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Monday, July 22, 2013
Gator Breakdown: Colin Thompson

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.

No. 84 Colin Thompson
Redshirt freshman tight end

Expectations for 2013: The 6-foot-3, 252-pound Thompson missed the 2012 season after undergoing a second surgery on his broken foot and was unable to gain some valuable experience. UF’s tight ends struggled during the spring and junior Clay Burton has a slim lead on Thompson, sophomore Kent Taylor and junior Tevin Westbrook. They have a combined four catches for 17 yards. That’s not good news for a team without a proven playmaker at receiver.

Best-case scenario in 2013: Thompson was more of a blocker in high school, but his size makes him an intriguing option in the middle of the field and the red zone. He’s a better blocker than any of the other tight ends and could win the job if he can show some consistency and prove he’s a reliable receiver. It’s unlikely he can be the weapon that Jordan Reed was the past two seasons (73 catches, 866 yards, 5 TDs), but a 20-30 catch season isn’t unrealistic and would take some pressure off the receivers.

Worst-case scenario in 2013: Nobody was able to separate themselves from the others during spring practice, and if nobody manages to do that in August, the position likely won’t contribute much. Burton doesn’t have the best hands -- he dropped an easy TD pass last year -- and the staff isn’t happy with Taylor’s toughness. Westbrook, a converted defensive end like Burton, has been a tight end for only one season and hasn’t caught a pass.

Future impact: Thompson is the only prototype tight end on the roster (Taylor is more of a flex tight end) and has the best chance to develop into an offensive weapon. It might not come for another season, though, because he’s still going to have to adjust to the physicality of the college game after missing the 2012 season.