’m grinding, I think I can be the best tight end in the nation, not just the SEC,” Gamble said.

Throwing to Gamble will be new starting quarterback Emory Jones, a redshirt junior who takes over for Heisman Trophy finalist Kyle Trask. Gamble said his connection with Jones is strong thanks to the number of reps they’ve gotten together as backups.

“I think me and Emory, we got a good connection with each other,” he said.

Jones agrees.

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“That’s a guy I’ve been throwing to for a couple years,” he said. “We’ve got (Keon) Zipperer behind him. He’s been busting his tail the whole offseason. Jonathan Odom coming in. I mean, those guys are ready. I feel very confident in that position.”

Zipperer, a junior, and Odom, a redshirt freshman, are expected to play important roles this season. Zipperer appeared in 10 games last year and finished the season with seven catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns. His best game also came in Pitts’ absence, catching three balls for 47 yards and two scores on Nov. 14 against Arkansas. Odom appeared in four games last season.

“You’d be hard-pressed in America to have a better, more complete tight end room than what I have,” Brewster said. “I’m really excited about it, guys. I just think that we’re going to be — we’re going to be just fine this season.”

And for anyone still thinking about betting against the tight end production this season, Gamble is staying true to his name and has changed his jersey number from 88 to 2.

“Two dice, two dice Gamble, you know, rolling dice. I said this would make a good fit for my brand, NIL, so I'll take it,” he said.