There is no question that the Florida Gators passing game has struggled mightily over the past few seasons. One of the main reasons for those struggles has been the lack of production and playmaking ability from the wide receivers.
Ever since the likes of Dallas Baker, Louis Murphy and Percy Harvin have left the University of Florida, the Gators haven’t had anything close to resembling a dynamic playmaker at the wide receiver position. As it stands right now, the Gators will be depending on the likes of redshirt junior Quinton Dunbar, redshirt senior Andre Debose and senior Trey Burton to be their main playmakers for this season. They are all nice players, but each of them has their own shortcomings that somewhat limit the Gators passing attack.
However, the Gators signed five wide receivers, including three ranked in the ESPN 150, in their 2013 recruiting class with the hope that at least one or two of them would be able to emerge and contribute right away.
The most likely to emerge out of the group, is also the only early enrollee of the bunch, Demarcus Robinson. All indications out of spring practice were that Robinson looked primed to make an impact this fall. Enrolling early helped him gain an understanding of the offensive system and develop a rapport with quarterback Jeff Driskel. Being on campus early definitely gives Robinson a leg up on his fellow freshman receivers.
Out of the other four, Ahmad Fulwood, Alvin Bailey, Marqui Hawkins and Chris Thompson, each offers something different. At 6-4, Fulwood is the tallest of the group and has the ability to stretch the field. Bailey, a Wildcat quarterback in high school, could be someone who fits that Percy Harvin mold that the Gators offense has been missing. At roughly 200 pounds, Hawkins is a big, physical receiver. And Thompson, who also ran track in high school, is the speedster of the group.
It is definitely difficult for true freshman receivers to make an immediate impact. However, based on the current group of playmakers on the roster, the Gators will likely be depending on one or two of these players to play a significant role this fall. So who out of the five will emerge? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see.