To celebrate Gator Day with the Florida Gators Alumni Association (OK, this writer didn’t attend the University of Florida, but we thought it might be fun, anyhow), we’re putting out 10 of the most famous Florida Gators.

Now, you might say that Aaron Hernandez is one of the most famous Florida Gators in history thanks to his murder trial, but we’re thinking ON the field (and maybe one off it), rather than OFF it. And by the way, Jeff Driskel’s not making the list. Sorry, Driskelians.

 

1. Tim Tebow (QB)

Won a Heisman Trophy, two National Championships, two SEC Championships, and went super-iconic with his speech after the Gators lost to Ole Miss at home in 2008. Later that season he brought them a National Championship. Simply didn’t know how to give up, and was as happy beating defenses with his arm as well as his legs. It helped that he had some great playmakers around him, but he was THE playmaker on those Urban Meyer offenses. His 9,285 yards passing and 88 TDs, coupled with 2,947 yards rushing and 57 TDs would indicate that.

2. Steve Spurrier (QB/Coach)

Oh, and as a quarterback, Spurrier wasn’t bad either, winning a Heisman Trophy and passing for 2,000 yards and 16 TDs in his successful 1966 season. Not bad for a Johnson City, Tennessee native. As a coach, Steve Spurrier is a grumpy ole pain in the ass, and we love him for it. Without him, the world of SEC head coaches becomes incredibly dull. As a coach at Florida, Steve Spurrier never lost against Peyton Manning (“I know why Peyton came back for his senior year: he wanted to be a three-time Citrus Bowl MVP!”), which helped to increasingly ignite rivalries between Georgia and Tennessee. Actually, in his time against Georgia, he was 11-1 in the Cocktail Party. That’s not really a rivalry, unless you’re on The Landing. Seriously, if it wasn’t for Spurrier, we wonder where Florida football would be right now. His ‘Fun ‘N’ Gun’ offenses were awesome, bringing home a National Championship in 1996, and six SEC Championships.

3. Emmitt Smith (RB)

This wasn’t debatable. Smith might not have won a Heisman Trophy when he was in Gainseville, but he broke records for rushing yards in a season (1,599), the single game rushing record (316), career rushing yards (3,928), career TDs (36), and career yards per game (126.3), as well as a bunch of others. All in 3 years. And he had injury issues. He didn’t have a bad career as a running back in the NFL, too. Who drafted him again?

4. Danny Wuerffel (QB)

If there’s one “Fun ‘N’ Gun” offense that sticks out, it’s the 1996 National Championship with Danny Wuerffel as a QB. During his career, he threw for a quiet 10,875 yards and 39 TDs (most in SEC history, second-most in college football history) in his four years as a Gator, including back-to-back 3,000 yards seasons in his junior and senior year. Oh, and he won a Heisman Trophy in 1996, too. The NFL Scouts still didn’t like him much, drafting him in the fourth round, where he did precious little at the New Orleans Saints. He won the World Bowl with the Rhein Fire though!!

5. Jack Youngblood (DE)

The Pro Football Hall of Fame DE was pretty good in college, too. He didn’t even come into UF as a defensive end, either. He played as a linebacker at high school. His 14 sacks in 1969 was a school record, and he led the team in tackles with 66. In his freshman year, he did a touch of kicking, too. In 1970, he was an All-American and had 58 tackles and 10 sacks. He went in the first round to the LA Rams, where played for 13 years.

6. Wilber Marshall (LB)

The greatest linebacker to play in the orange and blue, he won three straight all-SEC honors (1981-83) and two straight all-American picks (1981-2). He was ferocious, recording 343 tackles – 58 of them for a loss – and 23 sacks, and was a Lombardi Award finalist in 1982 and 1983, losing out to Kenneth Sims (Texas) and Dave Rimington (Nebraska) respectively. A dominant force in the SEC, it was hardly surprising when he was the 11th pick of the 1984 NFL Draft. He had 11 years in the league, earning 2 All-Pro Spots and more importantly, two Super Bowls. Sadly, his injuries as a player have caught up with him as a retiree.

7. Percy Harvin (WR)

When Urban Meyer needed a game-changing play or someone to scare the life out of defenses, he called on Harvin, and Harvin answered the call. In three glittering Gator years (2006-8), Harvin helped the Gators to two National Championships, as well as 1,852 yards rushing and 1,929 yards receiving, and totalling 32 touchdowns. He was, in short, a freak. We still wonder why he can’t replicate his skills in the NFL, where he’s- if we’re honest – struggled. Maybe it’s because he’s not a God in Gainseville.

8. Carlos Alvarez (WR)

Considered by some as the greatest wide receiver to play at the school, Alvarez’s coming out party was in 1969, where he led the SEC in receptions (88), yards receiving (1,329), receiving TDs (12), yards from scrimmage (1,329). This was one of the greatest seasons by a player in school history – and probably will be for a long, long time. Alvarez finished his career with 2,563 yards receiving and 19 TDs, but everyone’s still talking about his 1969.

9. Wes Chandler (WR)

It was weird, but Chandler’s career as a Gator really didn’t take off until his junior year. But when it did, he was magnificent, posting 2,350 yards and 28 TDs from scrimmage. He also handled punt and kick-off returns. He led the SEC in receiving touchdowns in 1975 and 1976, and receptions (1976). Oh, and Chandler was a first-team All-American and All-SEC receivers in 1976 and 1977. And while he hasn’t been named to the College Football Hall of Fame (yet), he’s recognised one of the Gators best-ever players.

10. Rex Grossman (QB)

Although Rex’s  quarterbacking career in the NFL has been somewhat of a failure considering the numbers he put up in college, Grossman played for Steve Spurrier and Ron Zook, and flourished under both coaches. In 2000 he took the job as a redshirt freshman, throwing for 1,866 yards and 21 TDs, but in 2001 and 2002 he simply got better. In 2001 he earned second place in the Heisman Trophy voting to Nebraska’s Eric Crouch after posting 3,896 yards passing and 34 TDs. In 2002 he threw for 3,402 yards and 22 TDs in a slightly less successful season and declared for the NFL Draft in his junior year.

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