Local

Florida rules out 5 WRs, including Shorter, for FSU rivalry

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida will be without five receivers, including Anthony Richardson’s top two targets, when the Gators play at No. 16 Florida State on Friday night.

>>> STREAM ACTION NEWS JAX LIVE <<<

Coach Billy Napier ruled out leading receiver Xzavier Henderson and second-leading receiver Justin Shorter along with backups Ja’Quavion Fraziars, Marcus Burke and Thai Chiaokhiao-Bowman on Wednesday.

Ricky Pearsall was listed as questionable, but Napier expects the Arizona State transfer to be cleared to play Thursday.

“We’ve been in this situation in the past,” Napier said. “There’s been parts of our team every week throughout the season where we’ve had a handful of guys banged up.”

[DOWNLOAD: Free Action News Jax app for alerts as news breaks]

“It’s a great opportunity for those players and we’ve got great stories from different times of the year. ... Next guy up and certainly excited to watch some of these guys play.”

Caleb Douglas, Pearsall and Daejon Reynolds were listed as projected starters on Florida’s weekly depth chart. Reynolds made the most of an increased role last week at Vanderbilt, finishing with eight catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns.

Read: Former Jaguars RB Fred Taylor named semifinalist for Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023

Reynolds has 11 catches for 244 yards on the season. Douglas has eight receptions for 150 yards and two scores. Pearsall has caught 24 passes for 448 yards and three TDs. But there’s little, if any, depth behind them.

“There’s no question they’re very capable,” Napier said. “The way we practice, all the players on our team get multiple opportunities throughout the OTAs in the summer, training camp, you know it helps you build depth on your team so you can survive some of these situations.”

Henderson and Shorter have been Florida’s big-play receivers all year. Henderson has 38 catches for 410 yards and two TDs. Shorter has 29 receptions for 577 yards and two scores.

[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Florida does not disclose the exact nature of injuries, only saying upper or lower body. Henderson and Shorter both have lower-body injuries. Pearsall, Fraziars, Burke and Chiaokhiao-Bowman have upper-body issues.