Hammond following in brother’s footsteps

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Florida wide receiver Josh Hammond is expected to have a key role this season. [Brad McClenny/Staff photographer]

 

Florida sophomore receiver Josh Hammond quietly emerged as one of the most consistent receivers in camp.

Hammond has someone close to home to pattern his college career after. His older brother, Frankie Hammond Jr., was a four-year receiver at UF, finishing his career from 2009-12 with 63 catches for 812 yards and six TDs.

The younger brother watched his older brother make mistakes along the way. In 2010, during his sophomore year, Frankie Hammond Jr. was suspended indefinitely and had his scholarship taken away for a semester after being arrested for DUI. But Frankie was able to return to the program and finish his career with a college degree.

“Definitely a big inspiration to me, just watching him go through the whole thing and knowing what he did wrong and what he did right definitely helps me know what to do that’s right or wrong,” Hammond said. “So we don’t really talk much about football, but just watching him go through it I definitely learned a lot from him.”

Hammond is penciled in to start at receiver Saturday against Michigan at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. With starting receiver Antonio Callaway among 10 players suspended for the game, Hammond could play a big role against the Wolverines.

Hammond showed flashes of big-play ability last season as a freshman. Against North Texas, Hammond got behind the defense for a 53-yard catch and finished the game with two catches for 72 yards. He finished the year with 13 catches for 177 yards.

“He’s got great hands,” said Florida senior cornerback Duke Dawson, who faces Hammond every day in practice. “You have to make sure you play the ball and play through his hands. If you don’t, he’s going to catch everything.”

Frankie Hammond Jr. has spent three seasons on and off in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs as a receiver and kick returner since his college career ended. Hammond, who has four career catches for 45 yards and 389 return yards in the NFL, is trying to latch on with the New York Jets out of preseason camp.

Josh, meanwhile, is focusing on providing a spark offensively in UF’s big-game season opener against the No. 11 Wolverines.

“Once we get rolling, I think our offense will be great,” Hammond said. “Once we get it rolling, I think nobody will be able to stop us. If we get it going early against a great team, it’ll definitely boost a lot of confidence for us moving forward.”

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