The Florida Gators will kick off spring practice a little light on numbers. Seven players will miss spring camp entirely and three other will be limited to non-contact drills. That gives the Gators just 59 scholarship players this spring.
Offensive lineman Antonio Riles (ACL), quarterback Luke Del Rio (shoulder), receiver Freddie Swain (shoulder), defensive end Jordan Sherit (knee), safety Jeawon Taylor (shoulder), safety Quincy Lenton (foot) and linebacker David Reese (hand) will all miss spring practice entirely. Receiver Dre Massey (ACL), cornerback C.J. McWilliams (ACL) and early enrollee linebacker James Houston (ACL) will all be limited to non-contact drills.
“We’ll get them in all our group drills and those type of things which is really good — Dre Massey, which as you guys know was a big blow to us offensively last year when we lost him on the opening kickoff. It’s exciting to have him back,” McElwain said on Thursday. “James Houston will be able to work at linebacker coming off a knee from a year ago. And C.J. McWilliams, who was really showing a lot of promise during two-a-days last fall. So, those guys will all be able to participate in everything but live contact stuff. That’s a good thing for us. Looking forward to it.”
With Massey and Swain down this spring coupled with the departure of C.J. Worton, Florida will have just five scholarship receivers to work with this spring. That “fast pass” that McElwain always speaks of will be in full effect for Antonio Callaway, Tyrie Cleveland, Josh Hammond, Rick Wells and Brandon Powell.
“I see it as a real group of strength for us,” McElwain said of the receivers. “I think the big thing is now comes the accountability piece and competition piece amongst each other and understanding where they need to be and why they need to be there in all the different parts of the passing game. I’m excited about that group. We’ve got great depth.”
The Gators also moved two players to help with depth issues. Former tight end Camrin Knight will move to linebacker, where the Gators lost Alex Anzalone and Jarrad Davis on top of Reese’s injury. Richer Desir Jones will move from offensive guard to defensive tackle as well.
Florida opens spring practice on Tuesday. They will practice twice before the team is released for spring break.