Ja’Juan Story, We Hardly Knew You; Wide Receiver To Transfer

I hate, hate, hate (did I say hate?) when a player prematurely leaves a program. It’s probably the “what could have been” factor weighing in, but I always wish players would give it a longer go before throwing in the towel and heading elsewhere.

On the other side of that coin, certain programs or universities aren’t for everyone and a player needs to find the best situation for himself. That could be the case with wide receiver Ja’Juan Story who has announced his intention to transfer.

Story leaves the Florida Gators after spending one year in the program. He redshirted during the 2011 season – the first one for both him and head coach Will Muschamp – but has decided he wasn’t going to stick around for a second.

I have to admit, Story seemed to be forgotten before he was even gone. Rarely mentioned in any discussions of the position, he was looked over in favor of incoming freshmen or those still tooling around in the high school ranks. That’s not necessarily a knock on his potential, but it wasn’t clear that he would have made any strides up the depth chart in 2012.

Best of luck Ja’Juan. We’ll always have this.

Florida Gators Wide Receivers – 2010 vs. 2011

Part three in a series where One Eyed Willy and I go over the Florida roster differences position by position from this season to last and what to expect in 2011. Check out the quarterbacks here and the running backs here.
2010: Carl Moore – RSR, Justin Williams – RSR, Chris Rainey – RJR, Deonte Thompson – RJR, Frankie Hammond – RSO, Omarius Hines – RSO, Josh Postell – RSO, Stephen Alli – RFR, Andre Debose – RFR, Robert Clark – FR, Quinton Dunbar – FR, Chris Dunkley – FR, Solomon Patton – FR
Preseason Rating: B
Postseason Rating: D
Going into the 2010 season, you would have been excited to see what this unit could do. You had a senior that was a highly-touted recruit coming out of junior college, a junior moving into the role of receiver in hopes of sparking a Percy Harvin-like transformation, two sophomores who would get a chance to really make a difference, and five freshman – all of which brought something special to the game.
13 games later you would have let out a sigh and looked forward to the 2011. We will go ahead and run through the numbers:
12 – The total number of passing touchdowns.
9 – The number caught by wide receivers.
1 – Wide receivers with more than 27 receptions.
38 – The number of receptions Deonte Thompson had to lead the team.
1 – Wide receivers with more than 349 yards on the season.
570 – The numbers of yards Thompson had to lead the team.
10 – Receptions on the season for all-world prospect Andre Debose.
5 – The number of games “slash” player Chris Rainey missed due to…well…you know.
3 – The number of wide receivers that appeared in every game.
51 – The longest reception on the season.
15.0 – Highest yards per catch average on the team by, you guessed it, Thompson.
1 – 100-yard receiving games by wide receivers. It was Thompson.
And just for fun:
40 – The number of receptions Harvin had in 2008 to lead the team. We will give the wide receivers a pass that season though. After all, they were part of a national championship team.
2003 – The last year a Florida team did not have a single pass catcher with at least 40 catches. This team was coached by Ron Zook. What does that tell you?
1989 – The last Florida team to have a leading receiver with less than the 38 receptions Thompson had in 2010. This was the last team before Steve Spurrier arrived. What does that tell you?
It all tells you 2010 was not kind to the Gators wide receivers. A great deal of it had to do with two things beyond their control: shaky play calling and inconsistent quarterback play. Still, that does not change the fact that from a group of very talented players, no one stepped up. Rainey actually set a pace that, if eligible to play in every game, would have made him the receptions leader. And that is from a player who split his time at running back.
2010 is over and that is a very good thing. This is a program that saw eight-straight seasons with at least one 1,000-yard receiver during Spurrier’s time at the helm. Since that time, there have only been two 900-yard receivers. Despite bringing two national championships to Florida, Urban Meyer never had a single receiver with over 920 yards. That could be attributed to Meyer’s desire to have a large numbers of receivers on the roster, but it also never truly allowed any one to shine. That is not such a bad thing when you are going 13-1. When you are going 8-5, it is a very different story.
2011: Deonte Thompson – RSR, Frankie Hammond – RJR, Omarius Hines – RJR, Stephen Alli – RSO, Andre Debose – RSO, Robert Clark – SO, Quinton Dunbar – SO, Solomon Patton – SO, Ja’Juan Story – FR
Preseason Rating: C
As much as I hate to give another unit a C, I just have to do it. And it is because of the promise of a Charlie Weis offense that I even give them that. There are three reasons:
1. The offense is new to the program.
2. Until we see different with our own eyes, we have to expect the same inconsistent quarterback play.
3. This unit lost three bodies completely, two more to position changes and only gained one – Ja’Juan Story.
Therefore, it is very hard to expect much out of this unit. It all hinges on the first two of those items above. How long will it take for the offense to click? And how will whichever quarterback turns out to be the right one adapt? If a passer can get the ball to the receivers more often and on longer routes, we may no longer be talking about low receptions and yardage numbers. If the Gators can consistently move the ball up and down the field, we may see one wide receiver haul in nine touchdowns, not the entire unit collectively.
There is plenty to hope for when it comes to the wide receivers, but we not seen it yet out of any on the roster. Omarius Hines had flashes, but only totaled six catches over the last five games. Thompson’s best day was against Florida’s weakest opponent – Appalachian State. Debose was rumored to have problems with the playbook and was rarely seen on offense. That cannot happen again in 2011. Thompson is the lone senior and the time is now for Frankie Hammond and Hines to no longer have just “potential.” Debose needs to become a big part of the offense and Quinton Dunbar needs to live up to the hype he generated in the spring.
The talent is there. The performance has yet to be seen. Every single member of this unit needs to step up in 2011.

