Deonte Thompson Plans for Bigger Role

There are two significant questions facing the Gator offense for 2009. The first involves the offensive line and who will take over as the starting tackles. Early returns indicate that question may already be answered with Carl Johnson and Marcus Gilbert as the front runners. The other question is tougher to answer. Who will provide Florida's offense with big plays in the passing attack?

Florida has some solid weapons in the passing game with Aaron Hernandez at tight end and veteran wideouts Carl Moore and David Nelson but the best candidate to be a big play guy is Deonte Thompson. The third year sophomore from Glades Central has the tools to be a dynamic play maker and simply must improve on his 18 catches and three touchdowns of 2008.

Thompson knows that the departure of Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy has given him a golden opportunity.

"It's time to step it up. I knew this time was coming and I have to take it up for the guys who have left."

Thompson says he doesn't feel the pressure to make up for all of Harvin or Murphy's productivity. He says the Gators have plenty of receivers ready to increase their role in the offense.

"Oh we're good. We've got David Nelson and Carl Moore, T.J. Lawrence, Frankie Hammond and all the other guys. We're re-loading. At Florida when guys leave we just re-load. We've got guys who can make plays, you'll see."

Thompson was asked if he and the other receivers talk about that opportunity.

"Yeah, I mean we're so hungry. Nobody has proven himself yet in the receiving group so everyone is trying to do it. Everybody is going out (to practice) and going hard."

Thompson showed his explosiveness in high school when he was one of the most highly touted prospects in the country. His freshman season was a source for constant frustration for him as he struggled with the need to wait his turn in the Florida offense. However those trials seem to be behind him, and he now has a chance to be the top deep threat on one of the best offenses in the country.

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