Florida defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy is one of the top corners in the country after he was named to the Bednarik and Nagurski Award watch lists, but its at wide receiver where he could make his biggest impact in 2013.
The Gators boast the best cornerback duo in the SEC where Marcus Roberson and Purifoy will once again stifle opposing wide receivers and frustrate quarterbacks all season long. However, after the Gators finished with the 12th ranked pass offense in 2012, Purifoy will dabble on offense to try and inject some life into the aerial assault.
Florida head coach Will Muschamp let Purifoy get some snaps during spring practice where Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel welcomed the uber-athletic Purifoy with open arms. But before Driskel starts dreaming of Purifoy developing into his go-to guy, Muschamp is taking a wait-and-see approach with the young receivers.
“He will be on defense for the first 12-14 practices,” Muschamp said. “We need to find out what the new guys can do. Loucheiz is going to have a role on offense. How much is going to depend on how some of the new wide receivers progress, and how some of the younger guys at cornerback progress to build depth.”
Smart move by Muschamp to try to get the younger receivers some much-needed reps. Quinton Dunbar led Gators receivers with 36 receptions 383 yards and four touchdowns. Demarcus Robinson, Latroy Pittman, Andre Debose and Solomon Patton will battle for reps at wide receiver and combined for six receptions for a paltry 38 yards in 2012. Purifoy also added a five-yard catch last year.
Ideally you wouldn’t want your All-American candidate taking time away from the position he excels at, but Florida has depth in the secondary with top recruit Vernon Hargreaves III able to gain additional reps when Purifoy is on offense. This will accelerate his development while also adding a dynamic playmaker on offense. This is a win-win situation for Florida.
The comparisons to Charles Woodson and Champ Bailey undoubtedly will come in the weeks and months ahead for Purifoy as those elite corners went both ways their final college season before becoming first round picks in the NFL draft. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Purifoy has all the tools to follow in their footsteps as a potential top-10 pick in the 2014 draft.
Purifoy will make plays in the return game, create turnovers and catch touchdowns for the Gators which is something no other player can say. And because of Purifoy the Gators could be headed to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.