The Florida Gators coaching staff could hardly contain their excitement when Dre Massey enrolled prior to the 2016 season. The junior college transfer has a wide range of skills and Jim McElwain and Doug Nussmeier were itching to give the Gators’ offense a new wrinkle.
Massey played quarterback in high school. He famously scored 11 touchdowns — eight rushing — in a 83-70 win in high school. Massey can run, throw and catch. He was going to play special teams and have packages tailored to him.
However, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
Massey tore his ACL on the opening kickoff against UMass in the season opener. He tired to play the rest of the first quarter before ultimately heading back to the locker room. Florida had wildcat packages for Massey to give an additional element to the offense. He was going to be a focal point of an offense that ended up ranked dead last in the SEC.
“I mean, we also had those packages in for Dre Massey that we worked on extensively and were able to use it for one kickoff,” McElwain noted on Thursday.
How many plays were ripped out of the playbook when Massey went down?
“None of us will ever know,” McElwain joked. I offered up a number to McElwain, one page, perhaps? He laughed walking out of the press conference, “A little more than that.”
Massey was originally committed to East Carolina but wasn’t able to qualify out of high school, which led him to Holmes Community College. Massey’s mother, Angela Payne, spoke with gator Country last August about what happened.
“He had that ADHD and struggled a lot with understanding and comprehending things,” Massey’s mother, Angela Payne told Gator Country. “It was a challenge but through the grace of God he made it through. He just has to make sure to keep studying and when things get hard ask questions.”
The long road to Gainesville made Massey appreciate his new family in Gainesville. He had the Gator logo tattooed on his wrist before the season began. He had a taste of what it would be like to play on Saturday’s in Orange and Blue but spent the rest of the season as a spectator. Even though his role will be limited this spring the mere addition of Massey back into the mix will give the offensive playbook some additional girth.
“I mean, that was a piece of the offense that we can put back in now. We’ll see what he can handle,” said McElwain. “We’re not gonna overload him, because obviously, as you can tell, he’s not in any of the contact stuff. Which is the right thing. But he’s also a weapon and a guy I’m looking forward to seeing out there on SEC Saturdays.”