Name: Ryan Sousa
Why did he redshirt?
Sousa came to Florida at a position where the Gators needed playmakers. Still, he needed to take a redshirt despite Florida’s glaring lack of playmakers on offense. Sousa’s skillset makes him a slot receiver at Florida and last year he was simply beaten out by Latroy Pittman and CJ Worton.
Depth at the position?
Florida’s need for playmakers at receiver has not changed. However, both Pittman and Worton return to the fold. On top of that, Brandon Powell will be used in the slot this season and freshman Antonio Callaway — who has started running and working out since a knee injury — will be in the mix as well. Playing in Sousa’s favor is the fact that this coaching staff will have no preconceived notions heading into spring camp and he has a fresh slate to work with.
Sousa isn’t the most physically gifted player but he is a solid receiver. He doesn’t get the “freak” label like Demarcus Robinson does but Sousa is a very solid route runner, he’s tough and has solid hands.
Sousa doesn’t have great top end speed but he is very quick. He gets in and out of his cuts with ease. Sousa is a natural receiver who catches the ball away from his body and doesn’t need to double catch passes. He’s also a physical receiver and is not easily shoved off of the line of scrimmage at the snap.
My front-runner to win the starting position in the slot is Worton. Worton — like Sousa — isn’t a physical freak like Robinson but both are very well rounded. Sousa will have trouble getting in front of Worton but he can get into the mix. McElwain’s offense remains to be seen so how many receivers he uses and how often he rotates receivers remains to be seen. Sousa may have another year of waiting before he makes a real impact for the Gators but he is a talented player with a lot of upside.