Go be great, Justin Shorter. (Photo credit: Matthew Hinton, AP)
Florida wide receiver Justin Shorter is headed for the pros.
Shorter announced on his instagram page that he is declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft and will play in the 2023 East-West Shrine Bowl. He is opting out of the Gators’ bowl game, details of which will be announced on Sunday. Had Shorter returned in 2023, he would have been embarking on a sixth year of eligibility.
Shorter, from Monmouth Junction, NJ, initially committed to Penn State out of high school and played two seasons for the Nittany Lions before entering the transfer portal after the 2019 season and then eventually transferring to Florida. Once in Gainesville, Shorter made an immediate impact for Florida in 2020 in a key backup role in a loaded wide receiver room that featured Kadarius Toney and Trevon Grimes. Shorter’s role grew substantially in 2021 when Toney, Grimes, and Kyle Pitts departed, and when healthy, showed flashes of true NFL potential.
Justin Shorter finishes his career at Florida with 95 catches for 1,395 yards and eight touchdowns. Despite injuries, he broke out in 2022 with 29 catches for 577 yards and two touchdowns.
NFL teams looking to draft Shorter should know that he is a truly electric deep threat. He’s got great hands, quick, agile feet that make his route-running easy most of the time, excellent ball-tracking abilities and the ability to go and get the ball in traffic. Though he never did operate in a true pro-style offense at Florida, adding more routes to his route-running repertoire should be something that pro coaches can teach.
Shorter is not likely to be a first-round or even a second-round pick, but if he performs well at the Shrine Bowl and in workouts, he could potentially work his way up to the middle rounds.
Best of luck to you, Justin Shorter. Go get paid.