Friday, October 31, 2014

Top 5 RB's in Gator Football History

Last week, I began my newest "Top 5" series by highlighting the best quarterbacks to ever play for the University of Florida. This week, I will be giving my take on the top 5 running backs to move the pigskin for the Orange and Blue. Without further adieu, here they are!

#5 John L. Williams (1982-1985)

Number 22 might be associated with Emmitt Smith, but before Emmitt there was John L. Williams. Forming a dynamic duo in the Gator backfield with teammate Neal Anderson (who appears later in this list), Williams ran for 14 touchdowns and 2,409 rushing yards in his Gator career. He helped lead Florida to a Gator Bowl victory in 1983 and was a part of two 9-1-1 squads.

Some accolades he earned while playing for UF include:
  • Second-team All-SEC in 1984 and 1985
  • Honorable mention All-American in 1985
  • UF Hall of Fame inductee in 1997
Williams would get drafted 15th overall in the 1986 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. He played nine solid seasons in the NFL and made two Pro Bowls. He concluded his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1995.

#4 Neal Anderson (1982-1985)

The complement to Williams as I mentioned above, Neal Anderson carried the bulk of the work between the two backs. As a Gator, Anderson ran for 30 touchdowns and 3,234 yards. As these stats clearly indicate, he played a big role in both the Gators' 9-1-1 seasons as a junior and a senior in 1984 and 1985. He also was a member of that 1983 squad that won the Gator Bowl. I figured this was obvious because he played the exact same years as Williams.

While running for 16 more touchdowns and approximately 800 more yards than Williams, it is safe to assume that Anderson garnered some awards during his years at Florida. Some of these accolades include:
  • Honorable mention All-American in 1984 and 1985
  • First Team All-SEC in 1985
  • UF Hall of Fame inductee in 1995
In the 1986 NFL Draft, Anderson went 27th overall to the Chicago Bears. His career was shorter than Williams but productive as he went to four Pro Bowls in his seven year career.

#3 Fred Taylor (1994-1997)

Fred Taylor is the only running back on this list to win a National Championship as he was a member of the 12-1 Gator team that won it all in 1996. Taylor was at UF right in the middle of the program's golden years and helped lead the Gators to bowl victories in the 1997 Sugar Bowl (the National Championship) and the 1998 Citrus Bowl. He provided a great running game to aid an already loaded offense with quarterback Danny Wuerffel.

Taylor finished his collegiate career with 31 rushing touchdowns and 3,075 rushing yards. Besides winning a National Championship, Taylor earned some other honors that include:
  • SEC Champion in 1994, 1995, and 1996
  • First Team All-SEC in 1997
  • Third Team All-American in 1997
  • UF Hall of Fame inductee in 2010
In the 1998 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars were able to keep Taylor in the state of Florida by drafting him ninth overall.  He played 10 years for the Jags before finishing his career with the New England Patriots in 2010. He made one Pro Bowl in 2007 and totaled 11,695 yards in his NFL career.

His son, Kelvin Taylor, is currently a sophomore at the University of Florida and plays running back as well. He wears #21 to honor his father.

#2 Errict Rhett (1989-1993)

The predecessor to Fred Taylor, Errict Rhett was nothing short of a stud during his time at the University of Florida. He cashed in 34 touchdowns on the ground and has the most rushing yards on this list with 4,163.

He led the Gators to victory in a fog-clouded Gator Bowl in 1992 and capped off his Gator career with a three touchdown performance in the 1994 Sugar Bowl his senior year. Rhett's performance in the Sugar Bowl would be enough to earn him the game's MVP honors.

Behind Rhett's legs, the Gators posted a 10-2 record in 1991 and an 11-2 record in 1993. He did most of his damage during his sophomore and senior years while regressing a tad during his junior year. His efforts overall would not go unrewarded as Rhett was able to claim a few honors during his Gator years. These awards include:
  • SEC Champion in 1991 and 1993
  • First Team All-SEC in 1991 and 1993
  • First Team All-American in 1993
  • UF Hall of Fame inductee in 2006
Rhett is the only player on this list to not go in the first round as he was drafted 34th in the second round of the 1994 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. To put that into perspective, he was the second pick of the second round which by no means is bad. Rhett only played in the NFL for six years and ended his career with the Cleveland Browns in 2000.

