More than a Receiver?
When you hear the term ‘wide receiver,’ catching the football and making big plays is the first thing to come to mind. The position doesn’t only participate in passing plays but has an impact on the run game also. Who blocks for the runner after the ball passes the line of scrimmage? You guessed it. The wide receivers.
Once the receiver realizes the play is going away from them, it is their responsibility to turn into a blocker and possibly spring a runner into open field. Smaller receivers attempt to slow down bigger defenders with chip blocks or just getting in the defender’s path.
Boasting a 6’5″ 228 pound frame, Gator wide receiver Justin Shorter doesn’t fit in this category as he loves imposing his physicality on the opposition. Most receivers shy away from blocking when they don’t have the ball but Shorter embraces the challenge.
Blocking doesn’t show up on the stat sheet but it does on film. Most of the time when big runs occur, there is phenomenal blocking at the next level by receivers and tight ends. Having a mobile quarterback in Emory Jones, it remains essential Gator receivers maintain their blocks because its very likely that he’ll be running up their backs following their blocks.
Shorter is much bigger than most of the defenders he faces, so he must capitalize on his advantages. Unselfish players do anything possible to ensure that their team comes out with the win and Shorter’s unselfishness has played a bigger part in the teams success than most fans might notice. Shorter encourages his running backs to run behind him as he vows to always be in position to block.
Being a force in both the running and passing game, Shorter’s versatility bodes well for his chances at more playing time. Coaches appreciate players who will sacrifice their personal numbers to do what the team needs.
The Florida Gators will travel to Kentucky where they will face the Wildcats in an SEC clash on Saturday. Shorter, coming off a three reception, 54 yard performance against Tennessee, will look to add to his totals through the air.
But also expect to see a ton of blocks from Shorter, as he hopes to spring a few runners free on their way to a big win.