FOOTBALL

Florida football: Tim Tebow elected to College Football Hall of Fame on first ballot

Kevin Brockway
The Gainesville Sun
Former Georgia Quarterback Jordan Rodgers and former Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow share a laugh during the broadcast of SCC nation outside TIAA Bank Field ahead of Saturday's Georgia vs Florida rivalry football game. The annual Georgia vs Florida football rivalry was held at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL Saturday, October 29, 2022. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]

Former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame on the first ballot on Monday, an honor not surprising given his accomplishments on and off the field during his decorated Gator career.

In addition to becoming the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy in 2007, Tebow was part of Florida national championship teams in 2006 and 2008, backing up Chris Leak on the '06 team while starting and guiding the Gators to a 13-1 record and SEC title in '08. He was named MVP of the 2008 BCS national title game in Florida's 24-14 win over Oklahoma, passing for 231 yards and 2 TDs while rushing for 109 yards.

In between, Tebow put together a record-setting season in his first year as Florida starting quarterback in 2007. Tebow passed for 34 TDs and rushed for 23 TDs in 2007, becoming the first college quarterback to pass and rush for more than 20 touchdowns in the same season. That led Tebow to winning the Heisman Trophy in 2007, and he was a Heisman finalist as well in 2008 and 2009. He also earned the Maxwell Award in back-to-back seasons in 2007 and 2008.

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Overall, Tebow set 28 records during his Florida career, throwing for 9,285 yards and 88 touchdowns while also rushing for 2,947 yards and 55 touchdowns. Tebow's 55 rushing TDs remains an SEC record, surpassing Georgia running back Herschel Walker, whose prior record of 49 rushing TDs stood for close to 30 years.

Off the field, Tebow was a three-time Academic All-American and SEC Academic Honor Roll selection. For his community work, Tebow was awarded the 2008 Wuerffel Trophy and the 2008 Disney Wide World of Sports Spirit Award.

Raised in Jacksonville, Tebow, 35, has returned to his hometown where he works as a philanthropist, motivational speaker, author, film producer and broadcaster with ESPN and SEC Network. His charitable work and the Tim Tebow Foundation focus on special needs ministries, orphan care and prevention, children with profound medical needs and anti-human trafficking. Tebow's Night to Shine annual prom event celebrates children with special needs.

Tebow is the 13th Gator (coaches, players) and 10th Florida player to enter College Football Hall of Fame. Since 2006, UF has had seven inductees, the most by any SEC school. The list includes former Heisman winning quarterbacks Steve Spurrier and Danny Wuerffel, NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith and Jack Youngblood and coaches Spurrier, Doug Dickey and Ray Graves.

The 2023 College Football Hall of Fame Class officially will be inducted during the 65th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 5 at the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. The inductees will also be recognized at their respective collegiate institutions with NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes during the fall. Tebow will join a class that includes former USC running back Reggie Bush and former Georgia and Miami coach Mark Richt.