Make us your home page

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

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

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

  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars


    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half



    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.
  3. Rays journal: Archer has strong outing, with two mistakes

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Two pitches RHP Chris Archer didn't execute are the ones that stood out Thursday as Josh Donaldson hit them out of the park. But the two solo home runs aside, Archer turned in a sterling outing that went atop the pile of good pitching the Rays keep wasting.

    Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) works during the first inning. [Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP]
  4. Tim Tebow continues wowing fans as he wraps up bay area games


    CLEARWATER — Tracey Fritzinger has seen Tim Tebow play baseball a few times this year. The 40-year-old St. Petersburg resident went to two of his games against the Tampa Yankees, along with Joy, her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow, middle, hangs out in the dugout during Thursday night’s game against the Clearwater Threshers at Spectrum Field, the last of St. Lucie’s eight-day trip to the Tampa Bay area.
  5. Rays vs. Mariners, 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    7:10, Tropicana Field

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

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.