Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Purifoy may be triple threat for Florida Gators

GAINESVILLE — Florida cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy couldn't help but notice himself all over a few of the preseason college football magazines, yet he insists it's not as if he spent a lot of time searching for them.

But after a breakout season last year, Purifoy is a rising star. The news that the junior from Pensacola is positioned to become a three-way player — cornerback, receiver, special teams — just added to the hype.

But he wants Florida fans to know nothing has changed where he's concerned.

"I know a lot of people are talking about me, talking about me maybe playing both ways, but honestly I'm not even thinking about that," Purifoy said. "To me, it's really not that big of a deal. I did it in high school. I've done it since I started playing football. I know it's different when you do it in college, not too many guys do it. But I'm just taking it day by day. I'm still the same guy I've always been. I just want to be the best I can be for my team."

His best, according to coaches, is still yet to come. But what he has done so far has been quite impressive. Purifoy started 12 of 13 games at cornerback last season, played wide receiver in one game, and was a key member of the special teams unit with three forced fumbles and two blocked kicks. He finished with a career-high 51 tackles, fourth on the team.

"He's just a great player," redshirt junior cornerback Cody Riggs said. "It's no surprise he's playing all these positions and getting all this attention. He's good at them all."

Inexperience and lack of play­makers at wide receiver precipitated the experiment at that position in the spring. Purifoy didn't get as much time on offense in fall camp because coaches needed to see what some of the newcomers could do. But that doesn't mean opposing defenses don't need to prepare for the possibility of Purifoy.

"We think he still gives us a body that's an explosive threat," offensive coordinator Brent Pease said. "Any time you put the ball in his hands, he's got potential to do great things with it. He's a guy that will still figure into plans as we go along."

Purifoy, at 6 feet 1, 185 pounds, will follow in the Florida tradition of Lito Sheppard and Keiwan Ratliff — both All-SEC defensive backs who got limited time on offense. But if necessary, Florida's coaches won't hesitate to use Purifoy in the mold of former Georgia cornerback Champ Bailey, who as a junior in 1998 had seven games — six consecutive — with 100 or more snaps. His season high was 111 against Auburn.

Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said he has no doubt Purifoy could match those numbers, or at least come close, but just how many snaps Purifoy will be involved in during a game remains to be seen.

"The guy's in good condition, he can run and go all day," Durkin said. "That's one of those things you have to manage and control throughout the game. It depends on the situation and what the environment is, how hot it is and all those things. His starting position, or where he starts out, his home base is on defense at corner. We do the snaps accordingly. The thing about Loucheiz is he's a guy that, obviously, everyone needs breaks every now and then to get your wind back, but he can run all day, and he's a great competitor. He's a hard guy to keep off the field, he wants to be out there. We just have to be smart about that, and we will."

Antonya English can be reached at english@tampabay.com.

College football previews

Today: Florida

Tuesday: USF

Wednesday: Florida State

Thursday: UCF, FAU, FIU and I-AA schools

Friday: Miami

College football previews

Today: Times Top 25, 7C

Monday: Florida

Tuesday: USF

Wednesday: Florida State

Thursday: UCF, FAU, FIU and I-AA schools

Friday: Miami

UF at a glance

Coach: Will Muschamp (18-8, third season)

2012 record: 11-2, 7-1 SEC (tied for first)

Conference/division: SEC/East

Conference titles: (8) 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2006, 2008

National titles: (3) 1996, 2006, 2008

Stadium: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (88,548), Gainesville

Ticket info: Call toll-free 1-800-344-2867 or online at gatorzone.com

Radio: 620-AM

Area players: Alvin Bailey, Fr., WR, Armwood; Dante Fowler, So., DL, Lakewood; Chaz Green, R-Jr., OL, Tampa Catholic; Jon Halapio, R-Sr., OL, St. Petersburg Catholic; Vernon Hargreaves III, Fr., DB, Wharton; Joey Ivie, Fr., DL, Pasco; Matt Jones, So., RB, Armwood; Hunter Joyer, Jr. FB, Wesley Chapel/Tampa Catholic; Mike McNeely, R-Jr., WR, Palm Harbor University; Tyler Moore, R-So., OL, Countryside; Leon Orr, R-Jr., DL, Gulf; Jeremi Powell, R-Fr., LB, Pinellas Park; Jordan Sherit, Fr., DL, Hillsborough; Kent Taylor, So., TE, Land O'Lakes; Justin Vogel, R-Fr., P, Berkeley Prep.

Purifoy may be triple threat for Florida Gators 08/25/13 [Last modified: Monday, August 26, 2013 12:28am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up

    Blogs

    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Rays journal: Alex Cobb brilliant, Alex Colome worrying in 10-inning victory (w/video)

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — RHP Alex Cobb couldn't have been much better for the Rays on Tuesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning while working eight solid. And Alex Colome couldn't have been much worse, blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb carries a no-hitter into the seventh and pitches eight shutout innings in his best outing of the season.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb continues to look better and better, which could make the decision whether to trade him tougher. Cobb had a no-hitter through six and threw his biggest pitch with a 1-0 lead in the seventh, getting Josh Bell to roll into a double play.

  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park, Pittsburgh

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)