Over the first three recruiting classes the Florida Gators signed under head coach Dan Mullen and his staff, the team has appeared to covet length at the wide receiver position. That trend seems to be coming to an end in the 2021 recruiting class, however, as seen by the commitments of receivers Trevonte Rucker (6-0, 157 lbs.) and Charles Montgomery (5-10, 185 lbs.).
For good reason. Rucker still carries very long arms, but his speed and explosion will translate well to playing wide receiver full time after wreaking havoc at multiple positions for Vanguard (Ocala, Fla.). And Montgomery, who committed to Florida this past Sunday, can become a versatile weapon for Florida given his rushing and receiving production.
In his three years of high school ball, Montgomery has played nearly every skill position in his offense. While he primarily profiles as a slot receiver, Montgomery can line up in the backfield and take carries as a running back, and has even seen time playing quarterback in high school.
While Florida isn't likely to incorporate Montgomery's arm much into the offense (perhaps an occasional trick play), he can lineup as a Wildcat quarterback as Florida continues to recreate its rushing attack. Montgomery is a candidate for jet sweeps and screens as well, given his short-area explosion and elusiveness.
Let's take a look at the skill-set Montogmery brings to the table as a member of Florida's 2021 recruiting haul.
Possessing subtle feet to pull off jab steps, Montgomery finds ways to separate down the field beyond pure speed including this post-corner route. Montgomery chews up the cushion separating himself from the safety and jabs inside, flipping the safety's hips from the sideline.
Montgomery swiftly changes direction, and is wide open for the score. He adjusts well to an underthrown ball, as he's still climbing towards the back corner as the ball is released.
Montgomery begins this route out of the slot with an outside release and breezes by the nickel defender. As the outside receiver cuts inside, Montgomery is in control of the boundary to cut into a comeback route without disruption or the threat of a pass-breakup, as he left the nickel defender chasing him down the seam.
Finishing with a toe-tapper, you can get a feel for Montgomery's concentration through the entire route. It pays off with a flashy grab and a first down.
On another move to flip the defenders hips, Montgomery works outside and cuts back into the middle of the field to make a catch in a window up the seam.
Montgomery has previously clocked a poor 4.83 second 40 yard dash, although he appears much faster than that and should test better eventually, but track speed isn't what will allow Montgomery to separate at the next level. Rather, his nimble feet allow him to separate through congestion and that should serve well in the middle of the field.
Florida will certainly look to add Montgomery to its screen game, given his elusiveness in the short field. He's quick to plant and turn back to catch the ball at full extension, and he does a good job of swiftly changing direction after the catch in order to find the open field.
While longer receivers in Florida's recent recruiting hauls are certainly nimble enough to effectively run screens on the outside, Montgomery can successfully run the route on the outside and in the slot, with the elusiveness to make something big happen after the catch.
The two clips above provide a better idea of Montgomery's ability to make defenders miss. While it shouldn't be expected of Montgomery to be a replica of current Gators wide receiver Kadarius Toney, who has torn a defender's knee ligaments with a juke move before, both offer similar elusiveness and explosion with the ball in their hands.
Montgomery is expected to primarily line up as a slot receiver in Florida's offense, however he offers the positional flexibility to line up in the backfield as a running back or even a Wildcat quarterback.
On the clip above, Montgomery shows patience to allow his blocks to be established before cutting upfield in the B-gap, which nearly shifted from one hash to the other prior to Montgomery's cut. Yet, he maneuvered through traffic and back into the open middle of the field, prancing his way to six points while outrunning multiple defenders.
Solid blocks across the line of scrimmage and into the second level gave Montgomery a pretty clear rushing lane here, but he maintained good balance through his run by high-stepping an offensive lineman's leg before finding open field. From there, Montgomery was off to the races.
He isn't at running back here, but Montgomery receives the ball from the slot on a reverse and sweeps into the open field on the opposite sideline, gaining a first down after avoiding two tacklers before the line to gain. The Gators will enjoy getting creative with Montgomery's elusive skill-set and experience toting the rock, as he can be used out of the back field in numerous ways, while also running jet sweeps and reverses.
At the beginning of May, the Gators couldn't have been pleased to hear that Miami Palmetto wide receiver Brashard Smith planned to decommit from Florida. While Smith would likely still be welcomed into the the class, Florida need not worry about missing out on an electric, versatile slot receiver with Montgomery in the fold.
Montgomery offers solid size, speed, and explosion for the slot receiver position and is crafty in order to separate. With the ball in his hands, Montgomery won't often come down at first contact and he finds a way to creatively produce yards. His experience as a running back and quarterback should prove valuable, giving Florida the flexibility to move him around the offense and create mismatches for opposing defenses.