By: Kevin Camps
At his introductory press conference, new Head Coach Jim McElwain stated the importance of getting playmakers the ball.
“On your call sheet, it says, get it to. Pretty simple. There’s this column that says, Get it to“.
Current Florida wide receiver Demarcus Robinson is definitely a ‘get it to’ type of receiver. He showed last year with four 100-yard receiving games and a career high 216 yards against Kentucky, that he definitely deserves more touches. Things weren’t so simple and there was a point in his career when we were not sure he deserved to wear the uniform; we weren’t sure if he got ‘it’.
Demarcus Robinson came to Florida following a rollercoaster recruitment. Originally committing to Clemson, Robinson flipped to Florida and less than a week later back to Clemson, only to end up at Florida. He arrived at Florida with high expectations, but the start of his career got off rocky. With multiple suspensions his days at Florida appeared numbered. The start of his career was a never-ending cycle of frustration for staff and fans.
Controversy continued to surround Robinson in 2014 after being suspended for the opener against Idaho due to a university sanction. Although the game was cancelled, many thought he should have been suspended for the following game as well. It seemed that Robinson did not learn from the issues that plagued him as a freshman. It was obvious that he needed to clean up his act.
Robinson had to prove he was committed to success; he needed to show he was willing to change. After the initial suspension at beginning of last season, Robinson took the field against Eastern Michigan and every other Gator opponent in 2014. Robinson was not involved in any other incidents and was able to focus solely on his performance on the field.
Fast-forward to 2015 and the former high school All-American is poised to build on his breakout 2014 campaign. With inconsistent quarterback play, Robinson accumulated 53 receptions for 810 yards and 7 touchdowns. Those numbers make him one of the top returning pass catchers in the SEC. With the hire of new head coach Jim McElwain, the expectation is that Robinson will become the next in line of great receivers in the McElwain system — one that includes Julio Jones and 2014 Biletnikoff finalist Rashard Higgins.
Although Robinson proved he could be a game changer with more opportunities, he showed his commitment to his team and craft in a game with zero catches. In Florida’s drubbing of rival Georgia last year he was a catalyst to multiple big plays without the ball in his hands providing key blocks to spring big runs. For many it was a sign of a 180-degree change in attitude for the now junior receiver.
With the best season for a Florida receiver since 2009 behind him, Robinson has put his past behavior behind him as well. McElwain believes that Demarcus is a next level receiver, if he can continue his development as a student athlete.
“Taking care of things that you need to on and off the field, that’s going to help him be a successful guy. A guy that should have an opportunity to play at the next level.” McElwain stated following the spring game.
Florida is lacking the depth of playmakers on the outside and Robinson will definitely be the focal point of the Florida passing game between the lines. But outside the lines, Florida will depend on Robinson to stay focused and continue his maturation as person.