Friday, May 24, 2013
Gator Breakdown: Andre Debose
By Michael DiRocco
During the summer, GatorNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Florida roster -- excluding the Gators’ 2013 recruiting class -- in our Gator Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1 Quinton Dunbar, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 97 Brad Phillips.
Once a heralded wide receiver prospect, Andre Debose is merely the Gators' kickoff return specialist at this point in his career.
Expectations for 2013: Surprisingly, there’s not much expected of Debose on offense, despite the fact that he’s dangerous with the ball in his hand in the open field and one of the few players the Gators have that is a touchdown threat every time he touches the ball. His role in 2012 was as a kick returner, and that’s pretty much the expectations for him this fall. Debose has battled consistency, work ethic and attitude issues throughout his career, and that has kept him off the field on offense. He caught just three passes last season despite being the most talented receiver on the roster, and unless he fixes those problems he’s likely headed for another season in which he catches very few passes.
Best-case scenario for 2013: The 6-foot, 187-pound Debose could finally put things together in his senior season -- that has happened before when players realize this is their last chance -- and become the big-time playmaker he was expected to be when he signed in 2009. He’s got the ability: he caught 16 passes for 432 yards (27.0 yards per catch) and four touchdowns in 2011. All of those TD receptions were for at least 64 yards, too -- making him a dangerous downfield threat. If he solves the consistency problem, then the Gators won’t need cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy to spend any time on offense.
Worst-case scenario for 2013: Debose has been bothered by the same issues for the past three seasons, so is it realistic to expect him to finally figure it out? Probably not, but even if he doesn’t get much playing time on offense he still is a weapon as a kick returner. His four kickoff returns for touchdowns and 27.4-yard average are a school career record, and his next touchdown will give him sole possession of the SEC career record.
Future impact: This is Debose’s final season in Gainesville, and his legacy will be determined by what he does this fall. He could finally figure things out and leave as a late bloomer or he could end up as one of the most disappointing players in school history.