Reidel Anthony had one of the greatest receiving seasons in Florida history during the Gators’ 1996 run to the national championship with 18 touchdowns and nearly 1,300 yards.
Now working at a training complex he helped start up in Tampa 6 years ago, Anthony trained high-profile college receivers in advance of the NFL Draft in recent years. But most interesting to Gators fans might be his work with Florida running back commit Malik Davis .
Well before Davis, who is rated a 4-star prospect by 247Sports and Rivals, got on the Gators’ radar, he began training with Anthony.
“I’ve known Malik since he was in the fifth grade. His dad brought him over back then,” Anthony said. “Malik is a running back. You know how Emmitt Smith was a running back. Emmitt didn’t play nothing else. … Malik has played running back since you could ever remember. He’s a good kid, great personality and I’ve never had a problem out of him in the last 6 years now.”
Anthony doesn’t know what the Gators have in store for Davis as a true freshman — junior Jordan Scarlett and sophomore Lamical Perine are line for the bulk of the work with senior Mark Thompson also in the mix — but he is confident Davis will make the most of whatever opportunity he gets.
“He’s coming from a well-coached team at Jesuit. At Jesuit, it was Malik right, Malik left. There was a bunch of guys that like to block for him. He was patient, hit his holes and ran for a lot of yards and scored a lot of touchdowns,” Anthony said.
Anthony emphasized the workhorse mentality of the running back.
Davis, who committed to the Gators in October, rushed for 2,469 yards on 214 carries (11.5 yards per carry) as a senior at Jesuit High School, according to the Tampa Bay Times . With that, he blew past a pair of Hillsborough County career rushing records with 7,029 yards and 84 touchdowns.
Davis is expected to make his commitment to Florida official Wednesday on National Signing Day and will make it campus in the summer. In the meanwhile, Anthony said the goal is to get him as ready as possible physically to begin the college grind.
“Right now we’re just trying to get him back to healthy because some games Malik touched the ball like (former Gators running back) Kelvin Taylor did, a minimum of 30 times a game. And this has been going on since he was in the fifth grade,” Anthony said. “Since he’s not going to school till June, right now we’re just doing a lot of rehab and making sure he’s healthy before we go forward to start preparing for the season. We have a plan.”