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What do you expect from Andre Debose next year?

Andre Debose Chomp By MIKE McCALL

The biggest question facing Florida’s offense for next season is how to replace Percy Harvin, and it seems like a lot of people have taken the attitude that, "Oh, Andre Debose will be here next year. It's all taken care of."

Debose has been touted as the Second Coming, but the claims that he’ll shoulder the load Harvin left behind need to be tempered. Maybe he will be the next Harvin. Just not yet.

Urban Meyer has made it clear that he doesn’t want to give up what he calls “The Percy Position” just because Harvin entered the NFL Draft, and why would he? Meyer said opposing coaches told him that the toughest matchups against UF last season were Harvin and tight end Aaron Hernandez, and he wants to keep at least one player on the field who's versatile enough to score by taking direct snaps, hand-offs, option pitches or catching passes.

From the way Meyer talks about Debose, it's clear he thinks he has his man. On National Signing Day, he called the Sanford Seminole High receiver “the best player in America,” and he's counting on Debose to make his presence felt right away.

“I expect him to be a starter and a guy who will come in and contribute,” Meyer said Monday. “I expect it because I’m going off his highlight film. Sometimes I give guys too much credit, but he has one of the best highlight films I have ever seen. He’s tough too. I went and saw him play in person, and I saw him do some great things.”

Sure, Debose’s highlight film is dazzling. He has blazing speed that helps him burn defenders while taking direct snaps, hand-offs, end-arounds or running routes—all the things that make up The Percy Position.

But Debose isn’t at spring practice, and he won’t arrive until the summer. As Meyer said this week, spring ball is the time to determine who’ll see playing time, and there’s a host of talented athletes already in place trying to fill Harvin’s shoes.

Receiver David Nelson said it’ll take several players to make up for the loss of Harvin, and at least for next season, that’ll be true.

Running backs Jeffery Demps, Chris Rainey and Emmanuel Moody can take most of the rushing load, along with quarterback Tim Tebow. Receiver Deonte Thompson is chomping at the bit to take over a more versatile role, and a big group of wideouts is trying to earn more catches.

There’s only so much pigskin to go around, and Debose doesn’t have the luxury of going through spring practice to learn the offense and adjust to the speed of the college game—two things that Harvin said he struggled with early on.

Receivers coach Billy Gonzales is a little less caught up in the hype, and he knows Debose has a lot of work to do before he’ll be getting carries and catches in crunch time.

“I don’t know what I can depend on right now because I haven’t had a chance to work with him and he hasn’t been here,” Gonzales said. “Our expectations are really high, but they’re reasonable. It’s hard to come into any offense and have an impact as a freshman.”

Keep in mind that in his freshman year, Harvin wasn't really even Harvin yet. He was more of a side show than the main act for most of the year. He showed flashes of brilliance here and there, but it took 10 games before he got 10 touches in a contest.Percy Posterizes Dallas Baker

From then on, he was a focal point in the offense. He was the MVP of the Southeastern Conference Championship and the leading receiver in the BCS title game. In his sophomore and junior seasons, the offense revolved around him, and things seemed slightly out of whack when he wasn’t around (see 2008 SEC Championship).

But all of that took time, and Debose will need at least the same grace period.

“I definitely would say he’ll come in and contribute, but I don’t know if he’ll be able to come in and be the man right away,” Harvin said. “I think between him, Rainey, Demps and David Nelson, they’ll get the job done. But to put all that pressure on one person is hard.”

And Debose will join the team this summer with a level of hype that Harvin didn’t even have to face.

When Harvin signed with UF in 2006, he had Tebow in his recruiting class, which took a lot of pressure off. Debose—easily the best offensive player in the Gators’ 2009 class—won’t have that luxury.

What’s more, there’s a mold for Debose to fit into. Harvin arrived as a talented athlete, but it was hard to know what to expect. He carved out a position in Meyer’s offense, and now Debose has to live up to it.

