Billy Napier’s first team at Florida picked up a huge boost on Christmas Day when linebacker Ventrell Miller and wide receiver Justin Shorter announced that they’re returning to school in 2022.
Miller, a third-team All-SEC selection in 2020, suffered a torn biceps tendon in a 42-20 win at South Florida in Week 2. He was forced to undergo season-ending surgery, leaving a huge void in the Gators’ run defense.
In UF’s first two games this past year, the team captain had eight tackles. Miller played in 11 of 12 games in 2020, recording 86 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, three passes broken up and one fumble recovery.
Miller had 164 career tackles, 15 TFL’s, 7.5 sacks, five PBU, one fumble recovery and one interception that he returned 82 yards for a touchdown.
Shorter, who spent two years at Penn St. before transferring to UF, had 41 receptions for 550 yards and three TDs in 2021. He had 25 catches for 268 yards and three TDs in 2020.
The 6-foot-5 wideout has 81 career receptions for 975 yards and six TDs.
Shorter’s return is key, especially since WR Jacob Copeland transferred to Maryland. Shorter took a hard hit in the second half of the Gators’ loss to UCF last week at the Gasparilla Bowl.
He was carted off the field on a stretcher. Shorter spent the night in a Tampa hospital, but he was released the following day.
The Gators, who finished the past season 6-7 straight up and 3-10 against the spread, will open next season at home vs. Utah on Sept. 3.