Redshirt Report: Weston out to silence his doubters

Jan 20, 2020 | 0 comments


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During the beginning weeks of the off-season, Inside the Gators will take an in-depth look at how last season went for Florida's 2019 signees who redshirted with our Redshirt Report series. Today, we focus on how this past season went for wide receiver Ja’Markis Weston.

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Dan Mullen signed four players ranked in the top-100 of the 247 Sports Composite in the Class of 2019 and 10 ranked in the top-300. Still, it was the fifth-lowest ranked member of the class that seemed to excite him the most.


Mullen spoke of three-star receiver Ja’Markis Weston at his signing day press conference as if he had just struck gold. Weston looks the part, standing 6-foot-3 and more than 200 pounds with great speed to go with it.

Still, Weston, along with fellow freshmen receivers Dionte Marks and Trent Whittmore, began his first fall camp buried on the depth chart, even behind the walk-ons. He played in just three games, did not make a reception and redshirted.

Brad Garrett, his head coach at Clewiston High School, said Weston understood when he arrived at UF that redshirting was a possibility given the four senior receivers that figured to dominate playing time. Weston never seemed frustrated or discouraged.

“I think he went in with the right mindset,” Garrett said. “I think he actually used it to his advantage.

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2020 Redshirt Report Series

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“I don’t think really Ja’Markis has even came close to tapping into his potential. He’s always been bigger, faster and stronger than everybody, so he never really had to get that extra out of him. He’s always played hard. I’ve seen clips of film he’s sent me of him playing. He’s a completely different football player. So, I really think if Ja’Markis keeps his head on right – and I know these coaches have done a great job just with the fundamentals with him – that really the sky is the limit for this young man.”

Weston used his redshirt year to add more muscle to his already impressive physique. He weighed about 210 pounds and benched more than 300 pounds in high school, Garrett said. Now, he weighs about 220 pounds and his bench number has gone up “drastically.” Garrett credited Florida’s strength and conditioning staff for putting good weight on him without sacrificing his speed.

“Every time I see him, I just can’t get my mind wrapped around how big this kid is getting,” Garrett said.

Weston also used the year to improve his understanding of the small details and fundamentals of the position and the X’s and O’s of the game, his former coach said. The four seniors took him under their wing and mentored him.

“I think going in, those guys really taught him the little things about college football, the preparation that goes in, the time watching film, studying your opponents, just the little bitty ins and outs of playing the receiver position I think that are so valuable,” Garrett said.

“I think those guys took Ja’Markis under their wing, and I think they really showed him how to really be a Division 1 athlete and all of the things that go into it. Just having conversations with him, I can just tell he’s a completely different person in that aspect. He’s always talking about he’s got to go work on drills in the field. So, I think they’ve done a good job of getting that planted in his mind.”

With those seniors no longer around, Weston has an opportunity to earn his way onto the field in 2020. Garrett said fans can expect to see a “feisty” player who loves to play the game. Weston also played defensive end and special teams in high school, and he embraced physicality. He never wanted to come off the field.

While Mullen viewed Weston as a diamond in the rough, others saw him as nothing more than a decent athlete from a small town in South Florida with only two other major offers. To underestimate him because of where he’s from and where he was ranked is a mistake, Garrett said.

“He’s had a lot of naysayers that said that he couldn’t do it or he couldn’t play at that level, but I really think Ja’Markis is going into this thing with the right mindset, and I think he’s going to do some great things,” he said. “I think he’s going to prove a lot of people wrong because the kid’s a damn good football player. He’s a damn good person as well.”

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