Florida WR Tyrie Cleveland out vs. LSU: What will the Gators do?

By Adam Silverstein
October 2, 2017
Florida WR Tyrie Cleveland out vs. LSU: What will the Gators do?

Image Credit: ESPN

As if the Florida Gators were not down enough players due to suspension and injury, the program added another big name to its list of walking wounded on Saturday as sophomore wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland suffered two injuries in the game. The latter ailment, a high-ankle sprain that occurred in the fourth quarter last Saturday against Vanderbilt, will keep him out for homecoming against the LSU Tigers.

Head coach Jim McElwain revealed Monday that Cleveland remains in a boot and is expected to miss the next game. High-ankle sprains often keep players out of action for 2-4 weeks. Cleveland also injured the big toe on his left foot in UF’s 38-24 win, though he returned to the game after being attended to on the sideline.

Florida’s lone true deep threat, Cleveland has stepped up massively while junior WR Antonio Callaway has been serving an indefinite suspension. Cleveland has 15 receptions for 326 yards and two touchdowns on the season with more than 67 yards in each game and four catches of 45 yards or longer in the last three games.

The rest of the Gators’ pass catchers have managed a combined 525 yards on 51 receptions. Only freshman Kadarius Toney has double-digit catches (11) and triple-digit yards (107), and most of his plays begin behind the line of scrimmage on screen passes. No one else on the team has a reception of longer than 34 yards on the year and only two players have caught passes longer than 30 yards.

Freshman WR Daquon Green is listed behind Cleveland as the No. 2 receiver at the Z position; he has not caught a pass this season. It is likely that Florida moves sophomore Freddie Swain from No. 2 behind sophomore Josh Hammond at the X position over in Cleveland’s place.

Toney, redshirt senior Brandon Powell and the Gators’ three tight ends — senior DeAndre Goolsby and redshirt juniors C’yontai Lewis and Moral Stephens — should see elevated roles. They have combined for 109 yards on nine receptions this season.

Cleveland joins redshirt junior quarterback Luke Del Rio, who suffered a season-ending broken collarbone against Vandy, as two of last week’s starters out for LSU. Freshman defensive tackle Kyree Cleveland, who has played as a reserve up front, is getting his knee looked at this week and is also expected to miss the game.

Florida had spent the last two weeks without sophomore linebacker Kylan Johnson, though he returned to a thin unit on Saturday. The Gators have been hobbled all season with three starters sidelined including redshirt senior Marcell Harris, who ruptured his Achilles in fall practice, as well Callaway and junior running back Jordan Scarlett, two of nine players indefinitely suspended from the team for credit card fraud.


  1. Texas Nick says:

    Where in the world is Dre Massey in all of this? I thought he was the playmaker in camp last year before season ending injury.

  2. Sydney Croud says:

    What about James Robinson? Is there any update, I thought they got the results back from the specialist last week

  3. Michael Jones says:

    I like our receiving corps. Cleveland has obviously proven to be special, but I like the others too. I think we’ll be alright.

  4. G2 says:

    Good thing we have a ton of receivers this year, looks like we’ll need them all. Would be a nice surprise to get some of the suspended players back for LSU but sure that’s not happening.
    Injuries and suspensions killing us.

  5. 1974Gator says:

    The real problem is that w/o Cleveland the LSU DBs can cheat up, keeping more in front of them and be able to provide more run stopping support. As I think Adam was saying, we don’t seem to have anyone else who can be respected as a deep threat and keep the safeties honest. If we can get some kind of reliable passing attack working then we should be able to run when LSU’s D-line has to respect the pass threat and the safeties aren’t crashing. Being able to run should make the difference. As I watch our DBs and see how thin we are in experience and watch our LBs having depth problems, it becomes more apparent that we will have to expect our offense to be the difference makers the rest of our season. We have to let the defense get reasonable amounts of rest and we need Nussmeier to start calling plays like he’s channeling the OBC from this point on.

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