Relationship key as Hightower’s Douglas picks Florida

Relationship key as Hightowers Douglas picks Florida (Copyright (c) 2022 VYPE - All rights reserved)

MISSOURI CITY—While the race was thought to be tight between Florida, LSU, and Baylor for his services, the decision ultimately seemed like a no-brainer for Hightower receiver Caleb Douglas.

It came down to a close relationship with Florida receivers coach Keary Colbert.

“I was committed to Coach Colbert once upon a time at USC. That’s my dawg,” Douglas said after signing his letter of intent to play for the Gators at Hightower High School on Wednesday afternoon. “I know he can do good with big receivers. And Coach (Billy) Napier made it even better with how good of a head coach he is and how he views all of his players and how he connects with them. I made up my mind to go play for the Florida Gators and be a part of something great.”

Douglas, a 6-foot-3, 185-pounder and a three-star recruit, took a circuitous route to Gainesville.

He initially verbally committed to Baylor on June 27 of last year. Eight days later, he decommitted. On August 19, five days after decommitting from Baylor, Douglas verbaled to USC.

He decommitted from USC on November 30 due to a coaching staff overhaul. Colbert left USC and eventually ended up at Florida.

Douglas had 30 offers. Heading into National Signing Day on Wednesday, the thinking was it would be between Florida and LSU. Fort Bend ISD athletic administrators engaged in a bit of a guessing game as to who would win over Douglas hours before the signing.

But Douglas’s family started dressing his signing table in Gators decorations well before the announcement was made, and Douglas arrived at the signing wearing a Florida hat and polo shirt. There was no drama as to which school Douglas was enamored with.

“The process was rocky,” Douglas said. “I was getting all of these big schools at the end, and that kind of surprised me. I thought I was going to a lot of places. It was up and down a lot. I’m just glad that I picked out the best fit for me.”

Douglas said Florida coaches told him he’d be an ideal fit for their scheme. Because of his size, length and impressive athletic ability, Douglas thrives on 50-50 balls.

Napier and Colbert love employing big receivers in their schemes.

“I feel great,” Douglas said. “I’m ready to play right now.”

Douglas is in some ways a raw product. He only played two years of high school ball at receiver. He reluctantly transitioned from quarterback to receiver prior to his junior year.

That year, in 2020, Douglas caught 20 passes for 237 yards in eight games. This past season, he caught 51 balls for 984 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 19.3 yards per catch, in helping Hightower to the regional semifinal.

“When it’s your time, it’s your time,” Douglas said. “You think you’ll be playing one position, and God has something else better for you. Me being a quarterback who ended up at receiver, I’m glad it worked in my favor.”