That’s a notion that the 6-foot, 176-pounder isn't happy with, as he said on signing day that he doesn’t want to be compared to anyone else. Like it or not, he’ll be measured by the Harvin yardstick throughout his career, and it’s clear that there are some differences.

They’re both very versatile receivers, but Debose doesn’t have the same tools as Harvin.

“I think Percy Harvin is more of a guy who makes people miss in open space because he has that wiggle,” Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barton Simmons said. “Debose is more of a one-cut, outrun-you type of guy. He’s very efficient in his movements as far as outrunning people to the sideline or up the middle. That’s what he excels at, more than making people miss in space. Not that he can’t do that, but that’s more of Harvin’s specialty than Debose’s.”

Essentially, Debose is more like a taller version of Demps than Harvin, Jr. He uses his straight-line speed more than the lightning-quick dance moves that Harvin utilized to embarrass defenders.

None of this is to say that Debose isn’t an electrifying receiver. In his senior season, he rushed for 1,332 yards and 12 touchdowns, caught 27 passes for 664 yards and six scores, threw for 353 yards and four TDs and also returned kickoffs and punts. He also made the winning TD catch in the 6-A State Championship against Miami Northwestern, scoring three times total in the game. (Click here for highlights, his first score is around 2:40, and his game-winner is near the 5-minute mark).

He has the talent to be a huge asset for Florida, but to expect him to fill in for one of college football’s best players right away is very far off base. If Debose is going to be like Harvin this season, he’ll be like the freshman Harvin, not the one who served as the lynchpin for UF’s dynamic attack for two years.

“I think he can come in and help them in the fall for sure, but to think he’ll be the centerpiece of that offense is a little tough to say,” Simmons said. “He’s a pretty ridiculous athlete, and all that’s going to come through. He’ll have a big play here or there, but I don’t think he’ll be an impact player until mid-season at the least.”

What are your thoughts? Will Debose be a playmaker from Day 1, show flashes of his talent, be a bust, or land somewhere in between? How important is his performance to Florida's national title hopes?

Comments

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I know one thing: Mike McCall was a playmaker from Day One.

-jo-

Huge post McCall. Is there anything about this post that doesn't make Gator fans salivate?

When this kid committed at the Under Armour game he showed class and humility. That was refreshing in this day of kids mocking universities with their hat antics. He's definitely the class of the Seminole trio.

He does look like he needs to bulk up to a bit. I see him listed at 170. I wonder what his present weight is? Florida's spread creates mismatches that will likely create some opportunities that he wouldn't see on other teams. I say he makes some small contributions almost immediately.

With debose on offense and Jelani Jenkins on defense, this class is stellar.


Let me start by saying that was a great piece.

I think the "Percy position" is less important than Meyer made it out to be during recruiting. One of the reasons Harvin excelled even more last year than the previous two seasons is because he had guys like Demps and Rainey to help shoulder the running load. Even though he had games where he carried it as much as an RB would, for the most part, Percy was the No. 1 receiver...or at least he was supposed to be.

As our players change and the offense evolves, I think it will be more about getting guys who can do some things the way Percy did them rather than finding ONE guy who can do them all. You might have one guy who can play that way out of the backfield, another who can go over the middle in the slot, etc. And I think this season is going to be the paradigm of that concept...that multiple guys will be able to fill in for what one guy did. While none of them individually are as dynamic as Percy (and we will be lucky if we EVER find someone that can play like he did here), as a collective they have a chance to do exactly that.

I believe somewhere in this country there are high schools running an offense called A-11 where, depending on formation, every player that is placed on the field has the ability to be an eligible receiver. I am not saying that will happen here, of course not.

What I am saying is, looking at that concept, the Gators could end up recruiting a handful of guys who are interchangeable parts in the offense. Four guys who can all line up behind the QB, in the slot, out wide. Who can all take direct hand-offs, go over the middle, take the deep route...hell, even throw the ball if need be. Teams will constantly be on their toes because any play could be run at any time with any player in any position. Of course, I am speaking to extremes here and I am not talking about the team we will be fielding in 2009 per se, though I do believe they are going to go for a minimalized version of that concept.