#1 Emmitt Smith (1987-1989)

Landing the top spot on my list is no other than Emmitt Smith. Taking over in between the Williams/Anderson and Rhett eras, Emmitt was a force to be reckoned with. In just three years as a Gator, he tallied the most rushing touchdowns on this list with 36 along with 3,928 rushing yards. Had Emmitt stayed for his senior year, he easily would have had the most rushing yards on this list and cracked over 40 rushing touchdowns.

Emmitt played on mediocre Gator teams throughout his collegiate career and was able to notch just one bowl victory in the form of the 1988 All-American Bowl. Regardless, the team's record and bowl performances cast a very minuscule shadow on Emmitt's individual performances. Some of his awards and honors include:
  • MVP of 1988 All-American Bowl
  • First Team All-SEC in 1987, 1988, and 1989
  • All-American in 1989
  • SEC MVP in 1989
  • College Football Hall of Fame inductee in 2006
  • Inducted into the UF Ring of Honor in 2006 (with Steve Spurrier & Danny Wuerffel)
  • UF Hall of Fame inductee in 1999
Emmitt was drafted 17th overall in the 1990 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys and went on to have a phenomenal 14 year career. In the NFL, Emmitt won three Super Bowl titles, a Super Bowl MVP, made eight Pro Bowls, and currently holds the career records for rushing yards (18,355) and rushing touchdowns (164). He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2010.

Arguably one of the best running backs to ever play the game, I am proud to say that Emmitt Smith was and will forever be a Florida Gator!

Honorable Mention: DeShawn Wynn (2003-2006), Chris Rainey (2007-2011), Jeff Demps (2008-2011), Mike Gillislee (2009-2012)

I hope you enjoyed this Top 5 article! In my next article in this series, I will be skipping the worst five running backs and moving on to the top five wide receivers to ever don a Gator uniform. Until then, stay tuned for my upcoming article on the Florida/Georgia game that will be taking place tomorrow, November 1, at 3:30 p.m.

*All stats accredited to, College Football @, &

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Worst 5 QB's in Gator Football History (Since the 70's)

Gator football has had a proud history of producing some of the greatest quarterbacks in college football history. In my last article, I highlighted some of the best quarterbacks to ever suit up for the Orange and Blue.

This week, I'll be taking a trip down a painful memory lane as I rank the worst five Gator quarterbacks ever. Without further adieu, here they are!

#5 John Brantley IV (2008-2011)

John Brantley IV is a second generation Gator as his father (who we will see later on this list) played at UF in the seventies. He was one of my first clear cut choices for this list as the Gators' slide into mediocrity began with Brantley under center.

Succeeding Tim Tebow for the 2010 season, Brantley managed a 14-10 career record in his two seasons as the Gator starting QB. He was a member of the 2008 National Championship squad as Tebow's backup, but was never able to bring UF to a bowl game of this significance or even to an SEC Championship. The two bowl victories that Brantley delivered were the 2010 Outback Bowl and 2011 Gator Bowl.

Brantley finished his UF career with 30 passing touchdowns, 4,750 passing yards, 18 interceptions, and a 61.7 completion percentage. These stats may not seem too bad compared to others on this list, but it is the performance of the team that I also take into account. Once Brantley took the reigns on offense, the Gators went from National Championship contenders to a middle of the pack SEC team playing in midlevel bowl games.

Brantley would go undrafted in the 2012 NFL draft and signed with the Baltimore Ravens shortly after. He was cut during preseason.

#4 Jeff Driskel (2011-Present)

Oh, Jeff. I'll be completely honest here: I have never been a fan of Jeff Driskel during my time here at the University of Florida. However, after seeing what has been another dreadful season so far in 2014, I have come to realize that Jeff is just a product of terrible coaching. He has had three different offensive coordinators throughout his Gator career so far.

Jeff was the #1 QB recruit coming out of high school and has been an absolute bust here at UF. Currently, he holds a career record of 12-6 as the Gator starting QB. His sophomore year he led the Gators to an 11-2 record and a Sugar Bowl berth, but many Gators fans are now convinced that season was a fluke.

