GAINESVILLE, Fla. — New Florida tight ends coach Larry Scott first began coaching the position at USF in 2007.
Just up the road in Gainesville, the Gators boasted one of the nation’s top tight ends in Cornelius Ingram and had another highly touted freshman at the position — Aaron Hernandez. He would go on to win the John Mackey Award in 2009 after leading the nation in receiving yards (850) among tight ends.
Save for Jordan Reed in 2012, Florida has not gotten meaningful production from that position since the Urban Meyer era. New Gators coach Dan Mullen wants that to change during his tenure.
“Obviously throughout his career and what he did at Mississippi State, the philosophy is, tight ends are going to have an active role in the offense,” Scott said. “We’re neck and neck and totally agree on that philosophy. He loves the use of a tight end. I like the fact – love the fact – that he loves the use of a tight end, which puts more on my plate and more on my job to make sure we’re recruiting the right guys, and then when we recruit them, that we develop them, get them ready to go play and compete at a high level – a championship level.”
When Scott interviewed for the job earlier this month in Gainesville, he said Mullen made it clear to him that the tight end position needed to improve. Not only on the stat sheet, but in the recruitment and development of the players.
“You always knew in his game-plan process … the tight ends are a big part of it,” Scott said. “Then when you sit down and talk to him, the importance that he stressed at that position, from a recruiting standpoint and from a developing role in the offense, it’s pretty important. Not only was it the conversation. The proof’s in the pudding. That’s what we do here.”
Scott inherits a stacked depth chart and a couple of veterans in C’ytoni Lewis and Moral Stephens, but they have 456 career receiving yards combined. Kemore Gamble was expected to make an immediate impact last year as a freshman, but redshirted after suffering a foot injury in preseason camp.
The Gators also have incoming freshmen Dante Lang and Kyle Pitts, who was ranked the nation’s No. 5 tight end in the Class of 2018.
“It’s going to be fun to watch. Got a long way to go,” Scott said of his position group. “They’re working hard. They’re understanding. They’re being pushed in different areas they haven’t necessarily been pushed in before. We’ll continue to see how that progresses, but they’ll get there.”
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