Gators’ best by the numbers

2
1459
Photo shows Florida's Steve Spurrier, on Sept. 17, 1966 was named the college back of the week by the associated press for his performance against Northwestern. The triple-threat senior completed 15 of 22 passes for 219 yards and three touchdowns as well as booting two field goals during Florida's 43-7 rout of Northwestern. (AP Photo)

Who was the best player to wear No. 11 in Florida football history?

 That’s an easy one.

 Steve Spurrier. Everyone knows that.

 The same goes for No. 7 (Danny Wuerffel) and, of course, No. 15 (Tim Tebow).

 But what about No. 21 or No. 32 or No. 97? 

 Over the next few weeks, we’re going to look at every number and pick out the best Gator player at each one.

 Today, 11-20:

No. 11

Steve Spurrier, QB, 1964-66

 Why he’s the No. 1 No.11: What can you say about this Florida football legend that hasn’t already been said? One of the greatest players in college football history who is in the Hall of Fame. He was a two-time first team All-American and the Heisman Trophy winner in 1966 after throwing for 2012 yards and 16 touchdowns. He broke every school record for game, season and career in passing and total offense.

 Other notables:  LB Ben Hanks, TE Jordan Reed, WR Demarcus Robinson, WR Riley Cooper, QB Kyle Trask.

No. 12

Chris Leak, QB, 2003-06

 Why he’s the No. 1 No. 12: He was one of the highest-rated recruits ever signed by the Gators, and he lived up to the hype, ending his stellar career as UF’s all-time leader in pass attempts, completions and yardage. In his four years as a starter, he threw for 11,213 yards and 88 touchdowns and led the Gators to the national title his senior season.

 Other notables: QB Kerwin Bell, QB Doug Johnson, WR Jacquez Green, DB/WR Bobby Downs, QB Tom Shannon, LB Antonio Morrison, WR Van Jefferson.

No. 13

Alex Brown, DE, 1998-2001

 Why he’s the No. 1 No. 13: One of the most dominant defensive players in school history, he became the first UF defensive lineman to be named All-American twice. In 1999, he set a new school sack record with 13. He’s UF’s all-time career sack leader with 33.

 Other notables: DB Mike Harris, P Ray Criswell.

No. 14

Bruce Bennett, S, 1963-65

 Why he’s the No. 1 No. 14: A two-time All-SEC selection who was a consensus All-American his senior season. He set the school record for interceptions in a season with 13, which now ranks tied for third on the all-time list.

 Other notables: QB Larry Libertore, WR Ernie Mills, P Shayne Edge.

No. 15

Tim Tebow, QB, 2006-09

 Why he’s the No. 1 No. 15: Just like with Spurrier, what can you say that hasn’t already been said here? He is one of the best and most popular players not just in school history but in college football history as well. In 2007, he became the first sophomore to win the Heisman. He was the first QB in NCAA history to throw for 20 or more touchdowns and run for 20 or more in a season. He finished his career with 9,285 yards passing ad 88 touchdowns and rushed for 895 and 23 TDs.

 Other notables: WR Reidel Anthony, QB Wayne Peace, CB Dee Webb.

No. 16

Harmon Wages, RB/QB, 1965-67

 Why he’s the No. 1 No. 16: In 1967, the season after Spurrier left, Wages was one of the Gators’ best offensive weapons, mainly as a running back, but also as a QB, the position he came to UF to play. He went on to have a long NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons.

 Other notables: DB Jimmy Barr, CB Vernelll Brown Jr., WR Freddie Swain.

No. 17

Reche Caldwell, WR, 1998-2001

 Why he’s the No. 1 No. 17: He was one of the Gators’ top receivers during the Spurrier coaching era. His best season came in 2001, when he had 1,059 receiving yards and earned second team All-SEC recognition.

 Other notables: DB Thom Clifford, QB Noah Brindise, WR Sorola Palmer, QB/WR Gavin Dickey.

No. 18

Louis Oliver, S, 1985-88

 Why he’s the No. 1 No. 18: He is one of the greatest success stories in Florida football history, going from an unknown walk-on to the first defensive back in UF history to become a two-time All-American. He was the biggest, most physical safety of his day in college football.

 Other notables: S Tony Lilly, CB Eddie Lake, WR Jamie Richardson.

No. 19

Ike Hilliard, WR, 1994-96

 Why he’s the No. 1 No. 19: Working in Spurrier’s offense, whenever Hilliard lined up in the slot, he was pretty much impossible to cover or contain. His big year came in his junior season, when he earned All-America honors after catching 47 passes for 900 yards and 10 touchdowns. For his career, he had 126 receptions for 2,214 yards and 29 touchdowns.

 Other notables: WR Travis Taylor, P Johnny Townsend, K Caleb Sturgis.

No. 20

Vince Kendrick, FB/RB, 1971-73

 Why he’s the No. 1 No. 20: When the Gators got off to a hugely disappointing start in 1973, Doug Dickey made two key changes on offense. He inserted Don Gaffney as the starting quarterback and moved Kendrick from fullback to tailback. They turned out to be brilliant moves that turned the season — and the Dickey era — around. The big, physical and athletic Kendrick gave the Gators a ground game during their “November to Remember.”

 Other notables: DB/WR Hagood Clarke, S Marcus Maye, DE Joe Cohen, RB DeShawn Wynn, RB Robert Gillespie.

2 COMMENTS