Josh Hammond is fresh off the field following Florida’s first spring practice. It’s the first time he’s done media since arriving at Florida because Jim McElwain doesn’t make freshmen available to the media but Hammond already knows there will be a certain line of questioning.
His brother, who was in attendance for both of Florida’s first two spring practices, Frankie Hammond appeared in 48 games (19 starts) during his career in Gainesville. He had 63 career receptions for 809 yards and six touchdowns. Josh chose Florida over a number of schools and has been answering questions about his older brother his entire life.
“It was great, I didn’t even notice he was here until about halfway through,” Josh said of Frankie’s presence at the first spring practice. “I saw him standing over there. It was great that he came out and watched.”
Josh understands the questions. Frankie blossomed from a special teams standout to the Gators fourth leading receiver as a senior. The younger Hammond, however, already accomplished something his brother didn’t. Josh played in every game during his freshman season. He hauled in 14 catches for 177 yards.
“He was just glad that I played as a freshman. He didn’t play as a freshman, he redshirted,” Josh said of Frankie. “He was just glad that I got to play and get some playing time and some experience in my freshman year.”
Hammond made an impact as a freshman but the year was largely spent adjusting, he says, to the game speed and what is expected of you on a day in and day out basis.
“When I got here, I didn’t really know much,” Hammond said. “Just high school, coming out and just playing football. So when I got here, there was a learning curve and trying to accumulate myself to try to help the team in a positive way.”
That experience he gained in 2017 will only prove to drive him for his sophomore season. The Gators entered spring camp with just five healthy scholarship receivers. Antonio Callaway and Tyrie Cleveland look likely to hold down two starting spots but the Gators are in need of another receiving option to take the heat off of those two. With limited numbers at the position, this spring camp is pivotal for Hammond. He’s worked on running crisper routes, discerning different coverages and how to prepare for opponents in the film room. Hammond is drawing praise from his peers in the way he’s attacking that aspect of preparation.
“He’s smart,” Brandon Powell said of Hammond. “You can go up to him and ask him a question about the defense or about a route and he can tell you. That’s the one thing I like about Josh. He’s smart. I can learn things from him.”
Frankie trains in Gainesville so his watching eye will be around until the New York Jets begin two-a-days. The brothers will be close but they don’t talk about football much. They spend most of their time talking about Call of Duty or tennis shoes. When Frankie leaves for OTA’s he’ll still be checking up on his brother and rooting for his brother to make a name for himself, something they’re both looking forward to.