In 2013, Jeff got hurt in just the third game of the season and the Gators went 4-8 without him at the helm. Regardless, Jeff's career at UF has been a forgettable one as he has tallied 20 touchdowns, 20 interceptions, 3,199 passing yards, and a 59.5 completion percentage.

Currently, Jeff has been benched in favor of true freshman Treon Harris for UF's upcoming game against Georgia and will most likely pursue a baseball career with the Boston Red Sox after he graduates from UF.

#3 John Brantley III (1977-1978)

(Brantley is on the far right)

Like I said earlier in the article, here is Papa Brantley. He played two seasons as the Gator starting quarterback and went 10-11-1. He threw 13 touchdowns for a total of 1,515 yards, 14 interceptions, and had a 48.5 completion percentage. The Gators went 4-7 against their six main rivals (Georgia, Florida State, Tennessee, Auburn, Miami, and LSU) and did not make a bowl game with Brantley.

#2 David Bowden (1972-1973)
(No Picture Available)

Similar to Brantley, David Bowden started two seasons for the Gators at QB. He went 12-10-1 and lost the only bowl game he led the Gators to (the 1973 Tangerine Bowl). He finished his career with 19 touchdown passes, 20 interceptions, 2,192 passing yards, and a 49.7 completion percentage.

#1 Larry Ochab (1978-1980)

(Ochab is second from Brantley on the right)

Topping off my list is Larry Ochab. With him as the starting QB in the late seventies, the Gators reached an ultimate low point as they went winless in 1979. Overall, he would post a 4-17-1 record at UF while completing 50.6 percent of his passes for eight touchdowns, 1,466 yards, and 16 interceptions. He is the only QB on this list who never led the Florida Gators to a winning season. 

Dishonorable Mention: Cam Newton, Jacoby Brissett, Tyler Murphy (all transfered)

I hope you enjoyed this article recapping some of the lesser talented QB's to play at the University of Florida. Next week, I will be releasing my next installment of this series as I rank the top five running backs in Gator history! Stay tuned!

*All stats accredited to & College Football @

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Top 5 QB's in Gator Football History

The University of Florida has had a proud of history of football up until these recent years. In the glory years preceding what has been some dark times in Gainesville, the Gators have had some legendary players at the position of quarterback.

In a new Top 5 series that I will be doing all throughout the conclusion of the 2014 Gator football season, I will be ranking my top five best and worst players at each position in Florida football history. Without further adieu, here are my Top 5 quarterbacks in the history of Gator football.

#5 John Reaves (1969-1971)

Kicking off my list is John Reaves, a well known QB to the older fans of the Gator Nation. As the starting quarterback for the Orange and Blue, Reaves posted a career record of 20-13-1 in three seasons. He finished his career with 7,549 passing yards, 54 passing touchdowns, and a 53.5 completion percentage. He won just one award, which was the Sammy Baugh Trophy in 1971.

His most significant bowl victory came in his first season as the starting quarterback in 1969. That year, he led the Gators to a 9-1-1 record and a 14-13 victory over the rival #11 Tennessee Volunteers in the 1969 Gator Bowl. This was Florida's best year with Reaves at quarterback.

A defining moment during the Reaves era came in his last collegiate game against the Miami Hurricanes in 1971. Needing just 14 more yards to break Jim Plunkett's NCAA record for all time passing yards in a career, Reaves threw an interception late in the game with the Gators up 45-8. As Miami attempted to run out the clock, almost everyone on the Gator defense literally fell down and allowed the Hurricanes to score.

With a little time still left in the game, the Gators got the ball back and Reaves completed a 15-yard pass to wide receiver Carlos Alvarez to break Plunkett's record. The Gators' stunt on defense was infamously nicknamed the "Gator Flop" and tensions between the Gators and Hurricanes have been high ever since.

After graduating from UF, Reaves was drafted 14th overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1972 NFL Draft. After bouncing around between a few teams and a short stint in the USFL, Reaves hung up his cleats in 1987.

#4 Chris Leak (2003-2006)

Chris Leak ushered in the beginning of the Gator dynasty of the mid-2000's as he led the Gators to a National Championship his senior year. Leak went 25-9 as a starter and finished his career with 11,213 passing yards, 88 passing touchdowns, and a 61.4 completion percentage. He has the highest amount of passing yards on this list. During his senior year, he led the Gators to an SEC title with a 38-28 victory over Arkansas in the SEC Championship.

