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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
<p><span id="docs-internal-guid-9f4beda0-7863-52d3-5027-b1a830901760"><span>Antonio Callaway celebrates with C'yontai Lewis during UF's 24-10 win over Georgia on Oct. 29 at EverBank Field.</span></span></p>

Antonio Callaway celebrates with C'yontai Lewis during UF's 24-10 win over Georgia on Oct. 29 at EverBank Field.

Less than six weeks remain until Florida kicks off the 2017 regular season against Michigan at AT&T Stadium. The Gators enter this year as back-to-back SEC East champions, notching 13 conference wins under coach Jim McElwain since he took over the program in 2015. As always, UF’s success on the gridiron this fall will largely depend on its roster, a group of players featuring both seasoned veterans and unestablished newcomers. Here is the position preview for players set to play wide receiver at Florida this year:

Players: Antonio Callaway (Jr.), Tyrie Cleveland (So.), Daquon Green (Fr.), Josh Hammond (So.), Kalif Jackson (R-So.), Glenn Jarriel (R-So.), Dre Massey (R-Jr.), Jacob Mesenger (R-Jr.), Charles Nordman (R-So.), Tucker Nordman (R-So.), Brandon Powell (Sr.), James Robinson (Fr.), Freddie Swain (So.), Rick Wells (R-Fr.)

The Gators’ deepest position group on this year’s roster is arguably at wide receiver.

Junior Antonio Callaway led the team last season with 721 yards and three touchdowns on 54 catches and figures to be a major focal point in the offense again this fall.

Senior Brandon Powell played in every game last year and made 11 starts, notching 387 yards and two touchdowns on 45 catches.

Sophomore Tyrie Cleveland showed his abilities as a deep threat in 2016, averaging over 21 yards per catch including a 98-yard touchdown against LSU in November.

Sophomores Josh Hammond and Freddie Swain both showed promise in their first seasons at Florida as well, combining for 295 yards and two touchdowns on 22 catches.

But they’re not the only receivers expected to contribute for the Gators this fall.

Redshirt junior Dre Massey transferred to UF last year from Holmes Community College in Goodman, Mississippi, and anticipated a big season in Gainesville. The 5-foot-9, 180-pounder is an electric athlete whom coach Jim McElwain said would “hurt” opponents in all phases of the game due to his “flat-out speed.”

However, a knee injury suffered against Massachusetts on Sept. 3 ended his first year at Florida before it even began. Now, almost 11 months later, Massey is healthy once again and ready to be a factor on both offense and special teams.

Florida also brings two freshmen into the mix who could fight for playing time this fall in four-star wideouts Daquon Green and James Robinson.

Green, standing at 6-foot-1, 187 pounds, caught 41 passes for 639 yards and nine touchdowns during his senior season at Tampa Bay Tech High School, while Robinson, standing at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, caught 26 passes for 517 yards and five touchdowns over his three seasons at Lakeland High School.

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Predicted Starters: Callaway, Cleveland, Massey

Callaway is a projected second round pick in next year’s NFL Draft and is a lock to start at Florida’s No. 1 wide receiver spot. Cleveland showed flashes of greatness in 2016 and saw his playing time increase as the season went on.

Massey has some of the best intangibles on Florida’s roster and should win the starting job in the slot. Expect Powell, Hammond and Swain to get their opportunities as well.

However, personal conduct off the field could play a major role in keeping some of these players on the sidelines.

Callaway was cited for marijuana possession in May and pled no contest to the charge earlier this month. He also admitted to being under the influence of marijuana during an alleged sexual assault in 2016. His status for the Gators season-opener against Michigan has not yet been determined.

Other receivers such as Cleveland and redshirt freshman Rick Wells have had past run-ins with the law too.

As long as Florida’s receivers avoid issues off the field in 2017, this should be one of the team’s most productive position groups on the roster.

Contact Dylan Dixon at and follow him on Twitter @dylanrdixon.

Antonio Callaway celebrates with C'yontai Lewis during UF's 24-10 win over Georgia on Oct. 29 at EverBank Field.

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