During the offseason, Florida coach Will Muschamp called his putrid tight end group “offensive,” but the unit is poised to be a key component in UF’s offensive turnaround this fall.
Virginia transfer tight end Jake McGee, a fifth-year senior who led the Cavaliers with 43 receptions in 2013, is already making an immediate impact in Gainesville.
The 6-6, 253-pound playmaking tight end has developed an immediate chemistry with quarterback Jeff Driskel, delivering highlight catches throughout fall camp.
“He’s played a lot of football, so nothing is new to him,” UF offensive coordinator Kurt Roper said.
“This kid can run and catch. He can flat run and catch.”
Florida’s tight ends combined for just four receptions last season, but McGee is slated to be a focal point of Roper’s spread offense.
“He’s got hands out of this world,” starting tailback Kelvin Taylor said. “He’s strong. He’s just gonna add a different weapon to our offense.”
After missing three consecutive practices with a slight hamstring strain, Taylor returned to action Thursday. Florida’s top tailback worked with the first team and was not limited. However, backup tailback Matt Jones (knee swelling) remains sidelined, missing his fourth practice in a row.
Meanwhile, buck linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. wore a noncontact jersey for the first time all camp, but Florida’s menacing pass rusher is “fine,” according to coordinator D.J. Durkin.
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“He did some of practice and we held him out some,” Durkin said. “Just precautionary.”
Starting left guard Trip Thurman (shoulder), freshman cornerback Duke Dawson (shouler) and linebacker Daniel McMillian (undisclosed) all worked out in the pit and did not practice.