On this week’s edition of film study, Armchair breaks downs the Florida Gators top tight end target Keon Zipperer. The Lakeland High School product has a large frame, standing at 6-foot-3 and 232-pounds. Florida has lacked production from the tight end position in recent years, but Zipperer could make a difference from day one. He ranks amongst the best players in the country, checking in as the third ranked tight end and 121st overall player. Zipperer holds 31 offers including Alabama, Clemson and Miami.
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In the video, at 0:12, Zipperer does a phenomenal job bursting off the line and slipping into the middle of the zone near the sidelines. Even though it’s a high thrown ball, Zipperer’s field awareness contributes to him reeling in this catch. His ability to locate the ball at its highest point and maintain both feet in bounds are traits you see at the higher level.
At the 0:56 mark, it’s a busted play with the quarterback scrambling from the pocket. Zipperer is aware of the breakdown, continues to move around the field and is able to get behind the defense to use his strength to haul down this deep ball. You can see Zipperer make a terrific catch, turns his defender around, and walks into the end zone. We’ve seen in recent years a few Florida receivers do this same move.
Zipperer’s athleticism and ball skills are displayed again at the 1:42 mark. Despite the ball thrown in traffic, his 6-foot-3 frame allows him to get above the defense and catch the pass. Zipperer then breaks three tackles, makes a defender miss and picks up critical yards after the catch. In crucial situations when extra yards are needed, it seems like Zipperer can use his strength and size to reach the needed down and distance.
At the 5:40 mark, Zipperer flashes his ability to make critical blocks, allowing the ball carrier to continue downfield and pick up a large chunk of yards. He does a terrific job moving towards the middle of the defense and clearing out the pursuing linebacker. Zipperer’s ability to free space for the ball carrier allows the running back to see the hole and make the right judgment as he picks up a huge gain.
A once dominant position in this Gators’ offense, the tight end group hasn’t produced in recent years. Names like Aaron Hernandez, Jordan Reed and Trey Burton come to mind when thinking about this position and Florida believes Zipperer can be the next Gator great at tight end. His range of skills can create an immediate impact in this new offense. Zipperer possesses smooth hands and route running, while also using his strength and speed to extend plays or fight for the extra yard.