Last season, many fans didn't know what to expect from Florida sophomore quarterback Tim Tebow. Tebow gained fame from his head-butting runs and key touchdowns in clutch situations for the 2006 Gators. The main question was: Could Tebow throw?
Well, if Tebow's 9,810 passing yards and 95 touchdowns at Nease High School (Jacksonville, FL) weren't convincing enough, his performance in 2007 erased all doubt. Tebow was unstoppable through the air, amassing 3,132 passing yards, 32 touchdowns, and a passer rating of 177.8, good enough for second in the NCAA.
Tebow, however, did not give up his running ways, leading the Gators with 838 rushing yards and scoring 23 touchdowns on the ground. Tebow set the college football world on fire, becoming the first player to pass and rush for 20 touchdowns in a single season.
Tebow's accomplishments earned him the 2007 Heisman Trophy, making him the first underclassman to be named a Heisman winner.
Now, heading into 2008, many of the same fans who wondered if he could even throw the ball effectively in the SEC have a new question: Can Tebow win a second Heisman Trophy?
If Tebow were to collect an additional Heisman this season or in 2009, he would join former Ohio State running back Archie Griffin as the only two-time winners of the Heisman Trophy. After an incredible 2007 season, Tebow enters the 2008 college football season as the favorite to win college football's most prestigious individual award.
Although he is the favorite, the odds standing between Tebow and history are great. With Florida's newfound depth at running back with Chris Rainey and USC transfer Emmanuel Moody, it's safe to assume that Tebow will not be as productive on the ground this season.
However, with less pressure on Tebow to make plays on his feet, he should become even more productive in the passing game. Tebow possesses a very strong arm and good accuracy as demonstrated by his high passer rating and six interceptions in 2007.
Plus, Tebow has a massive array of playmakers to distribute the ball to, including wide receivers Percy Harvin, Carl Moore, and Riley Cooper, as well as Rainey and Moody.
In addition, Florida coach Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator Dan Mullen saw the wear and tear Tebow underwent in 2007. Talks in Gainesville have surfaced that Florida may incorporate a two-quarterback system with backup quarterback Cameron Newton, similar to the Chris Leak-Tebow tandem used by the 2006 BCS Champions.
In order to repeat as the Heisman winner, Tebow will have to put up monstrous numbers through the air to compensate for a decrease in rushing yards and touchdowns. With the high availability of playmakers at Florida and his lessened workload, it is very possible that Tebow might just do it.
The odds are great, but you can't count him out until the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner is announced in New York this December.