With opponents expecting the run, Florida receivers plan being 'Endzone Party Boyz' in 2021

Graham Hall
Special to The Sun
View Comments
Justin Shorter performs a drill during preseason camp at Florida.

Florida’s wide receivers don’t anticipate a dip in production, despite the belief the Gators’ offense is well-suited to run the football at a high rate this season. 

On the contrary, the collective plans on consistently celebrating for six points in 2021, and they’re unafraid to let you know it.

“I feel like we are all ‘the deep threat.’ We call ourselves the ‘Endzone Party Boyz’,” sophomore wide receiver Xzavier Henderson said. “We’re all fast, and all deep threats.”

He’s not being facetious — the wide receiver room quickly adopted the moniker after redshirt junior Jacob Copeland, having witnessed the group consistently impress in practice, bestowed the name upon the group.

Xzavier Henderson makes a catch during practice at Florida.

The unit felt the nickname fit, and like a well-timed pass they hauled it in and have hung on since. 

“Quick shoutout to Jacob Copeland. He made it up, the ‘Endzone Party Boyz’,” Henderson said. “We just be in the end zone a lot this past camp, and he just made it up one day after practice."

In case it wasn’t clear by now, Florida’s receivers don’t plan on just graciously applauding after touchdowns. 

The celebratory aspect of the nickname is literal. 

“Me and some players have some touchdown celebrations and stuff,” fellow redshirt junior Justin Shorter revealed. 

And this isn’t just a temporary name either, from the sound of it. 

As of July 1, student-athletes have been allowed to sell apparel, one of the numerous changes that resulted in the NCAA’s eventual embrace of Name, Image and Likeness legislation. 

“Copeland did make some pretty cool T-shirts,” said Shorter. “I saw pictures of them, but I haven’t gotten one yet. Maybe gameday he’ll pass them out to us or something. He might make me pay for it, I’m not sure.” 

Copeland’s one step ahead in that regard.

Seeing as he’s a valuable member of the group, Shorter may get a discount, or possibly even a handout from Copeland, but everyone outside of the wide receiver room will likely have to pay to represent the “Endzone Party Boyz” at Florida games this season. 

After Henderson’s and Shorter’s comments made their way to social media, Copeland posted on Twitter the link to his merchandise, which is on FanJoy.co.

Hats, hoodies and T-shirts with the “Endzone Party Boyz” phrase are among the items available on Copeland’s available merchandise, ranging in price from $22 to $45. 

In years past, the profit came after production. 

In the NIL era, that no longer seems to be the case, though the Gators haven’t lost sight of the objective — they’re just now making a profit in the interim. 

As for how that production on the field will look, Florida’s pass-catchers are actually keen on a run-heavy offense, which may initially come as a surprise before hearing their justification.

“I feel like in football, usually, when you have a good combination of run and pass, it definitely helps out a lot. I feel like us running the ball, especially with the running backs that we have and our quarterbacks, it’s going to help the wideouts a lot, too,” Shorter said. “They’re going to be crowding the box more, so that’s going to leave a lot more one-one-one matchups on the outside for us, and for me. I love one-on-one matchups, so we can do something with it.”

With opponents expecting the run, Florida’s wide receivers are salivating at the thought of those one-on-one situations — the same match-up that has frequently resulted in an end zone celebration for the wide receiver in practice. 

The unit anticipates the party continuing Saturday night against Florida Atlantic. 

“I actually get excited to hear that we’re going to have a powerful backfield, 'cause it’s going to open up the pass game and make our offense whole. So, yeah, we’re going to be pretty good,” Henderson said. “I feel like the receivers, once they start pounding the ball and open up the run game, it’s going to open it up for us on the perimeter and give us some one-on-one shots.”  

View Comments