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In-depth look at the freshmen | Taylor focused on football | Notebook: Battle for the backup QB spot
When Ahmad Fulwood first arrived in Gainesville last year, he couldn't spend as much time in the weight room as his fellow freshmen. Due to a shoulder injury lingering from his senior season at Jacksonville (Fla.) Bishop Kenny High, Fulwood was limited in workouts and struggled to bulk up his 6-foot-4 frame as much as he would have liked to.
A year later and now devoid of shoulder issues, Fulwood is stronger than ever. Since the beginning of spring, he has gained eight pounds in muscle and currently weighs 206 pounds, he said Sunday during Florida's annual media day. Fulwood has also refined his route running and improved his hands during summer workouts.
"Last year coming in, it was real hard to adapt to the college route running, because everything has got to be perfect," Fulwood said. "If it's not perfect, it's not going to be that good. So running routes this summer was detrimental. Making sure you're doing the right steps. Making sure you're hitting the right breaks. All of that just accounts into how I got better this summer."
Gators coach Will Muschamp has also seen Fulwood improve in these areas of his game throughout the course of the spring and summer.
"He's gotten stronger, he's gotten much more crisp in his route running, snapping routes off," Muschamp said. "He catches the ball extremely well. But because of his length, he's a guy as a defensive coach when you line up, you are a little leery of lining up a smaller corner versus him because he does have exceptional ball skills and he catches the ball at the highest point very well. So because of his length, he presents some issues."
Fulwood showed what he could do in limited time last year. Although touted as a deep-ball threat coming into Florida, he also proved to be a reliable option in short-yardage situations - especially on third down. In UF's final five games of 2013, he caught 13 balls for 96 yards and a touchdown.
Redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel has watched Fulwood transition firsthand into a more complete player. Driskel feels the sophomore has improved at catching the ball away from his body and in traffic.
"When he first got to campus, he was a deep-ball guy. He was a go-ball, run-by-you, touchdown-type guy, but you can't always do that in college," Driskel said. "I think he's adjusted very well. He's going to have to be good for us this year, and I think he can be."