Florida Gators: Will John Brantley Become The First Gator QB to Be Successful In The NFL?
Few can argue that the Florida Gators have been one of the most successful college football programs over the past 20 years.
During that period, Florida has won eight SEC and three National Championships. No other SEC team can come close to those accomplishments.
However, one thing the Gators have struggled with over it's history is providing a successful QB for the NFL. Many have tried, but none have succeeded.
Perhaps John Brantley is that QB. He possesses an NFL arm, and now that Tim Tebow has graduated, he has the opportunity to show everyone how good he really is.
Brantley will be the starter for the 2010 season, and if provided the tools to succeed, he should be a pleasant surprise for the Gator Nation, and those who feel the Gators will struggle in the post-Tebow era.
Tebow will have his shot, but many feel he is a long-shot at making it as a QB in the NFL. John Brantley is more of a prototypical NFL QB than Tebow, hence one of the reasons for this slideshow.
Until that happens, let's take a look at five QBs that have left Florida and attempted a career in the NFL, and see what they are doing today.
No. 5: Jesse Palmer (1997-2000)
The Gator Nation remembers Jesse Palmer as a QB, but outside of Gainesville, most know him as The Bachelor.
Drafted in the fourth round by the NY Giants, Palmer spent four years as a backup to Kerry Collins. He is the second QB born in Canada to start an NFL game (Mark Rypien was the first).
Currently, Palmer is a studio analyst for ESPN on College Football Live.
No. 4: Rex Grossman (1999-2002)
Rex Grossman was a fan favorite during the end of the Steve Spurrier era, and was Coach Ron Zook's go to guy before he bailed after his junior season for the NFL. He was also the the runner-up to the Heisman Trophy during his sophomore season.
A first-round draft pick of the Chicago Bears, the first three seasons of his professional career were shadowed by injuries. His first complete season was in 2006, and he led the Bears to the NFC Championship.
Unfortunately, he officially lost his starting job three weeks into the 2007 season. His tenure with the Bears ended after the 2008 season.
In 2009 he signed with the Houston Texans as a backup to Matt Schaub. He played in one game against the Jacksonville Jaguars throwing nine passes while completing three. He also had an interception.
To date he is still with the Houston Texans, but he only has a one-year contract with the team. We shall see where "Sexy Rexy" ends up in 2010.
No. 3: Steve Spurrier (1963-66)
No way could the OBC be left out of a list of former Florida QB greats. The man who brought Florida football into the national spotlight in 1990 during his first season as head coach, Stephen Orr Spurrier was a two-time All-American at the University of Florida and 1966 Heisman Trophy winner.
As head coach of the University of Florida, he had a record of 122-27-1, and had only one defeat to hated rival Georgia Bulldogs. He also won six SEC and one National Championship.
Coach Spurrier, after a brief and dull stint as the head coach of the Washington Redskins, is now back in the SEC East as leader of the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Regardless of where he is, Coach Spurrier will always be a fan favorite of the Gator Nation.
No. 2: Danny Wuerffel (1993-96)
It took "Superman", aka Tim Tebow, to knock Danny Wuerffel down to the No. 2 spot. Oops, I ruined who wins the No. 1 spot.
Daniel Carl Wuerffel was no doubt the favorite QB of Steve Spurrier during his tenure as head coach of the University of Florida.
Wuerffel's crowning achievement during his time at Florida was leading the Gators to the 1996 National Championship and winning the Heisman Trophy that same year.
During his career at Florida, he threw for 10,875 yards on 1,169 attempts while completing 708 passes.
Upon his exit from Florida, he was a fourth-round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints, and remained with the team from 1997-2000.
After six seasons in the NFL and one season with the Rhein Fire (which he led to the World Bowl in 2000 and won MVP), he retired in 2006.
Wuerffel now heads Desire Street Ministries; its headquarters (and his home) was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. He has vowed to rebuild Desire Street Ministries, and assist with the recovery of New Orleans.
The Gator Nation will never forget this....
No. 1: Tim Tebow (2006-09)
Without a doubt, Tim Tebow is currently the most popular Gator athlete in the school's history, and arguably the greatest college football player of all time.
What made Tebow so special during his time at Florida was not only his production on the field, but what he also did off the field. An entire book could be written on what he accomplished during his brief time at Florida.
Tebow has been a winner his entire life, and now he is faced with proving critics wrong as he enters the 2010 NFL Draft. He has let the world know that he wants to be a QB, but some feel he will never make it at that position.
We shall see.