There was a time in the not too distant past that the Florida Gators had a run of talented playmakers at the tight end position. Cornelius Ingram was very good, despite battling injuries throughout his career, Tate Casey made an impact, and Aaron Hernandez and Jordan reed gave Florida to game-changers for years.
Since the departure of Reed, Florida has been searching desperately for a guy who can make that kind of difference at the position with little success. They will get a veteran in Jake McGee back for another season but Florida still needs to find a long-term option; DeAndre Goolsby hopes to be just that.
Goolsby hails from Derby, Kansas, where he was an All-State tight end as a senior. A 6-4, 230-pound tight end, Goolsby is a talented pass catcher, but far from well rounded at this point of his career. The original plan was for him to redshirt. Goolsby didn’t play in the season opener, even after McGee left early with a broken leg. He did, however, have that redshirt burned in Florida’s next game against Kentucky.
Goolsby has decent size for the position, he’s a little undersized, and has a good catch radius. Goolsby isn’t a crisp route runner but he moves well and reminds of Jordan Reed in his running style after the catch (except he’ll keep his feet on the ground when the ball is on the way). The Gators don’t have many options at tight end outside of McGee, Goolsby and redshirt freshman C’yontai Lewis. Goolsby seems to have earned the spot behind McGee coming out of spring camp but he will need to work on his blocking.
The message that Jim McElwain has been telling tight end recruits is that he needs more pro-style guys, tight ends who are physically ready and know how to block. This is the area of Goolsby’s game that is really lacking. He doesn’t have great technique blocking and is a little undersized to go up against bigger defenders.
Still, heading into his sophomore year, Goolsby will be called upon more than he was as a freshman. McGee is the clear starter but Goolsby’s skill set can separate him from McGee and McElwain should be able to scheme up ways to use Goolsby.