Oh, and as for Debose, I think he'll be very good. Very, very good. But I do not think it is fair for anyone to ask or expect him to be the "next" Percy Harvin. (Not saying the article was implying that...other people seem to think that, though.)

Dude has officially lost his mind. He must be losing sleep.

But thanks for posting the laughs one more time.

Gee that's clever Sarasota 'cane/CLOWN...thanks for just reinforcing everyone's opinion of the average cane fan...they are at total waste and joke...hey, your foreman is calling, better close that Ibis lunch box and get back to holding that flag...cane orange I believe it is.

But I guess its the only smack you guys can do now...enjoy your dot.com/pulan bowl against some directional school that will beat you down on local cable.

To 'Canesrule et al ...

Hey, dude. Look, I really enjoy your enthusiasm for the blog and I appreciate you visiting but could you reduce the spams to a minimum, please. It's taking time away from my day to delete that stuff. Thx.

-jo-

Sorry Goody.

Gee that's clever Sarasota 'cane/CLOWN...thanks for just reinforcing everyone's opinion of the average cane fan...

Posted by: Gator34 | April 01, 2009 at 11:14 AM

Actually with few exceptions, those were all posted by Gator "fan's" on a UM blog. I was just returning them to their rightful owner(s)!

Why is it, then, that Gators fans are posting on Manny's blog more than mine?

-jo-

Why is it, then, that Gators fans are posting on Manny's blog more than mine?

-jo-

Posted by: Goody | April 01, 2009 at 11:54 AM

That's the million dollar question! Look no further than your boy 13-1 for the answer. He stops by our blog with his rants no less than 3 times a day! He also hits up the Sentinel, and the PB Post.

Goody I'm obviously not a fan of the Gator's, but I certainly admire what they are doing.

There are 3-4 Gator fan's that have ruined our blog. The absolute worst one of them is 13-1/Kehoe's Steamer/We's building depth's.

The Gator's are reigning champs, and this CLOWN spends more time on our blog than yours! I bet he is posting 20-1 on our blog vs yours. He is on some crusade to discredit everything Miami, rather than enjoy the success of the Gator's!

I think that Debose will be a great player for UF. But, it will be tough to compete with what Percy has brought has brought to the table.

Biggest difference I see at this point is physical strength. Percy is unbelievably strong for such a fast and elusive player.

I think Debose' high school playing weight was about 170 lbs. I'd like to see him close to 200 by the time his sophomore season rolls around.


Very true about our Canes blog. I don't go a day without seeing some Gators fans talking smack about the program. It is really annoying. Good for UF and Debose, I wish we would have landed all of the trio, but we will see how things work out.

If people are ruining your blog, the person who writes it should be able to (a) ban IP addresses or (b) delete posts.

Rich, I agree, Percy was REALLY strong and tough.

I think Debose is a very special talent. You guys got a good one. Whether he contributes right away, who knows. But I certainly think he's capable of following the Harvin plan...nice contributions later in his true freshman year and the center of the offense thereafter. I think his long term success at UF is only capped by the limitations of the next starter at QB after Tebow leaves.

And btw although I think he's a tad slower than Rainey and Demps I think he has more natural football ability than either of those two. He's gonna be a good one.

If people are ruining your blog, the person who writes it should be able to (a) ban IP addresses or (b) delete posts.

Posted by: Adam S. | April 01, 2009 at 12:27 PM

I agree, but there seems to be no desire from the Herald to fix the problem. Canespace was blocking his post's, but he started using a proxy to cloak his ip. They had to threaten him with legal action to get him to stop, and he finally did.

You guy's all support him by not saying or doing anything!

Why should Manny have to monitor his blog because someone from your blog is causing a problem??? I know who it is, you know who it is, so have Gibby do something about it!

Wow. So I pull up Gator Clause today, see that there are 17 comments under my Debose post and think "Great! A lot of people must have liked it and had an opinion."
Instead, it's a running discussion on banning some wack Miami fan.

