SDS talent evaluators Jon Cooper and Brad Crawford spent several months breaking down last year’s highlights, incoming talent and projected 2014 impact following spring practice to compile a list of the SEC’s Top 100 players heading into fall. Athletes were selected by position then ranked overall counting down to No. 1.
Stick with SDS throughout summer and get in on the action using the hashtag #SDSTop100 as we unveil a new player daily leading up to opening night on Aug. 28.
94. Andre Debose, Sr., KR/WR, Florida
The former five-star recruit and centerpiece of the Gators’ 2009 signing class was granted a sixth year of eligibility in the offseason but nearly tossed it away soon thereafter with an off-the-field incident involving an altercation that led to gunfire. Florida’s all-time leader in kickoff return touchdowns is returning from an ACL tear suffered last August. It was the second major injury during Debose’s career after he missed his freshman season with a lingering prep ailment that occurred after National Signing Day.
Debose gives the Gators a game-changer on special teams in addition to his contributions as a speedy receiver. Durability’s been a question throughout his career in Gainesville but glimpses of big-play capability in 2011 when he averaged 27 yards per catch is what wideout coach Joker Phillips hopes to see in Debose’s final campaign. Paired with Quinton Dunbar and Ahmad Fulwood, Florida should be able to absorb the loss of Solomon Patton and Trey Burton in Kurt Roper’s new-look, shotgun spread offense.
With a kickoff return touchdown this fall, Debose will break the SEC record with his fifth such score, separating himself from the current four-way tie with Tennessee’s Willie Gault, Georgia’s Brandon Boykin and Felix Jones from Arkansas. When healthy and in Will Muschamp’s good graces, Debose is as good as Alabama’s Christion Jones — if not better — in the return game.
2013 statistics: Granted medical redshirt after torn ACL
2014 projection: 17 KOR, 399 yds, TD; 22 receptions, 376 yds, 2 TD
Photo Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE