GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s three junior college transfers made up more than half of the scoring in Friday’s Orange & Blue Debut.
Running back Mark Thompson, wide receiver Dre Massey and kicker Eddy Pineiro accounted for 27 of the Gators’ 50 points, and each had a big play in the spring game.
“Those are great things to see,” UF coach Jim McElwain said. “And I guess more than that, just to see the guys’ confidence and their ability. The stage isn’t too big. Those (three) guys, they’re all going to contribute this fall. But you know what, we’ll still need great summers out of them.”
Thompson had a game-high 46 yards rushing on five carries, the longest a 26-yard touchdown run. He also displayed his versatility with three catches for 25 yards, finishing with the second-most total yards at the skill positions.
“When I was in junior college, my mindset was to make an impact wherever I went,” said Thompson, the nation’s No. 1 junior college running back. “Me, Dre and Eddy, we’re a close-knit group and we’re all roommates. We’re having a pretty good impact so far through spring that I’m seeing.
“Eddy’s making field goals from Lord knows how far away, I’m giving the extra effort on the run plays and Dre is making spectacular catches all the time.”
Massey caught two passes for 29 yards and showed he can be a red-zone weapon with his 19-yard touchdown reception. Pineiro made field goals from 52, 46 and 56 yards, the latter coming after a missed attempt.
“I didn’t let it get to my head,” Pineiro said of the miss. “What usually happens a lot is kickers miss and get down on themselves, just negative energy. I keep it positive all the time. Whether I make it or I miss it, I’m positive 100 percent. I think of everything in a positive way, and I’m just happy to be here.”
Florida quarterback Luke Del Rio, who also impressed Friday, said the junior college trio has provided a big boost to the offense.
“They’ve done a great job,” Del Rio said. “They’ve stepped in. It hasn’t been too big for them. Dre’s done a tremendous job in the slot. Mark is a load to tackle. If I played defense, I’d probably go at his ankles. And Eddy made what, almost a 60-yarder tonight? Close to it. I’m glad they’re on my team.”