Self esteem, -1

LOL. What do you want us to do, Sarasota? OK, this is the BEST I can do on the issue as a reader...

---> I, Adam S., am not in favor of Gators fans (or any fans) posting on the Canes blog simply to rail on the team rather than engage in normal conversation.

There ya go.

(And no, I don't know who it is. I actually don't think 13-1 is the same guy you think he is...but I could be wrong.)

I think another thing to remember about Percy is how ridiculously under appreciated and unrecognized he was during his three years here. If Tim Tebow was not in the same class and was not on the team at the same time as Percy, many would be talking about him as, perhaps, the best (or at least most talented) college player in Florida Gators history. The guy was a threat to score every time he touched the ball. He torched everyone from linebackers to DBs, made guys miss tackles and is leaps and bounds ahead of guys like Demps and Rainey talent-wise.

To clarify, I am not saying people don't like and appreciate Percy. Just that his popularity and impact were victims of circumstance.

"That's the million dollar question! Look no further than your boy 13-1 for the answer. He stops by our blog with his rants no less than 3 times a day! He also hits up the Sentinel, and the PB Post."

WTF?

You've lost your mind. I don't even know what a proxy is but is sounds pretty cool. Wouldn't that require a network or a mother board or a mother ship? I'm pretty wieldy with Microsoft word but beyond that my computer skills are rudimentary. Maybe I have a proxy and don't even know it? Legal action? HUH? I hate it when "legal action" is taken against ME and I don't even know about it. Please provide details of this "legal action". LEGAL ACTION?? Perplexing to say the least. Provide details.

You spammed this blog in grand fashion in the last 24 hours but now your Mister sensibility? Your senile friend canesrule spams every Gator blog. Don't drag my name into your maniacal accusations. I could care less about you or any of the posting names your referencing. Who the F is kehoe anyway? Sounds like a nice case of the kettle calling the pot black but who knows. Judging by your spam spree I'd say you're pretty confused.

Instead, it's a running discussion on banning some wack Miami fan.

Self esteem, -1

Posted by: Mike Mike | April 01, 2009 at 01:05 PM

Actually it's a wack Gator fan Mike Mike.

By canesrule 9 'ships
April 1, 2009 10:26 AM | Link to this
This poor girl has been through the wringer. Date rapes with the alcohol abuse and drug abuse that go on at FU in Trailerville are not uncommon. The girl hasn’t been caught in any lies....

Surfed by the Ben Volin's blog a few minutes ago to find this standard post from the guy who re-defines misinformation.

Sarasota, when you get a break from imagining that I'm out to get you, please comment on the post from the guy above. I"m sure you're familiar with him. When you run a slander campaign like the weirdo above does, it's completely unconscionable. Again, comment on THAT guy. And don't forget to throw in some details on the "legal action" that I've apparently been subject to.

Legal action was threatened, harrassing post's stopped cold. I saw the exchanges with you (kehoe) and 86cane on canespace.

I don't know canesrule, but the negative posts I've seen of his, are ALWAYS a reaction to yours. I NEVER come on here unless it gets so out of hand that something has to be said.

According to an IP address search of the people post comments on this blog, they are who they say they are. "Lift" is not posting under different handles on this blog.

-jo-

Adam, I agree with you 100%. I think Harvin has been under-acknowledged as much as Tebow has been over-hyped.

Not to take away from Tebow because he's been great but in my mind, what made UF's offense so special the past two years was Harvin's ability, when healthy, to hurt opponents from anywhere on the field and in any way.

Tebow plays a more high-profile position and he has been legitimately one of the best at his position in the country the past two years, so I can understand the hype, but its a shame that it overshadowed Harvin's significance to the offense.

Tebow took over in fourth quarter of the Alabama game.

-jo-

According to an IP address search of the people post comments on this blog, they are who they say they are. "Lift" is not posting under different handles on this blog.

