- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Florida’s Allstate Sugar Bowl date with Louisville, GatorNation will review the season for a key Gators player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at CB Loucheiz Purifoy.
51 tackles, 5 pass breakups, 3 forced fumbles, two blocked kicks
Role in 2012: Purifoy started 11 games and had a breakthrough season. The Gators play almost exclusive man coverage, and Purifoy did a solid job in just his second season as a full-time cornerback.
The good: The 6-foot-1, 186-pound Purifoy was solid in coverage, but his biggest asset is his physicality in coverage and in run support. He also has a knack for making big plays. He sparked UF’s rout of South Carolina when he sacked QB Connor Shaw and caused a fumble that UF recovered on the game’s first offensive play. He also is a fantastic special teams player. He’s UF’s top gunner on punt coverage, and he blocked a punt that was returned for a game-winning TD against Louisiana-Lafayette.
The bad: At times he was overly aggressive and got hurt on double moves. He didn’t miss many tackles but he failed to bring down Georgia WR Malcolm Mitchell on a play that turned out to be the game-clinching touchdown. Purifoy is still learning how to play corner and has to improve at reading the receiver, especially in situations where the ball is underthrown or on back-shoulder throws. That’s something that all young corners struggle with, though.
Crystal ball: Purifoy played a few downs on offense this season as a receiver and the Gators might use him more in that role next season, especially if the young receivers don’t develop. He has great ball skills, which certainly helps out at corner, and good speed and could be a pretty good receiver if he played there full time. With continued development as a corner, though, he could potentially have the opportunity to leave school early for the NFL.