Massey was a mid-year addition for the Gators out of Holmes Community College in Mississippi. Originally committing to East Carolina out of high school, Massey headed to junior college because of grades.
In his senior year at Mauldin HS in South Carolina, Massey put up over 4800 yards of offense, throwing for 28 touchdowns and rushing for 34 and displaying the kind of athleticism that college coaches love. He scored 11 touchdowns in one game at Mauldin. But, the classroom was something he didn’t handle well and so he took a different path than most with his talent.
“I had a couple offers out of high school,” Dre Massey told the Florida media this week. “Actually Steve Spurrier (at South Carolina) was recruiting me out of high school, but everybody knew my grades. Everybody knew I wasn't going to make it. I had to go the JUCO route and I kind of got back on track.
With the big reality check In hand, Massey made it a mission to fix the issue while at Holmes. He graduated with is AA degree from Holmes a semester early and with several big programs all over him, he settled on Florida and the opportunity the Gator offense offered as his final college destination.
The slap in the face was kind of like that show ‘Scared Straight’, he made an immediate change in the way he approached things and got it turned around.
"Yeah, a lot better student,” Massey said when asked if he turned things around at Holmes. “I realized how (important grades are)."
The Gators brought him in to play the slot position. With incumbent starter Brandon Powell out for the spring mending a foot injury, Massey was given more opportunity than ever to take to the job. His name was easily the most brought up during spring when Jim McElwain would talk about the new guys standing out. That pattern continued when fall practice started at the beginning of the month and still goes on.
“I like this guy… the different things he brings, not only as a returner but as a punter, as a guy that can throw it, he can catch it, and he can run it,” McElwain said late last week. “With him and Brandon (Powell), a year ago, we used Brandon before he kind of got dinged up in a lot of those multi-personnel things, but now it gives us two guys that we can do a lot of things with.”
“He also punts, yeah. He’s really good as a punter. Johnny (Townsend) has got a bad thumb, so, you just never know.
“He’s got to learn, he’s got a lot to understand the nuances of playing the position of receiver because he’s kind of done a lot, been a jack of all trades. But you know what, if he learns to communicate a little bit, and understand the importance… the things and the details he needs to play with, he gets a little better all the time.”
Massey says he can punt “About 40-something yards” and is all in for whatever the staff has planned for him.
"Coach Mac's got me a little bit of everywhere, doing a lot of things out there. I'm just having fun, playing a little ball.
I've been pretty much versatile everywhere I've played. I've always been able to do more than one thing and play more than one position. I take pride in that."
As for the offensive style, Massey thinks it fits his skill set exactly which is why he chose it in the first place.
"I think I fit very well,” he said. I can play more than one position in this offense and I think that's what I like the most, but the slot position fits me more because of the type of route combinations that we have and the things that we do."
It could be a lot of fun. Powell is healthy for the first time since about mid-way through last season. McElwain has mentioned a couple of times that the chance to get both of them on the field at the same time is a fun proposition for the staff. Not so much fun for opposing defenses,
"I think it will give them a headache trying to figure out what they can do to stop me because then we'll switch it up and do something different,” Massey said. “It's what we do.
“Me and Brandon are pretty much the same. We can go outside, come inside. Coach is doing a good job of putting us both on the field at the same time and making it tough on the defenses."
"I think you're going to see that a lot. I think that's something he really wants to happen. We've actually been working a lot, so I mean I think that's probably what we're going to do."
"We're going to score a lot of points."
Massey can appreciate the devious mind behind the offense and the bad intentions aimed at opposing teams.
“He's really smart on how he wants to go about the offense and things he wants to do,” Massey said of McElwain. “I think he helps us a lot on understanding how he wants to do things. That's really helping me out a lot."
Massey said he understood completely all the issues the Gators have had on offense over the last several years when he signed on to be a Gator. Despite other opportunities, he wanted to be a part of this.
“I realized that,” he said of all the former issues. “It's very exciting (to be a part of changing that), and we have the quarterback to do it."
With the scholastic issues behind him, Massey doesn’t lack in confidence. The fact he has caught on so fast in the offense has him expecting big things.
“Very high, very high,” he said about his confidence level. “I’m looking forward to the first game
And he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder for people expecting him to fail.
“I always felt like I had to prove something, especially since I came out of JuCo,” he said. “I’m basically just trying to go out there and make this team better and be the best player possible.”
He’s isn’t afraid to prove something with his teammates either. When asked who on the team is faster than he is, the answer was an emphatic, “Nobody”. He says he ran a 4.3 seconds in the 40 at Ole Miss for a camp and then a 4.4 at Alabama.
He isn’t afraid to prove it either.
“We haven’t raced yet, we actually haven’t raced,” Massey said. “We should do that.”
He rattled off Chauncey Gardner and Brandon Powell as a couple of guys that would be the best challengers to him in a race. But just like he tackled JuCo and his arrival here at Florida, he knows he would handle them as well in a race.
“Yeah, I’d take it,” he said.
On his current run, there should be little doubt.