-jo-

Posted by: Goody | April 01, 2009 at 02:18 PM

Thanks for the effort Gibby, but the issue does not occur on your blog. If it was that easy for you to get the ip addresses of everyone on your blog, then why can't you find out the ip addresses of everyone causing trouble on ours?

It sounds to me like the entire issue will go away once this is accomplished.

I do appreciate your effort.

Just like we told the Oklahoma fans sitting in front of us at the game: It is all about the Gators.

Dubose may end up being a good player, but right now he has quite a bit to go. Hopefully they put a pink jersey on him during his first couple months of practices, because the "old" boys will welcome him to UF

Canespace? Your kidding right? Seriously you've lost your mind. AGAIN, provide some details beyond making an abusrd comment. You won't be providing details because THERE AREN'T ANY DETAILS ! You must be referring to when I was posting there with a "proxy" ...whatever that is. I'd also like to use my "proxy" to inform you that, much like canesrule, you are insane.

Sorry to burst your denial bubble, but that lying degenerate doesn't need me to dream up his daily slander. But you believe what makes you happy in your one-eyed world. His hate for anything UF is beyond description. Smack is one thing but the flat out lies he fabricates daily are nothing short of bizarre.

Talk to Manny.

-jo-

...And Harvin had 170 total yards and a TD in the national championship game.

Hype as in not as good as people think or hype as in the media s uck job that ESPiN does on him?

Big difference.

It sounds to me like your implying that he's just not that good. I would call that absolutely absurd Ricky. He's beyond "one of the best." He IS THE BEST. And I hope this blog doesn't quickly turn into a "how good really IS tebow?" We could spend all afternoon debating it. I will just say that he will go down as the greatest college football QB ever when all is said and done.

Now if you want to say the media needs to get off his jock thats another story. But that isn't "hype." They tell they truth about what an amazing individual he is. I'd personally like to see them cover other guys more. Tebow fatigue can result otherwise. He'll certainly go down in Gator history with the best ever tag.

Please define your precise definition of hype Ricky as I see that word thrown around very loosely.

Talk to Manny.

-jo-

Posted by: Goody | April 01, 2009 at 02:34 PM

I wish, for whatever reason there does not seem to be anyone there who wants to root out the 13-1's/Kehoe's of the world.

Hit the road you "clown." Go cry to people who are actually interested in your delusional accusations.

AGAIN, provide details about this alleged "legal action." Or better yet, go self-commiserate with your brethren over at canespace. Your nothing short of a disease around here with your spamming spree and mindless accusations.

Beat it chump.


Ricky, looks like we’re two of the few actually on-topic for once! LOL!
I agree that Tebow has been over-hyped to some extent...but...was it really that much "over-hype?" I watch Sportscenter every day and read a lot of Web sites...and I seem to remember Bradford and McCoy getting significantly more hype last year than Tebow. It was all about how McCoy was his whole team and how Bradford was breaking every record while running the "best offense in college football history." That is in quotes because it is blatantly false"
I think it was less "over-hype” RE: Tebow and more of an **over-emphasis.** Emotionally and physically on the field he was the leader, of course. But one could certainly make an argument that he was not the most talented player on the field. That would be Harvin. And that is why I feel he was over-looked and under-acknowledged. Is that fair for us to agree on?

jo, yes, Tebow took over the Alabama game. Nobody is diminishing anything he did in the least. We’re simply saying that one guy equally or more talented to Tebow was overlooked because of the man’s presence and character.

13-1, not sure why you just went off on Ricky...? I think you read into his statement a lot more than it said.

Hype, as in the ESPN love affair, not how good he is.

He is a great college QB and is ONE of the best (you gotta give Colt and Bradford some love too) in college football right now.

I said he was great in my earlier posts, so I don't see how I'm implying that he's not good.

I buy that he's an amazing individual. I like him personally. Its just that his personality and leadership made people forget how special of an athlete Harvin was.

One of the several things that made[makes] Percy so great was his performance in the Big Games.

He seemed to always have his best performances on the big games. A great ability for a player.

As for Andre. Just from what I've seen of his film he appears to have great field speed. He might not have the fastest track speed, but he does not get caught behind on the field.

