College did not go as easily as redshirt senior wide receiver Andre Debose had originally planned. Not only has Debose dealt with two season-long injuries and struggled at times with dedication to his craft, he has seen four offensive coordinators and six position coaches during his time with the Florida Gators.
He received rave reviews from head coach Will Muschamp prior to the 2013 season. Muschamp complimented his renewed dedication and improved production during the offseason, but Debose was unable to prove he had turned things around after tearing his ACL before the season even began.
Even now, fully cleared to practice and once again doing well according to his coaches, Debose is still in the rehabilitation process and has missed some time as of late.
“I’m just working on some strength in my left leg. I feel like it’s not as strong as my right leg, so I’m working on the individual muscles,” he explained.
“It was precautionary. I had some swelling, but Coach Muschamp told me he was going to be monitoring me a lot and anything I felt concerned about, he was going to take control over and just cut me off so I can get control over the swelling a little bit. It wasn’t anything serious.”
Though Debose feels he still has “some room to improve” with his explosiveness, he is a sight for sore eyes for Florida both on offense and special teams.
His four kickoff return touchdowns are not only a UF record but also tie him for a career mark among Southeastern Conference players. He is well-aware that he has the opportunity to break that record this season and be alone at the top in SEC history.
“It’s definitely something that comes across my mind. But I mean, it’s not something I’m thinking about every day like, ‘I must get another return.’ I’m trying to score every time I get the ball,” Debose said.
“I definitely hope it happens fast, early in the season, so I can get that out of the way. But it’s something I think about sometimes. It will mean a lot to me being that I made history and I can brag and say I’m the best in the SEC to do it. It’s something that I’m looking forward to, and I hope I accomplish it.”
Though Debose has spent more than his fair share of time wearing the Orange and Blue, he does not look at his long college career as time wasted not being in the NFL. He has been able to get his degree, learn a ton and mature where he otherwise may not have had he been in school just three years as originally planned.
“I definitely would have never imaged being here six years. It’s kind of a blessing in disguise,” he said. “I just graduated and I’m just enjoying it, man. Gainesville’s a great place. I’m not in any hurry to get out of here.”
RELATED (2013): It’s now or never for Florida WR Andre Debose
Photo Credit: The Gainesville Sun