Gators searching for a second receiver

Junior Demarcus Robinson will be the leader of the receivers this fall, but the Gators have to develop depth behind him.

As a sophomore, Demarcus Robinson led the group with 53 catches and 810 yards, adding seven touchdowns. All three of those numbers were more than double the player with the second most catches, yards or receiving touchdowns on the team. The Florida coaching staff found different ways to get him involved, taking deep shots down the field and throwing quick routes to let him make plays after the catch.

Robinson averaged 67.5 yards per game and had the most receiving yards for any Florida player since Riley Cooper (961) and Aaron Hernandez (850) in 2009.

But what happens when teams game plan to take Robinson out of the game this fall? He’ll be the focal point of every opponent game plan on offense, and the Gators need to have someone step up to take some of the heat off him.

There are a few candidates.

Last season was supposed to be the one where Ahmad Fulwood broke out. He looked like the best receiver on the team in the open fall practices, dominating a talented secondary on throws down the field. At 6-4, 208, Fulwood has the frame to be a difference maker down the field.

He showed in the Birmingham Bowl that he can make plays with his legs, too. Fulwood’s 86-yard catch and run showed off speed that could get him more catches this year. Why the breakout didn’t happen last year is still a little uncertain. He didn’t get on the field enough to have a big season, but that could change with a new coaching staff.

Another candidate is Brandon Powell. After working mostly at running back last year, Powell was moved exclusively to the slot in the spring and looked like a natural at the position. His quickness makes him difficult to tackle in space, and with a receiver like Robinson playing outside, Powell’s quickness would be a perfect fit in the slot. He has the hands and route running to get open down field, but the Gators need someone that can catch the ball near the line of scrimmage and make plays.

C.J. Worton could be the wildcard. As a freshman, the previous coaching staff was high on him in fall camp and thought he could make a difference. After making one catch in the season opener, a broken hand kept him out of the next three games. Will Muschamp made comments about him potentially starting against LSU, but he didn’t make any catches in that game. Worton made just one catch for four yards the rest of the way, but those numbers shouldn’t repeat themselves this fall.

The freshman to watch is Antonio Callaway. The previous staff recruited him, and Jim McElwain and the new staff continued to do the same. McElwain and his staff prioritizing Callaway is a big deal, especially considering that they didn’t recruit any of the other receivers on the roster besides Kalif Jackson. Callaway tore his meniscus during his senior season after seven games but made 31 catches for 818 yards and seven touchdowns before the injury. The knee is fully healthy, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Callaway gets heavily involved in the offense this fall.

Fightin Gators Top Stories