Gators sophomore cornerback and special teams ace Loucheiz Purifoy made as many big plays as any player in 2012.
Coaches want to see if Purifoy can bring the same kind of playmaking ability to the offense this spring as a full-time wide receiver.
Following his signing day press conference, coach Will Muschamp told Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi (@BianchiWrites) that coaches will move Purifoy from cornerback.
Purifoy will still see some time at corner, Muschamp said. But playing Purifoy at wide receiver will no longer be an experiment like it was occasionally in 2012.
Purifoy was excited to work at wide receiver some during Sugar Bowl practices.
“I feel like I’m in high school again,” he said at the time. “I love it."
Purifoy also returned kickoffs in the game, and suffered a thigh bruise on one his returns during Florida's shocking 33-23 loss to Louisville.
But Purifoy practiced primarily on defense that week.
Muschamp said Purifoy will open the spring at wide receiver. The Gators signed five wide receivers in the 2013 class following a season in which the position accounted for just seven touchdowns and Florida's passing game ranked 114th in the nation.Without Purifoy's knack for big plays, the Gators might have ended up in the Outback Bowl, not the Sugar Bowl.
Purifoy blocked a punt that led to a touchdown in the final seconds of Florida's 27-20 come-from-behind win Nov. 10 against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Gators may have won in overtime, but also might have lost to a non-BCS opponent for the first time since Memphis 1988.
Purifoy also forced a fumble on a cornerback blitz that led to a touchdown on South Carolina's first play of a 44-11 loss on Oct. 20. On Nov. 1, he blocked a field goal against Missouri.
He finished the season with 51 tackles, three forced fumbles, four pass break-ups, a blocked field goal and a blocked punt.Email Edgar Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Swamp Things blog at www.orlandosentinel.com/swampthings. Follow our UF coverage on Twitter @osgators.