Amidst the excitement of being victorious in the 2008 National Championship, one burning question still lingered over the Florida football team: Would Tim Tebow return for his senior season?
With the possibility of potential departures from the team, including the chance of losing middle linebacker Brandon Spikes and wide receiver Percy Harvin, as well as some members of the coaching staff, the real aftershock of this season would probably have been losing 2007 Heisman winner Tim Tebow.
However, the starting quarterback of the Gators left us with little time to ponder the thought, or discuss his NFL future.
Just three days after engineering the Gators to their second title in three seasons, Tebow announced he'd be returning in 2009.
That is, not until he had fans on the edge of their seats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium's Championship Celebration.
After accepting the Offensive Most Valuable Player honors, Tebow proceeded to thank his teammates, coaches and the fans. Before walking off the stage, Tebow provided words that Florida fans across the country were dying to hear.
"Oh, and by the way, one more thing," Tebow announced. "Let's do it again. I'm coming back."
The roar of the crowd possibly overpowered an entire city, as the Florida quarterback stepped off the stage.
Tebow will step onto the football field once more, a confinement that has seen the burly gunslinger develop tremendously over the course of the past three seasons, making an impact from the day he signed with the program.
In 2006, he was the running back that Florida lacked, outworking and physically overpowering opponents on short yardage situations, beating teams with his feet, and in some instances through the air.
Following the 2006 National Championship, Tebow become Florida's starting quarterback. Few were impressed with what they'd seen in Tebow the year before, mostly due to the fact that he hadn't shown off his arm much. They begin to wonder about Tebow's role at the position, and question his throwing ability.
The hardware under his belt in 2007 says it all.
Tebow won the Maxwell Award as the Nation's best overall player, the Davey O'Brien award as the Nation's top quarterback, and the James E. Sullivan Award as the Nation's most outstanding amateur athlete in any sport.
In a season that saw Tebow do it all, he accounted for an SEC record in terms of rushing touchdowns and touchdowns accounted for in a single season. (He had 23 rushing touchdowns, and 55 overall touchdowns)
The previous two seasons saw a statistical monster grind it out and will his Gators to victory, but in 2008 Tim Tebow had adapted his overall game to the play makers around him, and his position as a whole.
Although he had 13 less touchdowns overall in 2008 compared to 2007, Tebow was still invited to the Heisman Ceremony in New York City. While it was unlikely that he'd win the award, especially against what seemed to be superior competition out of the Big XII, Tebow would be the first to tell you that of the past three seasons, this was his favorite.
Why is that, you might ask?
He achieved a feat only two other Gator quarterbacks had done before him, and that's winning the National Championship. So maybe he doesn't have four trophies to show for, maybe he doesn't have the amazing statistics of 2007, but a crystal football known as the Coaches Trophy eases all the grief Tebow might have.
Any average player would be happy with a three year career of this glory, and would be willing to take the step up and join the NFL.
Not Tim Tebow.
Despite the trophies, the statistics that blow fans away, and the two National Championships he's been a part of, Tebow is still hungry for one thing: An undefeated season.
Returning at the helm as Florida's quarterback in 2009 gives the Gators a good shot at an unblemished campaign next season, and that will be a top priority for Tebow and company.
Ah, has the season begun yet?
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