Ja’Juan Story, Interview Gold

It is not every day that you find gold. Not the end of the rainbow kind, but the kind that only the best of the best can offer. Florida wide receiver Ja’Juan Story provided us with that gold on Monday because he is among the truly blessed (literally, his tattoos say so). Me trying to put into words what he gave us would do it a great injustice. You really have to check it out for yourself.

In an interview with Gator Country’s Amy Campbell, Story answered questions in a manner that was just too good to be true. Because of it we now have a new favorite player and someone we wish we could all sit down and chat with. To find out more about Story’s booty being out, how he likes vests, and, well, doodoo, read the entire interview here. If anything, Story is not afraid to answer truthfully, even if he does claim to be shy.
Check out Alligator Army for more.

Stan Drayton Could Possibly Maybe Probably Leave Florida

UPDATE: Drayton has been officially, sign on the dotted line, sworn in, absolutely named the new wide receivers coach of the Buckeyes. Don’t cry. It’ll be alright. Just read on as if it hadn’t happened quite yet.

There’s a chance former Florida running backs coach and current Florida running backs coach Stan Drayton won’t be the future Florida running backs coach.  Rumors have been swirling in only the harsh way that rumors do for the last couple of days about Drayton’s impending departure from the Gators.  Here’s what we know so far (and no, we don’t know how much of this is fact, how much of it is false, or how much of it was made up by Ballsy the college football gnome; that damn gnome gets on our nerves, sometimes we think he just talks to hear the sound of his own voice, don’t believe a word he says, don’t do it):

  • Drayton is currently the running backs coach at Florida.
  • Drayton was also formerly the running backs coach at Florida before being defeated in a mat drill by Steve Addazio after which he was asked to leave the program.
  • Drayton left Florida for oranger pastures only to return to the home he once called home.
  • Drayton doesn’t get along with Urban Meyer.
  • Drayton doesn’t get along with Will Muschamp.
  • Drayton doesn’t get along with anybody.
  • Drayton is leaving Florida again, this time for Ohio State.
  • Drayton will be coaching wide receivers at Ohio State.
  • Drayton will be coaching running backs at Ohio State.
  • Drayton will be the new recruiting coordinator at Ohio State.
  • Drayton will be the new equipment manager at Ohio State.
  • Recruits have been informed Drayton is leaving Florida.
  • Recruits were informed Drayton is leaving Florida by coaches not employed by either Florida or Ohio State.
  • Drayton won’t be leaving Florida until after National Signing Day.
  • Drayton will be with the Gators for the 2011 season.
  • Drayton won’t be with the Gators past today.
  • Drayton thinks fumbles make the man.
  • Drayton thinks recruits are pawns with emotions that are his to toy with.
  • Drayton is attempting to take Ja’Juan Story with him.
  • Drayton isn’t recruiting Story at all.
  • Drayton doesn’t know who Story is.
We know, we know.  That’s a lot to take in.  And the law of internet rumors says 8.74% of it is 50% true.  No more.  No less.  So what part do we believe?  We have no idea.  We tend to think position coaches are nothing more than that, position coaches.  They ascend the coaching ladder to be coordinators or even head coaches at times, but for the most part they are the “in one year, out the next” sort.  Nomads who roam the land looking for something better at all times.
Will Drayton be missed?  Maybe.  That depends on if he is really leaving or not.  Odds are he is.  Or probably he is.  Or possibly he is.  Who really knows except for Drayton himself, Florida, and Ohio State?  We don’t.  We are pawns ourselves.  We take what the internet offers us and digest is accordingly.  From a recruiting standpoint, losing Drayton is like losing a good limb.  Of course we also remember what a wise man once said: “isn’t everyone a ‘great’ recruiter these days?”  That could not be a truer statement.  So goodbye Stan Drayton.  Or welcome back Stan Drayton.  Or…uh…we’ll check back next week Stan Drayton.

Ja’Juan Story Commits to the Florida Gators

It’s always exciting to pull in big receivers.  While the smaller, faster guys definitely have their place in the Florida offense, it’s nice to get a few kids with size that can fight for the ball in the air as well.
Nature Coast’s (Brooksville, FL) Ja’Juan Story isn’t huge, at 6’3”, 190 pounds he’s a great addition to the Gators’ receiving corps.  Story is another one of those who impressed at camps and saw his stock start to rise.  Although only a three-star prospect now according to Rivals.com, Story has a good chance to continue to move up the ranks during his senior year.
The wide receiver (who could play defensive back…let’s hope not, he brings the Gators great size at WR) had offers from, well, pretty much everywhere.  Seriously, his list of scholarship offers is very impressive.  Story is said to have chosen Florida over FSU, Georgia, and Miami.
Story only caught 13 passes as a junior last season so coaches will look to see what more he can do during this final high school season.  He did average over 32 yards per catch, which is jaw-dropping even if it is against high school competition.  Of Story’s 13 catches, he took four for touchdowns.
Story is excited about getting to Florida and contributing for the Gators.  He didn’t envision himself making a decision this early in the process, but after meeting with coaches and seeing all Florida had to offer, he was more than comfortable to pull the trigger.