13-1, I meant over-hype, as in the media love affair, more in 2007 than in 2008, not his actual play. I think he was great and I mentioned that in an earlier posts. Not sure where you got that I thought he wasn't that good.

Adam, couldn't agree more when you say "Emotionally and physically on the field he was the leader, of course. But one could certainly make an argument that he was not the most talented player on the field. That would be Harvin."

Tebow's leadership and personality caused those covering UF to focus on him constantly, not giving enough attention to Harvin's obvious talent.

Sorry for the re-port in some of my points, I didn't think my last post actually went through.

hype - a deception carried out for the sake of publicity- promote or publicize intensively often exaggerating it's importance or benefit.

I don't think I really went off on the guy. I would like to know what his definition of hype is though. I don't ever see that word in a positive light.

Cool Ricky, I see you responded. So you are talking about the media suck up not his skills. I can certainly understand when CFB fans feel Tebow fatigue. You can't turn on SC without seeing him. That said, the guy really is all that and a bag of chips so aside from the coverage being almost 24/7, I don't really see it as hype. I guess the media latches onto him like that because he really is a once in a lifetime individual.

Well I don't think any of us consider hype to include the "deception" part of the definition. Again, I believe ESPN had more of a love affair with Sam and Colt (for on the field efforts) than they did Tebow (coverage was mostly him as a human being). You have to remember how they were touting those guys. I'm not coming down on their abilities, they're very good QBs, but they were getting more attention than the reigning Heisman Trophy winner who was leading his team to a one-loss season.

We all saw how exposed Big 12 defenses were during the bowl season...Bradford is the definition of over-hyped. Never deserved that Heisman either. But that's just me getting off on a tangent.

Ricky, you and I see to agree on this issue. The best and most correct statment to make is: "Percy Harvin's contributions were overlooked due to the emphasis placed on Tim Tebow."

Okay Adam, I'll disregard the Webster's Dictionary in the future. LOL

I think the incessant use of that word has led to people disregding the actual meaning of it. Not that you have done that Adam. (wink)

I've always chafed at the way that word gets thrown around. Maybe I'm just an old guy who doesn't relate to its place in the vernacular of a younger crowd.

I have always thought you place a little more emphasis on correct usage than most Adam.

In the words of my 15 year old stepson, I'll chillax with the entire hype discussion as it has been beaten to a pulp.


I wasn't coming down on you, 13-1. I was just saying that it was my *belief* that the GENERAL usage of the word by MOST people in the world is not for the purpose of deception.

The commonly held belief/definition of the word is: "1. Excessive publicity and the ensuing commotion:" It is the 4th definition on most sites that is "4. Something deliberately misleading; a deception:"

I don't think the media is deliberately misleading the public by "hyping" Tebow...but I do think he receives "excessive publicity" for his character.

I'm not sure what Debose will be able to contribute this year but I do want to refresh people's memory about Percy's freshman season.

First of all, Percy didn't arrive at Florida at 202 pounds and he wasn't nearly as strong as the guy who is getting drafted this season. Harvin got there by lots and lots of work in the weight room over his 3 years at Florida. He, like Debose, didn't arrive until fall. Meyer deserves tremendous credit for finding ways to get Percy the ball as a freshman even though he was still learning how to be a receiver. Meyer found ways to utilize Percy's amazing natural talents.

In some ways, Debose is a more polished receiver than Percy as a freshman. There seems to be little doubt he's a real talent. It's unfair to expect the same level of contributions as a true freshman but on the other hand, there's a real possibility that he can add a lot to Florida this fall. We'll just have to wait and see what he can do on the field. If he can get it done, there is a good chance Meyer will find a way to utilize his talents...just like he did a skinny freshman named Harvin.

I agree Gatormann...Debose is a more polished WR coming out of HS than Percy was.

Didn't Percy also weigh 170 when he arrived? AD is listed at 170 on the recruiting sites but I wonder if he has gained weight knowing what lies ahead?

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