Over the next 10 days, Gator Country will preview the players that make up the 2013 Florida Gators football team as we inch closer and closer to the season.
Each day we will count down using the player whose jersey number corresponds with how many days there are left until Florida kicks off against Toledo in The Swamp on August 31.
Today we take a look at redshirt sophomore Valdez Showers.
Valdez Showers is a two-way athlete from Madison Heights High School in Michigan. He is one of two players on Florida’s roster from Michigan. Showers chose Florida over offers from Auburn, Cincinnati, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern and Wisconsin.
As a freshman, Showers played on the scout team while redshirting and was named to the SEC All-Academic Honor Roll. As a redshirt freshman, Showers played mainly on special teams, appearing in 11 games.
Showers moved to the offensive side of the ball in the middle of fall camp this year and is working out at running back in a role similar to the one that Omarius Hines played in 2012.
Showers is a versatile player who can – and has – played on both sides of the ball. Going back to watch his high school highlight tape; you quickly see that he is a dangerous ball carrier.
He is a downhill runner who has good burst and acceleration through the hole. He is agile and can cut on a dime to avoid defenders. Showers has great vision and instincts as a runner.
Showers has shown some very reliable hands this fall, catching passes out of the backfield. If you recall Hines’ role on the team last year, Showers is likely to be more of a receiving threat on offense than an actual runner. He hasn’t been wearing the new wide receiver gloves that are almost cheating because of how tacky the palms are and we have yet to see him drop a pass during the open practices.
At just 5’11” and a slim 190-pounds, his durability is a glaring question. The past two seasons he has been the player delivering hits, how will he handle being on the receiving end of those exchanges this season?
Showers’ knowledge of the offense is limited. He just made the move to offense a week or so ago, so it is likely that the staff is only teaching him specific packages that he will be used in. This will limit what he can do on offense until he has time to digest the entire playbook and become more scheme versatile.
What to Expect
This is tricky. It’s easy to say that we should expect him to fill Hines’ role so he should get a similar amount of touches – 3.3 a game but his inexperience and the sudden change might make him less of a factor early on.
It’s clear to see that this is a long-term move and one that could very well reinvigorate his career, but to expect Showers to become an offensive weapon that will be featured heavily this season might be premature.
He is very talented and can fill the role that is being asked of him adequately but we’ll need to see how he continues coming on before we’re ready to say that he will be a playmaker in 2013.