Florida Football: Trey Burton Could Be Special at WR, so Keep Him There

Tyler PiccottiContributor IIIAugust 28, 2013

November 17, 2012; Gainesville FL, USA; Florida Gators running back Trey Burton (8) during the first quarter against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The obvious choice for biggest bust on the Florida Gator offense in recent seasons is wide receiver Andre Debose. After all, his career reception total (29) is lower than his high school ranking of No. 30 in the ESPN 150.

Not exactly what you would call productive.

But another Gator skill player has been a disappointment in his own right: Trey Burton.

Even though it's not entirely his fault, Burton's production has continuously dipped during his Gator career.

The most telling stat? Burton had seven touchdowns in his first four games as a freshman in 2010. Since then? He has only reached the end zone 12 times, and five of those came during his first season.

That equates to seven scores and only 636 total yards in the last two calendar years.

For most players, this would be a decent output. However, Burton is too talented to have such low numbers. He has all the tools of a valuable No. 2 receiver.

Thus, these circumstances raise a legitimate question: Why don't the Gators keep Burton at wide receiver?

The biggest gripe about Florida's offense has been the lack of weapons on the outside. Even now, the pickings are slim. Quinton Dunbar is the only viable option, and that's even somewhat of an exaggeration. Freshmen Demarcus Robinson and Ahmad Fulwood will help, but they're still raw talents.

Burton could immediately step in and make an impact.

Yes, he can run the Wildcat, which adds another wrinkle to the Gator offense. In all honesty, though, it's not a lethal play-calling weapon. It's nothing more than a change of pace to keep defenses honest.

And it doesn't allow Burton to fully use his skill set.

As a receiver, Burton could be the safety blanket that Jeff Driskel had in Jordan Reed. He can use his toughness to shake off his defender and then use his speed to get open on short and intermediate routes. At 6'3", he's a big target that Driskel can easily find for the quick and simple conversion.

It's not a formula for explosive plays, but it is a formula to move the chains. As last season showed, that is easier said than done.

One could argue that Solomon Patton is a better fit in the Wildcat formation. He is extremely fast and very shifty as a runner. Moving Burton would allow Patton to have an expanded and more successful role in the offense.

Plus, Burton's size alone would make him the best red-zone option for the Gators. Until one of the tight ends can develop into such a weapon, Burton can be the temporary fix.

The bottom line is that, although he can help a team in multiple ways, Burton's most important asset is his catching ability. With Kelvin Taylor, Valdez Showers and others now in the mix, Florida has plenty of runners. But what the team has needed more than anything are receivers. He can be one of them.

Burton has one more year to make his mark at Florida. If he keeps up his current pace, he will fade away into complete obscurity. If moved to wide receiver, he could once again be an impact player and prove that his success as a freshman was not a complete fluke.

Most importantly, he could help the Gators win.