Over the next 15 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 junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy.
Loucheiz Purifoy was a highly rated cornerback from Pine Forest High School in Pensacola, Florida. Purifoy chose Florida over an offer list that included Alabama, Auburn and Miami.
As a freshman, Purifoy played in all 13 games, mainly on special teams, for the Gators while leading the team in special teams tackles with 22. Purifoy entered his sophomore season with a bigger role on the team, once again playing in all 13 games but this time starting 12 of those at cornerback. He continued playing special teams and was instrumental to Florida’s success in that area. Purifoy not only returned kicks but also was a dangerous gunner on kick coverage. Purifoy also blocked a punt attempt that turned into the last second, game-winning touchdown that propelled Florida past Louisiana Lafayette.
Purifoy’s biggest strengths are his versatility and his athleticism. He is gearing up to be a three-way player for the Gators this season, playing on special teams, offense and defense.
At 6’1”, 190 pounds, Purifoy is a very big, long cornerback who likes to get physical with receivers at the line of scrimmage. His physicality and athleticism is what allows him to play cornerback at such a high level.
As a kick returner, Purifoy is fearless. He catches kickoffs and goes from 0-to-60 in no time flat and won’t slow down when defenders get near him. With the loss of Andre Debose, Purifoy will get additional looks in this area.
As a receiver, Purifoy’s biggest asset is his speed. He is limited at the position based on a simple knowledge of what is being asked of receivers on each play, the playbook and the route tree. Similar to his role at cornerback, his athleticism makes up for it. He has yet to play offense in fall camp due to some of the younger players coming on but he will play offense this season, to what extent is still to be determined.
Purifoy’s weakness at cornerback is his technique. He is not a prototypical cover-corner like Marcus Roberson. In his back pedal, Purifoy doesn’t sink his hips low enough, which slows him down when making cuts and trying to stick with receivers.
Purifoy is an excellent corner when he can play bump and run and get his hands on a receiver at the line of scrimmage. He is strong enough to alter a receivers’ timing and throw him off of his route but he needs to improve in off-coverage and zone.
What to Expect
A lot. And I mean production and playing time. Purifoy is cemented in as one of the two starting cornerbacks and as D.J. Durkin said, that is his home base. He will play defense first and should once again be a key player on special teams.
The factor that is still undetermined is what kind of impact he will have on offense. Florida entered the fall extremely worried about what kind of production they would get out of their receivers but have been pleased with the production and progress that the unit has shown. This may keep Purifoy on defense and special teams more than anyone predicted heading into the season but like we said before, his role on offense has yet to be determined. Depending on how he is used and his knowledge of the playbook, Purifoy could be a dangerous weapon on offense but it is at his real home, cornerback, where he will catch the attention of NFL scouts.