His most notable bowl victory is clearly the 2007 BCS National Championship as the #2 Gators defeated the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes soundly 41-14 for the school's second ever National Championship. Leak played well in his final collegiate game as he completed 25 of 36 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown.

After going out on top, Leak went undrafted but ended up signing with the Chicago Bears. He was cut at the end of preseason, and pursued some short lived endeavors in All American Football League, the Canadian Football League, and the Arena Football League.

Leak could not stay away from UF forever. In 2013 (soon to be fired) head coach Will Muschamp brought him in to be a graduate assistant. In 2014, he was promoted to wide receivers coach.

#3 Steve Spurrier (1964-1966)

Before he was the "Ol' Ball Coach", Steve Spurrier was a quarterback at UF. He was the first Heisman winner in UF history and totaled 4,848 passing yards, 36 passing touchdowns, and a 56.6 completion percentage in his three year career as a Gator. Spurrier's low numbers have to be excused because we have to remember this was the mid-1960's. Football was played in a completely different manner back then and Spurrier putting up these numbers at the time was huge by his era's standards.

Spurrier went 23-9 as a starter and his most significant bowl victory came in the form of a 27-12 victory over #8 Georgia Tech in the 1967 Orange Bowl. Besides the big achievement of winning the Heisman in 1966, some of Spurrier's other accolades include being named a Consensus All-American, SEC Player of the Year, and also winning the Walter Camp Award in 1966.

Spurrier was inducted into the UF Ring of Honor in 2006. He is just one of five players who hold a spot in this sacred and very exclusive club. It commemorates and retires the numbers of legendary players in the program. He is also in the College Football Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 1986.

Spurrier was selected third overall in the 1967 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers and played nine years there before being traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After 10 years, he called it a career and finished with 6,878 passing yards, 40 passing touchdowns, and 60 interceptions.

In 1990, Spurrier became the head coach of the University of Florida and helped guide the team to six SEC titles and the school's first ever National Championship in 1996. He stayed until 2002, when he decided to take the leap to the NFL by coaching the Washington Redskins.

After going 12-20 in the NFL, Spurrier came back to the college scene and began coaching at the University of South Carolina in 2005. He is still there to this day and has posted an 81-42 record with the Gamecocks.

#2 Danny Wuerffel (1993-1996)

Danny Wuerffel was integral to the success of Steve Spurrier's Florida teams in the early and mid-1990's. As a starter, he went 45-6-1 and won the second Heisman in school history his senior year in 1996. Wuerffel won an SEC title in every season throughout his four year career as a Gator. He finished his collegiate career with 10,875 passing yards, 110 passing touchdowns, and a 60.5 completion percentage.

Wuerffel posted a 2-2 record in bowl games. Both the bowl games he won were the Sugar Bowl and he won them during his freshman and senior years. The first Sugar Bowl victory in 1994 was a rout as the underdog Gators defeated #2 West Virginia 41-7.

The second Sugar Bowl victory in 1997 has to be by far the sweetest as the #3 Gators defeated the #1 ranked Florida State Seminoles 52-20 to claim the university's first ever National Championship. Wuerffel threw for three touchdowns and ran for one touchdown in this game.

I'll also mention that this was the second meeting of the year between these two rivals with the Seminoles having won 24-21 in the regular season finale. At the end of the day, the Gators did indeed get the last laugh.

Besides his Heisman in 1996, some of Wuerffel's other achievement include:
  • Two Davey O'Brien Awards in 1995 and 1996
  • Sammy Baugh Trophy in 1995
  • SEC Player of the Year in 1995 
  • Consensus All American in 1996 
  • Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award in 1996
  • Quarterback of the Year Award in 1996
  • Maxwell Award in 1996
  • SEC Player of the Year in 1996
  • Walter Camp Player of the Year Award in 1996
  • Winning 4 SEC titles, including the first one ever in Gator football history in 1993
  • Inducted into the Florida Ring of Honor in 2006 (along with Steve Spurrier)
After Florida, Wuerffel was selected in the fourth round of the 1997 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He played there for three years and played for a few other teams before retiring shortly after.

