Does the Florida offense need Demarcus Robinson in 2016?
Junior WR Demarcus Robinson’s future at Florida appears to be uncertain after needing a senior vote to rejoin the team for the SEC Championship Game.
When addressing Robinson’s suspension for the FSU game, head coach Jim McElwain asked reporters, “Are any of you surprised?” If frequent visits to McElwain’s doghouse for off-the-field issues doesn’t drive the junior wideout to forgo his senior season, an on-the-field issue might: the quarterback connected to Robinson’s best numbers of the season (Will Grier) will be transferring.
Despite his potential reasons for wanting to leave Florida, Robinson should not bolt for the NFL just yet. Some recent draft chatter projects him as a late-round pick or undrafted free agent. If Robinson decides to return for his senior season, clean up his act and boost his draft status, the Gators should welcome his contributions on offense.
When it comes to wide receivers, the Gators are in a position where they must take whatever they can get. Of Florida’s top five pass-catchers this season, only Robinson (47 catches, 505 yards, 2 TD) and Antonio Callaway (30 catches, 603 yards, 4 TD) were recruited as wide receivers. The other three were a converted running back (Brandon Powell) and two tight ends (Jake McGee and DeAndre Goolsby).
Florida’s depth chart for 2016 is severely lacking at wide receiver beyond Callaway, Robinson and Powell when it comes to returning lettermen. Ahmad Fulwood’s three-year numbers (35 catches, 387 yards, 2 TD) are underwhelming, but they at least show he has contributed at times. Beyond Fulwood, the veteran wideouts for 2016 have career numbers which resemble single game box scores:
- Chris Thompson (Jr.): 8 catches, 58 yards
- C.J. Worton (So.): 6 catches, 81 yards, 2 TD
- Alvin Bailey (So.): 3 catches, 49 yards
If Robinson chooses to return for one more season, he gives the Gators a much-needed possession receiver. Even with McElwain targeting talented receivers in this year’s recruiting classes, it is difficult to foresee an incoming freshman beating out Robinson for playing time.
Robinson’s height (6-foot-1), speed and hands made him the Gators’ reception leader in 2015. If he’s willing to work with uncertainty at quarterback, particularly through Week 6, he could be a valuable component to the Florida offense next season.