Loucheiz Purifoy is exactly the type of athlete Florida has come to expect over the past decade in their secondary. He is a supremely gifted athlete and has the potential to be a good player both for the Gators and in the NFL, but he has not really been able to distinguish himself anywhere but at special teams to this point. Florida has moved him around in hopes of finding him a position and while he appears best suited to play cornerback, the light has not gone on yet and his athleticism while tantalizing, has ultimately met with little success to this point.
Purifoy is still slightly undersized and needs to continue filling out his body, but his length and speed are both extremely attractive to NFL teams and even if he is still an unfinished product when he ultimately enters the NFL Draft, someone will pick him. His ability to contribute on special teams combined with his potential at the corner position will keep teams giving him opportunities and if the light does go on for him, the payoff could be enormous. Florida has been waiting for that to happen since Purifoy arrived and if that happens there, his stock will improve significantly.
Vitals & Build
Purifoy is listed at 6’1” 189lbs and he is an exceptional athlete with speed, agility, and acceleration. His body control can be excellent but he does tend to struggle when it comes to weight distribution, particularly when it involves making a drastic change of direction. He is still thin and plays smaller than his size would suggest, but he needs to continue filling out his frame. Purifoy has a significant amount of potential and would be drafted on his athleticism if nothing else.
Purifoy is a poor tackler at this point. He is not overly physical and does not bring much strength or drive through tackles. Purifoy either runs into them as fast as he can or more often just tries to swipe at the football and cause a fumble. To Purifoy’s credit, he has shown he can knock the ball out, but he does need to be a more effective tackler. The fact that he does go for fumbles is great but that is a small part of what he needs to do as a player going for tackles. Additional strength would definitely help but this comes down to will and determination at a certain point and Purifoy has just not shown it so far in his career in Gainesville.
Purifoy has not shown much in terms of his willing to attack and play the run as a tackler but he actually does a better job taking on blocks. Although not often with strength, Purifoy uses his quickness to get past blockers, but needs to do more to make the play after that fact. He has the physical ability to do the job here but has to decide it is important to him.
In terms of athletic ability and length, Purifoy is ideally suited to be a man cover corner. The problem is that Purifoy tends to struggle when it comes to mirroring the opponent in running their routes, does not break on the ball particularly well, and is not physical enough against bigger receivers. His size and athletic ability will keep affording him opportunities for the light to go on but he struggles to keep tight coverage on opponents and they are able to catch far too many passes against him. Purifoy seems overly concerned about getting beat deep and gives up passes underneath but for his concern about being beat over the top, he gets beat there anyway. He just needs to trust his instincts, improve his weight distribution and get in and out of breaks more quickly.
The good news is that if the light goes on for him, he could go from being a decent corner option to an outstanding one but his instincts and feel for the position need to improve at this point. He likes to push opponents to the sideline which is good considering his length and use the sideline as an extra defender but he also has the athleticism at his size to play in the slot. The potential is there for him to make a big jump in the next few years but he is not an effective player in that role to this point.
Purifoy appears more comfortable facing the line of scrimmage but he tends to end up stationary in zone while receivers move around and find openings. He keeps his head on a swivel and watches the quarterback’s eyes as well as keeping an eye on the receiver but he needs to demonstrate a better feel for what he can and cannot do in terms of floating around and making plays. The Gators have used him in zone at corner as well as occasionally at safety. He needs to do a much better job of breaking on the ball so he can get in and make plays on the football and seems to hesitate too much rather than trusting his eyes.
At this point, Purifoy has not really demonstrated much of any ball skills. Part of this is due to the fact that Purifoy is rarely in position to make plays on the football. As a result, he was unable to make many plays on the football, which is something that has to improve this year. In two years of football at Florida, he only has five pass deflections and zero interceptions. If he can improve his ability to get to the football and make plays, he will have the ability to show more in terms of ball skills but at this point, it is difficult to say anything positive.
Blitzing off the Edge
Florida has never been afraid to send Purifoy off the edge with the blitz. He has the speed and acceleration to be a threat off of the edge and while he can cause a fumble, his lack of ability to tackle limits his ability from that position. He has shown good timing and has the explosion to get off the ball in a hurry, so if he can be a better tackler and more physical player, he could be a nice asset on the blitz.
At this point, this is the area where Purifoy has distinguished himself the most and is the most ready to contribute at the next level. He has shown to be good at bending around the edge and being able to get in position to block kicks with his acceleration and quickness off of the line. He has the speed to play on kick coverage though his lack of tackling only allows that to go so far, but he has also shown he can be an effective gunner on punts. His speed enables him to get down the field quickly and he can catch the punt in the air at times as well as being able to prevent the ball from going into the end zone. Purifoy also has experience as a kick returner, so he is a guy who can come in and contribute on every single special team and do it well.
Purifoy appears to be best suited to play in a man scheme either on the outside or potentially in the slot. He needs to improve but his potential to play in both spots makes him intriguing. Combining that with his ability to contribute on special teams could keep him in the league for a while and make it difficult for teams to get rid of him. There is nothing to suggest that Purifoy could not play in a zone scheme but the lion’s share of his experience in man and his athleticism could really appeal to man coverage teams.
|Sat, Aug. 31||vs. Toledo|
|Sat, Sept. 7||at Miami|
|Sat, Sept. 21||vs. Tennessee|
|Sat, Sept. 28||at Kentucky|
|Sat, Oct. 5||vs. Arkansas|
|Sat, Oct. 12||at LSU|
|Sat, Oct. 19||at Missouri|
|Sat, Nov. 2||vs. Georgia|
|Sat, Nov. 9||at Vanderbilt|
|Sat, Nov. 16||at South Carolina|
|Sat, Nov. 23||vs. Georgia Southern|
|Sat, Nov. 30||vs. Florida State|
Week two in Coral Gables will feature a Hurricane offense led by Stephen Morris who will test Purifoy early and often, especially going deep. If Purifoy struggles to stay on his man, he could be victimized for some big plays. Going on the road to play Missouri could feature Purifoy up against Dorial Beckham-Green, the talented underclassman with a huge frame. Purifoy has struggled to matchup against bigger receivers and this could really put an exclamation point on that fact. The biggest test of the season for Purifoy will likely be Vanderbilt as they go up against one of the most proficient receivers and best route runners in college football in Jordan Matthews. If Purifoy ends up on him, Matthews will test him with his ability to stay with him as he makes precise cuts to create separation.
While there is still significant time for Purifoy, at this point his game is similar to DeMarcus Van Dyke, formerly of the Miami Hurricanes. Van Dyke was never all that impressive for the Canes but his physical talents were attractive enough to have the Oakland Raiders pick him in round three. Three years into his career and now with Pittsburgh, Van Dyke is still waiting for the light to go on in his career. That is where Purifoy projects at this point but if the game and position click for him, his trajectory will improve dramatically.
Purifoy is an extremely intriguing player because of his length and athleticism. He needs to continue getting stronger and the game still has not clicked for him in coverage and he is not physical at all to this point. He has shown to be a terrific special teams player and that could enable him to hold onto an NFL job for a long time but if he can be a better tackler and a bigger threat in coverage, he could go from a day three prospect to having the sky be the limit for him. His potential is significant and there is plenty of room for him to grow, but if he does it, the NFL will take notice.