GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Jonathan Nance and Richaud Floyd share a casual game of catch at historic Milner Stadium, the same field where the two Gulfport standouts once dominated opposing defenses.
“Hey, we were pretty dynamic now," Nance said with a laugh. "Had some touchdowns.”
“Honestly, (we were) the best 1-2 punch in the state, quarterback-receiver, easily," Floyd said. “At any given moment we could do anything big, whether it’s me running or throwing him like a hitch screen or something...”
“And I’m taking it to the house!” Nance exclaimed.
Several years and a few twists and turns later, the two best friends are set to become teammates once again, this time in the SEC with the Missouri Tigers.
“We would always have conversations about it," Floyd said. "It never really materialized until now. We just always used to talk about what we could do if we played together.”
“But now it’s happening!” Nance said.
Ranked as the No. 13 JUCO wide receiver coming out of Gulf Coast, Nance enjoyed a strong junior season with Arkansas, leading the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving scores.
However, after his role diminished in 2018, Nance quickly heard from an old friend.
“As soon as I put it out that I was leaving, Richaud texted me. He was like, bro, we want you bro," Nance said. "We want you, let me know what you need, you know what I’m saying? And I was like, yeah, we’re probably gonna have to make that happen!”
“I texted my coach, I was like my homeboy (is) leaving Arkansas," Floyd said. "And I know he’s definitely not no slouch on the field, so it would definitely be a big help to our receiver room. That’s how we made it happen.”
All the while, Floyd was working his way up the Missouri depth chart, making the biggest impact on special teams. But now, with leg and head injuries now in the rear-view mirror, Floyd is ready to break out in 2019.
“I’m just letting it all hang out," Floyd said. "This is it for me, this is my last year, so I’ve gotta do the most, the best I have in my life. I wanna go to the next level, so this upcoming season, I’ve gotta go at it with all my all.”
Each having just one year of eligibility left, these two Coast standouts already had plenty of motivation to leave it all on the line. Getting to do so together again just makes it that much more special.
“Having a brother on the team - well, everybody’s your brother - but growing up, playing together in high school, middle school? You don’t really find that, not in the SEC,” Nance said.
“It just feels like old times," Floyd said. "We know we’re gonna have the City of Gulfport behind us, supporting us, so we’re just ready to give the city our all, give Missouri our all and just have a great season, go out with a bang.”
With former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant slinging to the wide receiver duo, Floyd and Nance should have no shortage of highlights this season, which kicks off Saturday, August 31st as the Tigers pay a visit to Wyoming.