In 2000, he won MVP of the World Bowl while playing overseas for NFL Europa after leading the Rhein Fire to victory over the Scottish Claymores. After that, Wuerffel called it quits for good. In 2013, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

#1 Tim Tebow (2006-2009)

Is anyone really surprised? It was a really hard decision between Tebow and Wuerffel at who deserved to be #1, but at the end of the day I had to pick Tim. He was instrumental in the Gators 2006 National Championship run as he played in every game as a true freshman. In the 2007 BCS National Championship, he ran and threw for one touchdown a piece.

Once Chris Leak graduated, it was Tebow's turn to lead the team and he did not disappoint as he posted a career record of 35-6 as the Gator starting QB. He made history his sophomore year as he became the first sophomore ever to win the Heisman! He is the third and final Gator player to ever win the award. He finished his UF career with 9,285 passing yards, 88 passing touchdowns, and a 66.4 completion percentage. That's just one phase of his offensive game, though.

What makes Tebow different from the four QB's I mentioned before him (and ultimately helped me pick him over Wuerffel) was his ability to use his legs. Tim rushed for 2,947 yards and 57 touchdowns!

After helping Chris Leak and the Gators win the 2007 BCS National Championship, it was all on Tebow going into 2009 title game against the #2 Oklahoma Sooners. Tebow completed 18 of 30 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 110 yards. Of course, I can't forget the epic halftime speech he gave that, no lie, did more than enough to motivate the Gators to bring this championship back to Gainesville.

Tim's signature moment (besides the speech) came in the fourth quarter of this game. On third down and goal with the Gators up three points and a little over three minutes left in the game, Tebow faked a run and then completed a jump pass to wide receiver David Nelson. This play, which lives on forever in Gator lore, clinched the Gators' second National Championship in three years and third championship overall.

During Tim's senior year, the Gators came within one win of playing for a third National Championship, but fell just short with a 32-13 loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2009 SEC Championship. The Gators had to settle with the 2010 Sugar Bowl against #4 Cincinnati and unlike that joke of a 2013 Sugar Bowl, they showed up and smoked Cincy 51-24. This was a very fitting way for Tim to end his collegiate career.

Apart from being the first ever sophomore to win the Heisman like I mentioned earlier and winning two National Championships, Tim Tebow had a highly decorated career during his time at UF. Some of his other accolades include:

  • AP Player of the Year Award in 2007
  • Consensus All-American in 2007
  • Davey O'Brien Award in 2007
  • Quarterback of the Year Award in 2007
  • Two Maxwell Awards in 2007 and 2008
  • Manning Award in 2008
  • SEC Offensive Player of the Year in 2008 and 2009
  • William V. Campbell Trophy in 2009
  • 2008 SEC Championship MVP
  • Offensive MVP of the 2009 BCS National Championship Game
  • MVP of the 2010 Sugar Bowl
  • Heisman finalist in 2008 and 2009
  • Beat rival Florida State by a composite score of 127-37 as a three year starter
  • Beat rival Georgia every year as a member of the team
  • Won three SEC titles in his four year career
  • SEC Record of 57 career rushing touchdowns
  • SEC Record of 23 rushing touchdowns in a single season (tied with Auburn running back Tre Mason)
After graduating in 2009, Tim Tebow went 25th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft to the Denver Broncos. His NFL career was short lived and magnified by ESPN the entire way because of his vocality on his Christian faith. Tebow's defining moment in the NFL came when he connected with Demaryius Thomas on an 80-yard touchdown pass to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card Game in Denver.

Once Tebow was traded to the New York Jets, his career was essentially over as head coach Rex Ryan never used him. He tried one last comeback attempt with the New England Patriots, but they cut him during preseason.

Tim is currently an analyst for the SEC Network and still dreams of playing in the NFL one day. He may not have had the skills to compete in the NFL, but nobody can take away what he achieved at the collegiate level. In my opinion, he is the greatest UF quarterback of all time!

Honorable Mention: Rex Grossman (2000-2002), Kerwin D. Bell (1984-1987), Shane Matthews (1989-1992)

I hope you enjoyed this Top 5 article! My next article will be a tad bit harsher as I rank the five worst quarterbacks to ever play for the Florida Gators. Stay tuned until next week!

*All stats accredited to & College Football @