Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 8/3/12
GAINESVILLE, Fla. The trophy rests in the living room of his apartment. Gators receiver Andre Debose glances at it often, a reminder of what can be. I can see it every day, he said. Debose was named Gator Bowl MVP on New Years Day in Floridas 24-17 win over Ohio State. He earned the award for a 99-yard kickoff return that gave the Gators the lead for good in a game they had to win to avoid their first losing season in more than 30 years. Over the past two seasons Debose has made his mark for the Gators on special teams. The kickoff return against the Buckeyes was the third of his career, setting a new school record. Debose has also shown flashes of being a big-play receiver, hauling in scores of 80 and 65 yards last season. Still, he envisions what can be. He knows there has to be more for him to be the player Florida fans heck, nearly every major school in the country drooled over coming out of Seminole High in Sanford. Since that big day in Jacksonville, Debose has tried to tap into other ways he can help the Gators as they try to return to the top of the SEC. He knows whats at the top of the list. This whole summer I have tried to put in my mind to be a great wide receiver, Debose said. I know that the return game is there for me, but I really just made it my business to dedicate myself and be a better receiver and work with the quarterbacks as much I could. We spent a lot of time together over the summer just working on little things. Those little things could make a huge difference for the Gators. No one has ever questioned Deboses blazing speed or his ability to make a big play down field. What has prevented him from developing into a go-to receiver is consistency. Some days maybe he isnt crisp in his route running. Other days maybe he is not getting by a defender the way he can. Other times its a dropped ball here and there. Deboses adjustment to college was an eye opener. He is often the fastest player on the field, but that doesnt mean he is always open. If a defensive back pressed him at the line of scrimmage two years ago, Debose was often beaten before the play started. A couple of years back I would panic and not be able to get off the line, Debose said. Im a lot more comfortable with what it takes to play wide receiver. He spent much of the summer working with quarterbacks Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brisset on timing and getting used to each other in the passing game. While Debose led the Gators last season with 432 receiving yards, he caught only 16 passes, barely more than one a game. With new offensive coordinator Brent Pease calling the plays, Debose worked overtime to make sure his number is called more than it has been in the past. When I watch the Boise film I see all those shots they take down the field, Debose said. He loves to air the ball out. Thats what Im really looking forward to. I feel like the more opportunities I have with the ball, the more touchdowns Im going to get. Thats all Ive been asking for just opportunities with the ball. I feel like I can do something special with the ball every time I have it. Driskel is a believer. He is definitely a vertical threat at any time, Driskel said. He can get behind coverage and make the quarterback look good. I like to see No. 4 running down the field. Other than whether Driskel or Brissett will be the teams starting quarterback, the biggest question mark facing the Gators is who will be their primary target. Debose, a 5-foot-11, 186-pound redshirt junior, is a leading candidate. Florida cornerback Cody Riggs goes against Debose in practice and sees the potential for Debose to be that guy. Debose is the most explosive player I have played against at receiver, Riggs said. He can jump out of the gym. He is one of the fastest people Ive ever met. He has incredible hands. He is going to be a really good player. Senior receiver Frankie Hammond Jr. is also in the mix for a more prominent role in the passing game. He has studied Peases playbook extensively with Debose and witnessed firsthand a renewed drive from Debose to live up to the lofty expectations. He is making tremendous strides, Hammond said. He already has the talent and the speed to get by guys, so now its all about fine-tuning things and getting into the details of the new playbook. When asked what he can do to have a breakout season, Debose goes back to the little things. Running routes better. Finding holes in coverage. Better timing with the quarterbacks. The kind of stuff coaches constantly tell him. I know I can run with most of the people around, and I know I can catch the ball, but its trying to get open, he said. Thats the thing Im working on the most. A lot of people have been expecting a lot of things out of me on a consistent basis and I just take that and run with it, he said. It must makes me want to perform each and every Saturday and show the world what I can do. He has a trophy to remind him every day.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The 22 most iconic college football traditions
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Raiders G Kelechi Osemele out Thursday with illness

Red Sox send Brewers $100 as final piece of Tyler Thornburg deal

Troy Aikman almost came out of retirement to play for the Eagles

Blues miss morning skate due to traffic in Brooklyn

Willie Taggart just savaged Brady Hoke during his first Oregon press conference

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Carmelo blows off Jackson's ball hog remarks, looks 'annoyed'

Richard Sherman throws shade at Cam Newton over benching

Sandoval's career fell 'into an abyss' after getting 'complacent'

Report: NFL believes Oakland ‘has no strong desire’ to keep the Raiders

Aroldis Chapman explains why he chose to return to Yankees

Brandon Marshall: Bryce Petty used to be ‘fat and overweight’

Sporting life: Gifts for the fan who is always on point

Matt Ryan is now Mr. Pick-Two

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 3: News, notes and rumors

Four stinkiest games remaining on the 2016 NFL schedule

Ten young NBA players developing into stars

TailGreater: Tips for bowl travelers

Ranking the single-player modes of the 2017 sports games

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Box Score 12/7: The date we got to know Bo

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 2: News, notes and rumors

Ten most intriguing non-NY6 bowl games

Breaking down the NFL playoff picture heading into Week 14

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Sporting life: Gifts for the fan who is always on point

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Matt Ryan is now Mr. Pick-Two

MLB Winter Meetings report, Day 3: News, notes and rumors

TailGreater: Tips for bowl travelers

Ranking the single-player modes of the 2017 sports games

The five best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

The five must-have sports games of 2016

The five 2016 Heisman finalists: How do they measure up?

Sporting life: Gifts for real fans (that aren't ugly NFL Christmas sweaters)

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker