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Florida lacks receiver depth ahead of rivalry game against FSU

The Florida Gators are once again struggling with depth issues ahead of their final game of the 2022 regular season against Florida State.

After restarting wide receiver Justin Shorter for the Vanderbilt game a week ago, No. 4 finds himself back on injury reports this week. He’s also not the only launch receiver listed as “out” this week. Team No. 2 Xavier Henderson will not play the Seminoles and seed receiver Ricky Pearsall is “questionable” after missing most of last week’s game.

Pearsall suffered an upper-body injury against the Commodores but Billy Napier expects he’ll be ready on Friday. Ja’Quavion Fraziars, Marcus Burke and Thai Chiaokhiao-Bowman will also not be available.

Replacing Shorter and Henderson are redshirt rookie Daejon Reynolds and true rookie Caleb Douglas. Reynolds had a breakout game against Vanderbilt last week and led the team for 165 yards and two touchdowns on eight catches. He dropped just one pass and made up for it with his second result two games later.

Douglas got the start against South Carolina and made three catches for 53 yards. He has appeared in six games so far this season and has two touchdowns this year.

Tight end Keon Zipperer is still grappling with a lower body injury that has left him questionable and down to third on the depth chart. If he’s fully healthy, Zipperer could get some of his snaps back, but there doesn’t seem to be much optimism he’ll be ready to go. Dante Zanders and Jonathan Odom should be the two key tight ends in Florida this week. True freshman Arlis Boardingham is also listed on the depth chart for the first time after struggling with an injury for most of the year.

Florida has fewer depth problems defensively. Safety Rashad Torrence II is listed as a starter this week but he suffered an injury during the Vanderbilt game that could limit him. Florida’s other starting security, Trey Dean, said the team would be fine if either a true freshman, Kamari Wilson or Miguel Mitchell, had to step up in place of Torrence.

Finally, linebackers Derek Wingo and Shemar James are expected to see the field a little more, with Ventrell Miller likely missing the first half of the game after being disqualified for targeting Vanderbilt.

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