By Robbie Andreu
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.
Keith Kelsey, LB, 1995-99
Why he’s the No. 1 No. 41: He’s a local kid (Newberry) who went on to do big things for the Gators. His biggest attribute might have been how big a hitter he was. He certainly brought the wood and was one of UF’s heaviest hitters in the Steve Spurrier era.
Other notables: LB Ryan Stamper, LB Ed Robinson, FB Hunter Joyer.
Jevon Kearse, LB, 1995-98
Why he’s the No. 1 No. 42: Nicknamed “The Freak” because of his rare blend of size, strength and speed, Kearse terrorized opposing quarterbacks, running backs and receivers with his ability to make plays from sideline to sideline. In 1998, he was All-SEC, the AP defensive player of the year and a Butkus Award finalist.
Other notables: S Keanu Neal, LB Bam Hardmon, LB Darren Hambrick, S Shea Showers, RB Garry Walker, FB Billy Latsko.
Glenn Cameron, LB, 1972-74
Why he’s the No. 1 No. 43: Cameron and Ralph Ortega were both from Miami, and they formed one of the best inside linebacker combinations in the nation in the early 1970s. Cameron had a huge senior season in 1974, earning All-SEC honors after leading the Gators in tackles with 185, of which 126 were solo.
Other notables: LB Jelani Jenkins, LB Arthur White, DB Sonny Gilliam, DB Curtis White, FB Graham McKeel, K Judd Davis.
Richard Trapp, WR, 1965-67
Why he’s the No. 1 No. 44: He was Spurrier’s favorite target in 1966, catching 63 passes for 872 yards and seven touchdowns. He led the Gators in receiving in his junior and senior seasons, combining to catch 121 passes for 1,580 yards and eight TDs. His catch and dizzying run for a TD in the win over Georgia in 1967 is one for the ages.
Other notables: LB James Bates, DT Marcus Thomas, LB Fee Bartley, WR Joel Parker, RB Willie Wilder.
Carlos Alvarez, WR, 1969-71
Why he’s the No. 1 No. 45: Even though he was less than 100 percent his junior and senior years due to a knee issue, Alvarez, at the time, finished his career as UF’s all-time leading receiver with 172 receptions. He’s still UF’s all-time leader in receiving yardage with 2,563 yards. In his Super Soph season, Alvarez was one of the nation’s most potent wide receivers, catching 88 passes for 1,329 yards and 12 TDs. He closed out his career with one of his greatest performances — 15 receptions for 237 yards in a win at Miami in his hometown.
Other notables: LB Andra Davis, LB Jason Bartley, OL Tom Abdelhour.
Jimmy Barr, DB, 1969-71
Why he’s the No, 1 No. 46: The Super Sophs in 1969 weren’t just on offense. There were also several on defense, and Barr was one of them. He started all three seasons of his UF career and was a consistent playmaker throughout.
Other notables: S Jarvis Herring, LB Webbie Burnett, LB Fred McCalister, DB Jim Revels.
Bruce Vaughn, DB, 1980-83
Why he’s the No. 1 No. 47: Here’s yet another great UF success story, a little-known walk-on going on to become a three-year starter and an outstanding player on some talented Florida defenses.
Other notables: DT Brandon Antwine, LB Todd McCullough, DB Rod Graddy.
Dexter Daniels, LB, 1992-95
Why he’s the No. 1 No. 48: Daniels was a five-star recruit coming out of Valdosta, Ga., who did not become the All-American many were predicting he’d be in his college career, but he was a heck of an inside linebacker for the Gators for four seasons, earning All-SEC honors his junior and senior seasons.
Other notables: K Wayne Barfield, LB Todd Gatlin.
Fernando Jackson, LB, 1979-82
Why he’s the No. 1 No. 49: He was a tough, hard-nosed tackling machine from his inside linebacker spot. He was second team All-SEC in his junior season and is seventh on UF’s all-time tackles list with 353.
Other notables: DE Jermaine Cunningham, K Judd Davis, K Jeff Chandler.
Brad Culpepper, DT, 1988-91
Why he’s the No. 1 No. 50: With his combination of quickness and power (and will), he was one of the most disruptive defensive tackles in school history. In his senior season, he set the school record for tackles for losses by an interior lineman with 21.5. He’s UF’s all-time career leader in that category with 47.5. In his senior season, he earned All-America honors and was the winner of the Draddy Award as the nation’s top scholar athlete.
Other notables: OL Phil Bromley, OB Yancey Sutton, LB Ricky Browne, LB Mike Kelly, LB Marcus-Oquendo Johnson.