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.
Jalen Tabor, CB, 2015-16
Why he’s the No. 1 No. 31: A five-star recruit coming out of high school, Tabor lived up to the hype in his UF career. He saw significant playing time as a true freshman and then went on to become one of the SEC’s best cornerbacks the next two years, earning All-SEC honors in both seasons. He may have struggled in the NFL, but never at UF.
Other notables: LB Carlton Miles, RB James Richards, WR Andy Cheney.
Reggie Nelson, S, 2005-06
Why he’s the No. 1 No. 32: Nelson went on to become an All-American his senior season wearing No. 1. He switched to that number after wearing No. 32 his junior season. The number may have been different the year before he became an All-American, but he was still an elite player for the Gators in No. 32.
Other notables: LB Dustin Doe, RB Kedra Malone, DB Marquette Oliver, RB Andy Sumers.
Errict Rhett, RB, 1989-93
Why he’s the No. 1 No. 33: Many wonder what Emmitt Smith would have done in Steve Spurrier’s offense had he not left early for the NFL. Well, here’s what Rhett did in the HBC’s offense: 4,163 rushing, the most career yards in school history, and 153 receptions, the most for a running back in UF history. An All-American selection in 1993, Rhett became the first player in NCAA history to rush for more than 4,000 yards and catch more than 140 passes in his career.
Other notables: RB Larry Smith, RB Jack Harper, RB Lindy Infante, RB Tommy Durrance, RB Tony Green, DB Tony George, S Teako Brown, LB David Reese.
John Clifford, DB, 1970-72
Why he’s the No. 1 No. 34: Not only was he Mr. Steady and Reliable in the UF secondary for three seasons, he was a playmaker who played with great instincts. In his sophomore season, he had three interceptions in one game (North Carolina State).
Other notables: LB Alex Anzalone, LB Lerentee McCray, DB Dorian Munroe, DB Daryl Dixon, FB Jerome Evans, DB Brian Hipp.
Jimmy DuBose, FB, 1972-75
Why he’s the No. 1 No. 35: He owns one of the best single seasons by a running back in school history. In his senior year, playing fullback in Doug Dickey’s wishbone offense, DeBose was practically unstoppable running between the tackles. For the season, he rushed for 1,307 yards, the third-most in UF history, behind only Emmitt Smith. In a rout of FSU, he rushed for 204 yards.
Other notables: RB Larry Dupree, S Ahmad Black, CB Michael Gilmore, LB Chip Hinton.
Jack Burns, CB, 1968-70
Why he’s the No. 1 No. 36: As a junior on the 1969 team, Burns was a steadying influence on the defensive players among the Super Sophs. He was a consistent player in his three years as a starter. After his playing days, Burns went on to have a long career as an assistant coach in the NFL and at Louisville.
Other Notables: DB Carlton Pouncy, CB Vito McKeever, CB Del Speer, RB Anthony Williams, DB Tom Hungerbuhler.
Guss Scott, S, 2000-03
Why he’s the No. 1 No. 37: A fast and physical playmaker in his three years as a starter, Scott will always be remembered for his 47-yard interception return for a touchdown in the Gators’ 20-13 win over Georgia in 2002.
Other notables: LB Pat Moorer, DB Eddie Lake.
Harvin Clark, CB, 1969-71
Why he’s the No. 1 No. 38: Clark was one of the prominent defensive players among the Super Sophs in 1969. And, yes, he was super, not just in ‘69 but throughout his three-year career as a starter. He was an excellent defensive back, but may have been an even better return man. He retired a kickoff 96 yards against Kentucky in 1969 and took a punt back 71 yards for a TD against Miami in the final game of his career.
Other notables: DB Wayne McCall, DB Alvin Butler, FB Willie McGrady, DB Charlie Skalaski.
Nat Moore, RB, 1972-73
Why he’s the No. 1 No. 39: An unknown player who had been driving a truck in Miami, Moore came to UF as a junior college transfer in 1972 and was an instant success, quickly emerging as one of the most electrifying offensive players the school had ever seen. He switched to No. 33 for his senior season.
Other notables: RB Larry Brinson, FB Chris Bilkie, FB Cedric Smith, RB Joe Henderson.
Jarrad Davis, LB, 2013-16
Why he’s the No. 1 No. 40: This guy is proof that the so-called recruiting experts don’t always get it right. Just a low-rated three-star prospect coming out of high school, Davis was one of UF’s best defensive players — and special teams players — in his four years in Gainesville. Fast and physical, he was a tackling/playmaking machine for the Gators.
Other notables: FB Mike Rich, DE Johnnie Church, LB Brandon Siler, LB Brandon Hicks.