Credit: Alex Shepherd
Continuing the By the Numbers series for AllGators, Florida's wide receiver group is filled with talent but hasn't been able to produce numbers even close to last season as the team quickly transitions to a more run-oriented offense this year.
That was brought on due to the departures of multiple offensive stars including quarterback Kyle Trask who was selected at the bottom of the first second round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This season, under the guidance of redshirt junior QB Emory Jones, the Florida receivers have made do with what they are given.
Going by the numbers, the top receiver for Florida thus far this season has been redshirt junior Jacob Copeland. Copeland, now in his fourth year with the program, has done just fine with what he's been given, accounting for 23 receptions for 423 yards and four touchdowns.
He is one reception away from surpassing his career-high, set last season, and just 13 yards away from surpassing his career-high in receiving yards (435, 2020).
He's already caught more touchdowns (4) than he has in any other year in his career. The Gators utilize his 6-foot, 202-pound frame to be the team's deep-threat, and that's been realized with his 18.4 yards per reception average.
The only other receiver with more than 200 yards receiving this year has been Justin Shorter, who's accounted for 19 receptions for 229 yards and two touchdowns on the year.
For Florida, this year's receiving corp is plenty talented, but as expected, not able to be utilized as much as some would probably hope within the room. That, however, doesn't mean anyone is complaining or upset about their lack of opportunities, it simply has been how the offense has gone thus far this season.
In fact, Shorter specifically spoke about his love for blocking, something the team's receivers have had to do a whole lot of thus far this season.
“I actually love blocking. I actually love blocking, because you can really show how, like, physical you could be, and how each play, if you're hitting that DB every single play, mentally, he's just going to look at you like you're crazy, basically," Shorter said in September.
"And I always tell the backs you know just, if you’re ever in doubt just find four and just run, because I’m going to be down there blocking for you every time.”
For Florida, they'll certainly look to get their receivers the ball as much as possible, but with one of the best running games in the country, currently, there's not much impatience to do so.
With the team's QB situation currently in flux, time will tell how much more production we will see out of the group for the last few games of this season.
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