GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As new Florida tight ends coach Larry Scott met with his personnel group for the first time, there was already a familiar face looking back at him.
When Scott was coaching at Miami, he had recruited 4-star Miami Southridge High School tight end Kemore Gamble, who was even committed to the Hurricanes for a time before flipping to the Gators.
“You can run, but you can’t hide. I told him, ‘You can run, but you can’t hide,'” Scott joked of his comments to Gamble upon joining Dan Mullen’s staff at Florida.
Scott, who spent the last two seasons at Tennessee and was the Vols’ offensive coordinator last year, was at Miami from 2013-15, serving as interim coach for the final six games of the 2015 season.
He says that even while pursuing Gamble back then he was pushing him, as he now plans to do at Florida, where the high-upside 6-foot-3, 255-pound tight end redshirted last fall after a preseason injury undermined his ability to compete for a role.
“He did commit to that other school down south. We’ve always had a relationship where through it all, it was all the other things that Kemore needed to do to be really good. So it’s always been kind of more of a father-son type of, ‘I’m going push you and take you places that you [can’t] necessarily take yourself,'” Scott said. “And that’s how it was in the process, even while I was recruiting him at Miami. Now that we’re back together and connected, we looked at each other and both kind of smiled. But he’s done a really good job and he’s continuing to grow. It’s going to be a process, but he’s up for it and he knows what he’s in for right now.”
Gamble was ranked the No. 7 tight end in the Class of 2017 (according to the 247Sports composite) and is part of a position group that includes veterans C’yontai Lewis and Moral Stephens as well as 4-star newcomer Kyle Pitts (the No. 5 TE in the Class of 2018) and 3-star signee Dante Lang.
Lewis is the established leader of the position with 29 career catches for 301 yards and 5 touchdowns over the last three seasons. Stephens emerged somewhat surprisingly last fall to catch 6 passes for 141 yards.
But there is no fixed depth chart yet. The new coaching staff will make its own determinations and evaluations.
It’s not that Gamble needed a fresh start of any kind, but it doesn’t hurt him that he is now paired with Scott, who got to know him and his potential through the recruiting process.
That said, Scott made it clear that Gamble still has plenty to prove, and he intends to stay on him about doing just that.
“I think he’s one of those kids that’s learning how to transition into playing at this level of football. Being from Miami Southridge, I think he was part of a state championship there and competed with some very talented kids on his team and in the area, but this is still another whole level and speed of life, from the classroom to the high academic standard that goes on here to the high standard — the Gators standard — he has to live up to and produce up to each and every day,” Scott said.
“He’s still very young in the process of learning how to do all this on a daily basis and compete, do all those things. But is the natural talent level there? Yes. Do we have to tap into some other things to get the very best out of him? Yes. Because he does have more. And he’s going to realize that. I’m going to continue to tell him he has more all the time. He’s receiving it. He’s working hard. He’s being pushed out of his comfort zone, but he’s learning what that’s all about. It’s kind of fun to watch him grow through these phases that he’s going through right now. I think ultimately he’ll get there when he gets there. The hype and some of those things, the talent level he has, we’ll start to get what he has out of him.”
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