Wide receiver Valdez Showers‘ career at Florida has bounced around more than a pinball. His was first recruited as a safety, then moved to running back, and now will spend his time lining up at wide-out. His athletic skill set has made the transitions easier for him.
As one of two players to come from deep in Big 10 country, Showers played running back and defensive back at Madison High School in Detroit. And what a career he had. On offense, he rushed for 1,572 yards and 20 touchdowns his junior season. Showers followed that year up with an eye-popping 2,024 yards and 24 touchdowns on the ground and 18 catches for 257 yards and three TDs through the air his senior campaign. The 5-11, 188 pounder also managed to grab three interceptions and recover two fumbles as he earned some pretty lofty accolades. Showers was named the Michigan Gatorade Player of the Year, The Detroit Free Press Player of the year, first team all-state, and first team all-conference. He also helped the Eagles reach the regional finals in his final two years at Madison.
All of Showers’ success in high school made him a hot commodity, especially with Big 10 schools. In-state goliaths Michigan and Michigan State went after him, as well as Wisconsin and Iowa. Auburn was also in the mix, but Showers decided the best place for him was Florida, mostly due to the UF’s success on the field and in the classroom. He was a big get for then-head coach Urban Meyer. According to 247Sports composite ratings, Showers was rated as a four-star prospect, ranked as the 16th safety, sixth-best player in Michigan, and 222nd overall of the 2011 recruiting class.
Florida underwent their coaching change from Meyer to Will Muschamp before Showers got on campus. With the change came a different outlook for a talented player. Showers ended up redshirting his first year, playing on the scout team and earning SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll honors. He saw increased playing time as a redshirt freshman, playing in 11 games, mostly on special teams, and picking up two tackles. Showers then went through his first transition from defense to offense in the offseason between his redshirt freshman and sophomore years. Offensive coordinator Brent Pease decided he should move to offense, providing depth at RB . Showers skills made him one of the better pass catching options out of the backfield and allowed him to line up at RB, TE, slot receiver, and WR. He played very will when given the opportunity. Showers rushed for 103 yards on just 12 carries (8.6 ypc) and caught 18 balls for 102 yards, including his first collegiate touchdown in the win against Arkansas.
Showers proved his pass catching and play making ability last season in limited touches. Now, he’ll be asked to help bolster a wide receiving corps desperately needing production. His versatility and athleticism make him one of the more important Gators on the field at any given time. He’ll likely be asked to line up wide, in the slot, and even in the backfield sometimes. But Showers wouldn’t have it any other way. He wants to play offense, saying, “That’s something you can’t let go. Offense comes natural to me. The transition was pretty much easy. I have natural instincts running the ball, and some of that never left.” I know I’m looking forward to seeing how Kurt Roper can get the ball into number 10′s hands in a week and a half.