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Florida’s Dre Massey out for year with knee injury

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The Gators lose a promising playmaker.

SEC Championship - Alabama v Florida Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Dre Massey was one of two notable Gators hurt in Florida’s Saturday win over Massachusetts, along with cornerback Duke Dawson. But while Dawson tweeted about being back for next week’s game against Kentucky on Sunday morning, Massey sent a far more ominous tweet early in the afternoon.

That was followed by a confirmation of fears from The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley.

Massey was one of the nation’s best JUCO receiver recruits in the 2015 class, and came into the season as Florida’s starting slot receiver. He was expected to be a playmaker for the Gators on offense and possibly in the return game in 2016, with coaches speaking optimistically about the potential of an offense with him and fellow lightning-quick receiver Brandon Powell on the field at the same time.

But after returning the opening kickoff for 21 yards on Saturday night, Massey sustained what looked like a knee injury in the first half against the Minutemen. And now, reportedly, his season is over.

Massey will assuredly take an injury redshirt year and retain his two years of eligibility at the FBS level. He came to Florida with three years and two seasons of collegiate eligibility.

With Massey out, Florida will likely shift Powell back to the slot full-time — it used him in both inside and outside receiver roles on Saturday — and turn to a pool of players that includes freshmen Josh Hammond, Freddie Swain, and Tyrie Cleveland and upperclassmen C.J. Worton and Ahmad Fulwood to find a consistent outside receiver opposite Antonio Callaway.

Update, September 5: Jim McElwain confirmed Massey’s season-ending injury in his Monday press conference.

"A big loss. We're going to need some guys step up,'' Gators coach Jim McElwain said Monday. "He'll get that operated on here when the swelling goes down. He'll be out for the year."

McElwain said that Massey sustained the injury on the opening kickoff, then remained in the game until halftime.

In response to a tweet from WWE wrestler Titus O’Neil (former Florida football player Thaddeus Bullard), Massey vowed to come back “stronger and faster” from his injury.