GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two and a half weeks through camp, it’s becoming clearer which of Florida’s freshmen are potentially primed to contribute this fall.
Most of those names reside on the defensive side, where holes were left and depth was thinned by the exodus of eight key players to the NFL, but the Gators’ bevy of offensive playmakers looks to be expanding as well.
While freshman Kadarius Toney has earned plenty of recognition this camp in his transition from quarterback to receiver, fellow newcomer Daquon Green has made some noise within that position group as well.
Green was lined up with the first-team offense during the opening “fastball” period of practice Thursday and drew praise from coach Jim McElwain a day later.
“Boy, he’s done a good job,” McElwain said. “Obviously swims a little bit on some of the things we’re asking him to do … but he’s a guy that, what I like, he goes out and goes about his business. He’s got really good hands, and he’s got a big strong body. Some of the things that he’s done away from the ball [have] been really good.”
Green, listed at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, was rated a 4-star recruit and the 33rd-best receiver in the 2017 signing class, according to the 247Sports composite. He tallied 2,255 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns during four seasons at Tampa Bay Technical High School.
Florida’s depth at receiver might be the strongest of any unit on the team, so expectations for Green should be kept modest.
At full strength, the Gators have experienced receivers in Antonio Callaway, Tyrie Cleveland, Josh Hammond, Freddie Swain and Brandon Powell all capable of playing on the outside, with Dre Massey and Toney competing with Powell for time in the slot.
But it’s not only McElwain that Green has impressed already.
“He’s got great speed. His route running is great as well. He’s a complete receiver,” cornerback Duke Dawson said.
Quarterback Feleipe Franks emphasized that the Gators offense can be complex for a young receiver and that Green still has “a little bit to learn,” but he added that “he’s going to be a really good football player.”
Fellow quarterback Luke Del Rio reiterated the same sentiments.
“Yeah, Daquon has really done a good job of stepping up,” he said. “You could tell the first couple of days he was kind of overwhelmed. But I was saying earlier, he doesn’t make the same mistake twice and that’s big. … He took it upon himself to learn, to pay attention in meetings, to ask questions and he’s seen it work out for him this past week.”