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Thursday, July 25, 2013
Gator Breakdown: Clay Burton

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. 88 Clay Burton

Junior tight end

Expectations for 2013: The 6-foot-4, 253-pound Burton enters August practices atop the depth chart, but it’s a slim lead. All four of UF’s tight ends struggled during spring, and none of them appear capable of being the kind of weapon in the passing game that Jordan Reed was for the past two seasons. Burton is the best of the bunch and the only one who has caught a pass in his career (he has two receptions for 17 yards).

Best-case scenario in 2013: The Gators need someone to emerge as a reliable pass-catcher, especially with the question mark surrounding the receivers (again). Burton is the most logical choice, because he seems to have a better grasp of the offense and at least has been involved somewhat in the passing game. It’s unlikely the Gators tight ends will total 45 catches, which is the total Reed had last season, but Burton could have a 20-catch season.

Worst-case scenario in 2013: Burton, like Colin Thompson and Tevin Westbrook, is really more of a blocker than a receiver. Kent Taylor is a flex tight end who could be a matchup problem in the passing game, but the coaching staff isn’t pleased with his toughness. It’s conceivable that the tight ends combine to catch only 20-25 passes this season, which places even more pressure on the receivers.

Future impact: Thompson and Taylor have a chance to develop into solid players, but the Gators are going to have to continue to address this position in recruiting every season.