The wide receiver unit at Florida is starting to become more of a concern for the Gators. It was a very unproven group heading into spring and now two of the younger faces are gone.
Friday, coach Will Muschamp announced that freshmen receivers Chris Dunkley and Javares McRoy are transferring from Florida to pursue football careers elsewhere.
“We wish both of those guys the best of luck in their future endeavors, both on and off the field,” Muschamp said.
McRoy, who enrolled in January from Lakeland, Fla. but missed the spring game after undergoing a minor procedure on his lung, intends to transfer to Texas Tech in order to play with his brother Ben McRoy, who is in his second year as a running back for the Red Raiders.
“I enjoyed my time at Florida, but I really want the chance to play with my brother Ben, who is at Texas Tech,” McRoy said. “Florida has been very understanding and is giving me that opportunity.”
As for Dunkley, his reasons aren’t as clear. He missed all of 2010 with a hamstring injury and was suspended from the team last week because of academic issues.
“It’s been a great learning experience being here at the University of Florida, but I feel like it’s in my best interest to get a fresh start somewhere else,” Dunkley said.
The former Pahokee, Fla., standout was one of Florida’s prized offensive recruits in 2010. Outside of Ronald Powell, he was one of the most exciting guys to watch at Florida’s 2009 Friday Night Lights camp. Most expected him to come in and make an instant impact for the Gators.
However, a hamstring injury nagged him throughout his entire freshman season. It appeared to vanish this spring, but academic issues wrecked the rest of his time.
Dunkley seemed perfect for Urban Meyer’s spread and the thought was that there wouldn’t be a drop off in Charlie Weis’ pro-style offense. Now, Dunkley is off to find a new home and start fresh with his third college coaching staff in less than a year.
It’s unclear if Dunkley just wasn’t invested, but slipping academically isn’t a great sign.
As for McRoy, he originally committed to Texas Tech, but switched to Florida last summer. He was a total spread guy, so adapting to the pro-style might have been an issue for him. However, with his speed, he drew some praise from coaches and players this spring.
Regardless, Florida finds itself down two bodies at receiver. Of the guys returning, senior Deonte Thompson has had the most production. He caught 38 passes for 570 yards and a touchdown in 2010, but had major issues with dropping the football.
Behind him are Omarius Hines and Frankie Hammond Jr. Hammond might have the best playmaking ability of the group. He only caught 22 passes for 276 yards and two scores last year, but he showed that he’s not only got good speed, but he’s pretty shifty in the open field. Hines could be a receiver/tight end hybrid for the Gators and seemed to be heavily underused last fall.
Florida also found out this spring that rising sophomore Robert Clark has the tools to be solid in the slot and redshirt freshman Quinton Dunbar has earned high praise from Muschamp and his teammates for being the top playmaker in camp.
Florida’s coaches will now have to accelerate the acclamation process of incoming freshman Ja’Juan Story -- Florida’s only other receiver from the 2011 class.
The Gators have options at the position, but experience is an issue. And after a less-than-stellar offensive showing in the spring game, this does less to help the concerns people have about Florida’s offense heading into the offseason.