The essence of a dynamic attack is abundant weapons to be used in multiple roles.
In 2018, when the previous staff began their reign in Gainesville, Florida had plenty of weapons to fall back on to ease the transition process. However, failing to retool the room when six NFL-caliber guns left the program from 2018 to 2020, the room does not offer Billy Napier and company the same luxury.
As a result, the Gators plan to take four or five wide receivers in the 2023 recruiting class to rebuild talent and depth in a unit that will become severely understaffed after next season.
Wide receivers coach Keary Colbert got off to a quick start to ensure the quota is met, says a player who fits the mold of pass catchers the Gators will target in North Florida in the future Christian’s Traylon ray.
He visited the University of Florida on Wednesday.
“It was definitely a really good visit,” Ray said. AllGators Friday. “I felt comfortable there. I like the atmosphere. They were very welcoming. I felt like I had known them for a while as soon as I walked onto campus.”
Greeted by staff outside the gates of the Heavener Football Complex, Ray was unknowingly introduced to the new head of the Gators football program.
“I actually shook hands with Billy Napier, and I didn’t even know it was him.”
Staying for six hours alongside his NFC coaches, Ray spent a busy day hanging out with a plethora of coaches and scouts.
This included meetings with Colbert and running backs coach Jabbar Juluke, a trip to the weight room, a walk around campus to check out student dorms and available study spaces. After that, Ray got a glimpse of the progress being made at the James W. Heavener Football Training Center – which he says is “going to be really nice” – before stepping into the current indoor training facility to watch the fullbacks defensives go through a walkthrough.
Back at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, he participated in the traditional orange and blue thread photo shoot, spent more time being coached by Colbert in his office and then concluded his day with a meeting with Napier.
Florida had a plan for him every second he was on campus.
One aspect of the visit that stood out to him the most was the insight into Colbert’s coaching style, which would serve as his next-level positional coach if he chose UF.
Giving insight into how Colbert operates when instructing his wides in the field, Ray said the best thing about the process is its simplicity.
“He showed me a bit of how he coaches, and I love his style of coaching. He doesn’t overcomplicate things,” Ray said. “He keeps everything very simple, but it really works.”
Highlighting the importance of getting off the ball, Colbert shared with Ray the knowledge he has accumulated over his playing and coaching career which he will look to implement in his game during his season. senior, while still being a lot to grab.
“He was like, ‘you come out of the ball at full speed, and every route starts in a straight line.’ He was just talking about three steps, how you get off your routes. He taught me a bit about getting rid of presses and stuff like that,” Ray said.
“He was teaching me a lot. It was a lot to take in, but it was all very necessary and useful.”
Ray said Colbert wide receiver progression Drake London — who is battling to be the first wide receiver on the board in the 2022 NFL Draft in just under six weeks — from one of his first practices to one of his last under Colbert at USC.
“It was really cool to see how he coached, and how simple it was, but how effective it was.”
To say he left a lasting impression on the Tallahassee-based wide receiver would be an understatement.
Standing at 6’2″, 180 pounds, the tri-sport athlete possesses the height, length and verified speed that Florida has proclaimed as their primary focus when evaluating and targeting talented prospects. His desirable frame and his athleticism project him to line up on the outside at the next level; however, Gators staff haven’t shared where they envision him in their offense.
After the Florida visit, Ray said he thought about the Gators, but was reluctant to put them at the top of his list of schools. It’s mainly because this list hasn’t taken shape yet.
“I wouldn’t say they’re, you know, top of the list because I don’t really have a list yet, but I’m really thinking about it,” Ray said. “I’m definitely thinking of them.”
Florida borders Cincinnati, West Virginia, Mississippi State and the hometown Florida State Seminoles as programs in resolute pursuit of the talented wide receiver.
Ray plans to make his five official visits this summer when his recruiting begins to take shape. Around the same time, he will release a list of the best schools for his services.
Ultimately, Ray hopes to make a final decision before the first signing day in December.
He said he planned to return to UF before committing.
Stay tuned to AllGators for ongoing coverage of Florida Gators football, basketball and recruiting. Follow us on social media at @SI_AllGators on Twitter and Florida Gators on Sports Illustrated on Facebook.