Stephen Morton/Associated Press
Tim Tebow arrived on campus as a mega-recruit with absurdly high expectations from an already ambitious Florida fanbase.
He exceeded them all.
Florida won a pair of national championships with Tebow: one when he played a reserve role—primarily as a runner—in 2006, and another in 2008. Tebow led a Gators offense that seemingly moved the ball at will throughout his four-year stint in Gainesville.
As a true freshman in 2006, Tebow made an impact, even though Chris Leak took the majority of the snaps. Tebow rushed for eight touchdowns and passed for five more, including this iconic toss in a statement victory over LSU.
In 2007, Tebow became the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy. He set an eye-grabbing record along the way, accounting for 55 total touchdowns—32 through the air, 23 on the ground.
He led the SEC in passing that season as well, throwing for 3,286 yards, but finished runner-up to Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden in SEC Offensive Player of the Year voting.
Tebow captured SEC Offensive Player of the Year honors in each of the next two seasons and placed in the top five of Heisman balloting both times.
Though Tebow didn’t capture a second consecutive Heisman Trophy in 2008—he finished third—he led the Gators to the BCS National Championship.
Tebow showed off his leadership that season, guiding Florida to a run of dominance after an embarrassing loss to Ole Miss that prompted this response.
No player had a greater impact on his team over the course of four years than Tebow did. He accounted for 145 total touchdowns during his time in Gainesville.
Not only did Tebow find ways to lead the Gators down the field through the air, he served as a human battering ram on third-and-short or goal-line situations.
Tebow’s skill, toughness and tenacity make him the easy choice as the SEC’s top player of the BCS era.