Florida rules out 5 WRs, including Shorter, for FSU competition
GAINESVILLE, FL. – Florida will be without five receivers, including two top targets in Anthony Richardson, when the Gators play at No. 16 Florida State on Friday night.
On Wednesday, coach Billy Napier ruled out leading receiver Xavier Henderson and second-leading receiver Justin Shorter, along with backups Ja’Quavian Fraziers, Marcus Burke and Ty Chiaokhiao-Bowman.
Ricky Pearsall has been listed as questionable, but Napier expects the Arizona State transfer to be cleared for Thursday’s game.
“We’ve been in this situation in the past,” Napier said. “Every week throughout the season, we had a couple of guys on our team that were hitting.
“It’s a great opportunity for these players and we’ve got some great stories from different times of the year. . . . The next guy, and certainly excited to watch some of these guys play.”
Caleb Douglas, Pearsall and Dejon Reynolds were listed on Florida’s weekly depth chart as projected starters. Reynolds took full advantage last week at Vanderbilt with eight catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns.
Reynolds has 11 catches for 244 yards on the season. Douglas has eight receptions for 150 yards and two scores. Pearsall caught 24 passes for 448 yards and three TDs. But there is little, if any, depth behind them.
“There’s no doubt they’re very capable,” Napier said. “The way we train, all the players on our team get a lot of opportunities during OTAs in the summer, in training camp, you know it helps you build your team so you can survive some of those situations.”
Henderson and Shorter have been Florida’s top receivers all year. Henderson has 38 catches for 410 yards and two TDs. Shorter has 29 receptions for 577 yards and two scores.
Florida did not disclose the exact nature of the injuries, saying only the upper or lower body. Both Henderson and Shorter have lower body injuries. Pearsall, Fraziars, Burke and Chiaokhiao-Bowman all have upper body issues.
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