Tim Brewster continues to line his pockets.
On Tuesday, Florida made a monumental acquisition with St. Louis tight end prospect Mac Markway committing to the Gators over Notre Dame, Iowa, Ohio State, Alabama and others.
Citing tight ends coach Brewster as the main attraction to join the Florida class – given his track record of maximizing talent and the strong bond the two have built since his offer over a year ago – Markway becomes the fourth prospect to join Brewster's room since his hiring in Februrary 2020 and sits as the lone commit for UFs 2023 class.
In an interview with Adam Gorney of Rivals, Markway spoke candidly on his choice to continue his football career nearly 885 miles away form home. "Right when I got there I had that little gut feeling where I was like 'This is the place.' I mean, right when I stepped foot in Gainesville."
In anticipation of Markway's arrival to Florida's facilities in the distant future, AllGators analyzes his skillset as a blocker and pass catcher, as well as his fit in the Florida offense.
If one thing differs from the tight end prospects the Gators targeted in the 2021 and 2022 cycles, Markway doesn't showcase himself as a new-era pass catcher. Instead, he aligns with the traditional mold of tight ends, prioritizing his prowess as a blocker.
Standing at 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, Markway proves to be a domineering tight end prospect at first glance and only enhances that notion with his physicality at the point of attack.
Consistently featured pulling across the formation for his offense, Markway quickly accelerates to full speed to crack down on both play-side and back-side edge defenders, violently.
Making an impact as both a gap creator and pass protector, Markway showcases an ability to beat his opponent with raw strength and drive in his lower body. Playing at a relatively low pad level despite his size, Markway’s success as a people mover is more than just genetics.
While there is still room for improvement from a technical standpoint, Markway has a number of desirable traits as an extension of the offensive that the Gators will utilize to open up holes in the run game they hope to have reestablished before he steps on campus.
While he may embody a block-first prospect on the surface, Markway is far from a one-dimensional talent. Showcasing sufficient receiving skills in his high school's play-action passing game, Markway presents intriguing versatility to operate within a number of different roles.
When working across the formation as a blocker, Markway benefits from DeSmet’s offensive scheme and its efficient disguise run versus play-action.
Making the same immediate post-snap movements on play action to sell the run, Markway then bails out into the flats in the passing game, where he often finds himself in open space.
Showcasing soft hands and an above-average ability to run after the catch, Markway is a valuable target in short-yardage situations.
When playing in a traditional passing game, Markway plays with a high football IQ — likely derived from a family lineage that breathes football — allowing him to excel when working the seams. Showing an uncanny ability to sit in space against zone coverage, Markway’s understanding of the game is evident as a pass-catcher.
Simply put, Markway has the acquired knowledge and maturity to find gaps in the defense when needed, becoming a safety valve for his quarterback.
Meanwhile, due to his frame and athleticism — with a 35-inch vertical in his arsenal — Markway can become more than a possession receiver, presenting a viable option in red-zone situations.
What sets Markway apart from other tight ends is the lack of targets he needs to find a rhythm as a receiver, consistently proving to be ready when his number is called and willingly doing the dirty work up front until that time comes.
How He Fits
The decision to target a more complete tight end prospect deviates from Florida’s recent efforts seeking Kyle Pitts-esque entities to utilize in a similar light.
However, with what looks to be a transitioning offensive scheme, targeting guys who can do everything well is paramount. As a result, Brewster — as he does — went out and got one of the best everything tight ends in Markway.
At Florida, Markway can primarily assume the “W” tight end in the Gators scheme. Similar to the H-back — which plays slightly offset from the offensive line — the W tight end fills a variety of roles for the offense and embodies versatility as a blocker and pass catcher. As he continues to develop, he can flex into the "Y" tight end position as well, which aligns in-line and out wide as Pitts did.
Likely to see sparing targets in his first few seasons in orange and blue, Markway could make an immediate impact as an extra body up front, opening up lanes for ball carriers.
Namely, Markway could be featured in short-yardage and jumbo packages early on — especially considering his college-ready frame as a junior in high school — before carving out a larger role as his career rolls on.
Overall, Markway has a skillset that perfectly complements itself to be an unpredictable weapon in the Florida offense in due time, the exact chess-piece Brewster and company were looking for.