Florida football got some tough news yesterday, as Keon Zipperer suffered an apparent knee injury and could miss substantial time this season.
Despite not being a dominant threat in the offense, losing Zip is a big hit for the Gators. He’s their starting and most experienced tight end and was very good in run blocking, Florida’s strength.
Now, with Keon’s season in jeopardy, Napier must go into the transfer portal and find a new tight end to plug into the Gators’ offense. And lucky for him, there are still a few good options.
Florida football: Malcolm Epps
The first guy on Billy’s list should be Malcolm Epps, a senior tight end who’s made stops at both Texas and USC so far in his career.
He was with the Trojans last season but saw most of his production come during his time down in Texas.
Epps has seven touchdowns to his name but has never had a season with more than 20 catches.
Despite his lack of production, his tape is promising. He shows that he has the ability to move well in space and go up and get the ball over a defender.
Malcolm could make a great red zone threat in Gainesville. He’s bigger than just about everybody he’d be defended by, standing at 6’6”-250, and can make contested catches.
He’ll also be able to use his size to be effective blocking, which is likely what he’d be doing for the majority of his snaps for Napier.
Epps should be Napier’s number-one target to fill the vacancy left by Zipperer, but he isn’t the only option.
Florida football: Corbin Page
After Epps, the tight ends with experience in the portal just about come to an end. Most of the high-level players have already signed elsewhere, and the rest of the guys just want a chance.
Corbin Page is one of those guys.
The freshman is transferring out of his home state school West Virginia, and there may be a spot for him in Gainesville.
Corbin has solid size for an incoming sophomore at 6’5”-257, so he’d be hard to just push around. As we said with Epps, any transfer tight end will know what they’re getting into, a run-heavy offense where they won’t be catching a ton of passes.
If Page ended up being the guy the Gators got, he’d likely still be behind Jonathan Odom on the depth chart, giving him more time to develop his game and get his body ready for the SEC.
Florida football: Diego LaMonica
The third guy that Napier could go after is Vanderbilt transfer Diego LaMonica. Diego signed with the Commodores in the class of 2020 but hasn’t found the field yet in Nashville.
Now that he’s in the portal, the Gators could be an appealing spot for him. He came out of Miami, so assuming the Canes don’t have a special place in his heart he may want to come back and play for the Gators in his home state.
LaMonica is slightly smaller than the other two on our list, at 6’4”-226, but that didn’t stop him from being dominant in high school and being ranked as a top-35 tight end in his class.
Like Page, LaMonica would walk in and likely be second on the depth chart. Epps is really the only starting-caliber guy on the list, but the Gators need depth, not necessarily stars.
While some are more flashy than others, Napier can’t go wrong with any of these guys. He just needs to land one of them in May to solidify the tight end position.
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