Wednesday I wrote about all the tumultuous events of the summer that have surrounded the Florida Gators. And just when it appeared we had turned a corner and moved on to greener pastures, news broke that redshirt senior wide receiver Andre Debose would miss the season with a torn ACL he suffered in a non-contact drill.
It’s a tough break for Debose, who never lived up to the Percy Harvin comparisons he drew early in his Florida career, but appeared to be turning a corner ready to take on a bigger role in his final season.
“I know that Andre is disappointed,” head coach Will Muschamp said Wednesday. “He had been doing very well in camp and we were more than pleased with his effort and attitude. It is unfortunate and you feel bad anytime that someone is injured, and the coaching staff and our team will be very supportive in assisting Andre during his recovery.”
Either way, Debose will certainly be missed in 2013. Although his career numbers at wide receiver are not eye-popping (29 catches, 543 yards and four touchdowns) he was battling for a starting spot entering fall camp and given his speed and athletic ability he would have found his way onto the field in some capacity.
However, where Debose’s presence will be sorely missed is on special teams. He has a school-record four-career kickoff return touchdowns, which is also tied for the SEC record. He also holds the school record for kickoff return average with an average of 27.4 yards per return, which ranks second in SEC history. He was a threat to take it to the house any time he touched the ball.
But Debose was not the only Gator to go down with a torn ACL this week. Freshman linebacker Matt Rolin suffered a similar fate to Debose, also in a non-contact drill. This is the second time Rolin has torn his ACL, having suffered the same injury last November while in high school.
A four-star prospect, Rolin was expected to see plenty of action for the Gators this season. The team lost Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins to the NFL and is need of some depth at the position.
“A guy that was making tremendous progress for us,” Muschamp said of Rolin. “A guy that was going to play for us this year, was going to be on special teams and be a backup SAM linebacker. He’s still got a tremendous future at the University of Florida and will be a really good football player.”
Hopefully both of these players can come back next year and get the chance to live up to their enormous potential.