Football

After months of waiting, wide receiver Justin Shorter will be immediately eligible to play for the Gators this season.

Former five-star wideout Justin Shorter will be in a Gator uniform on the sidelines for the 2020 season, he announced on his Instagram page — a huge boost for Florida’s wide receiver group

Shorter committed to Florida in late January after he spent a couple months in the NCAA Transfer Portal. Shorter chose to leave Penn State after collecting just 15 catches for 157 yards during his freshman and redshirt-freshman seasons with the Nittany Lions.

The 6-foot-4, 226-pound sophomore — who was the eighth-ranked overall prospect in the 2018 class, according to 247sports — has the physical tools to make an immediate impact for a team that lost a significant amount of depth to graduation.

Four senior wide receivers ­­ who each solidified spots on NFL rosters in Tyrie Cleveland, Josh Hammond, Van Jefferson and Freddie Swain accounted for 139 receptions, 1,871 receiving yards and 16 touchdown catches during the 2019 campaign.

Despite these important pieces missing out wide, the Gators still have a plethora of talented guys that should make up for a large amount of the lost production from a year ago.

Along with Shorter, returning senior Trevon Grimes, potential breakout candidate Jacob Copeland and four-star newcomer Xzavier Henderson all present starting quarterback Kyle Trask with capable targets beyond the line of scrimmage.

Shorter joins Miami transfer running back Lorenzo Lingard Jr. and Georgia transfer defensive end Brenton Cox Jr. as former five-stars who will play for UF in 2020.

The seven months of suspense for Shorter are over, and now Dan Mullen and company will have access to a key piece on the offensive side of the ball for a position group that lacks a substantial amount of proven production heading into the upcoming season.

Contact Evan Lepak at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @evanmplepak.

Evan Lepak is a Sports Journalism student at the University of Florida. Evan is the assistant sports editor and is currently covering UF men's basketball. He has been with the Alligator since Summer 2018.