University of Florida

Florida Gators receiver Demarcus Robinson slowly shedding negative labels

Florida wide receiver Demarcus Robinson (11) runs after a reception against Vanderbilt on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 in Gainesville, Fla.
Florida wide receiver Demarcus Robinson (11) runs after a reception against Vanderbilt on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015 in Gainesville, Fla. AP

Talent has never been the issue with Demarcus Robinson.

No. 11 Florida’s mercurial wideout has an elite skill-set to be a star, but the junior receiver has struggled with consistency, effort and attitude during his career.

Robinson is slowly turning the corner, though.

The wideout was demoted from the starting lineup against Vanderbilt last weekend, but Robinson responded with a season-high nine receptions for 106 yards off the bench.

“I think he’s probably come farther than anyone on our football team,” first-year coach Jim McElwain said.

“He’s had a great attitude. This guy loves to practice. Loves to play. He played his tail off in that game, and it showed. I guess the greatest thing is he’s seeing he can. But really, it’s his choice. As I’ve told all the [NFL] scouts, this guy has come farther than any guy in our program. I’m proud of him.”

Still, Robinson’s transformation hasn’t been easy.

The wideout has been benched twice this season, and didn’t tally a single catch against Georgia. McElwain is trying to tap into Robinson’s full potential and eliminate poor habits permitted in the past.

“They just lined him up over to the bench side and told him what to run every play,” McElwain said in a veiled shot at Florida’s previous coaching staff.

“Is that how you go through life? You’re just going to enable that type of behavior? I don’t believe in that, because there is more to him. He’s a smart guy and he cares.”

Freshman receiver Antonio Callaway has emerged as UF’s top playmaker, but Robinson still leads the team in targets (64), receptions (45) and yards (477).

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