Both reign at the top of their respective collegiate sports, where only their overwhelming popularity outweighs their skill upon the hardcourt and turf.
Tyler Hansbrough is the do-everything forward for possibly the most popular college basketball team in the country. Tim Tebow plays the role of Superman for one of college football's most dominant teams of the last decade.
Hansbrough is applauded for his toughness as he snatches rebounds from those who tower over him, and as he takes ping pong shots to the chest from players he creates a shadow over.
Tebow has gained notoriety for his ability to trample over tentative defenders and for his exceptional character (Front-Runner for Most Beaten to Death College Football Story of the Year).
However, it remains unclear whether either of them will transform into an elite professional after making the collegiate competition their playground.
Hansbrough has drawn comparisons to Mark Madsen. It's not exactly high praise for a Wooden Award Winner to be compared to an NBA journeyman known mostly for his awkward championship celebration.
I think Hansbrough will be better than Madsen, but he won't be able to have nearly the same influence on the professional game as he did on the college game. Hansbrough won't be able to out-muscle big men like he now does in the ACC and will struggle to find scoring opportunities as easily as he does now.
I think the most favorable comparison for Hansbrough could be Charles Oakley, as he plays the consummate third banana his entire career (Oakley's career stats: 9.7 ppg, 9.5 rpg).
I don't think Tyler Hansbrough will be a star in the NBA, but he does have a legitimate chance to be a distinguished role player on solid playoff teams. His hustle and tenacity will be a huge plus for any team, but they will only take his NBA career so far.
As for Tebow, his numbers appear to stack up a lot better for the NFL. Tebow had a 67 percent completion rating last year for the Gators.
Yet much of Tebow's effectiveness depends on his ability to run the football. In the NFL, everyone is able to chase down quarterbacks on defense and can bottle up even the fleetest of quarterbacks.
Tebow also isn't amazingly fast. He was clocked last year at 4.52, which isn't bad—but that is close to Vernon Gholston's average 40 time of 4.65, even though Gholston was also clocked at 4.50.
The point is, NFL players are faster across the board and won't allow Tebow to run wild around them.
Tebow also won't be able to play his bruising style in the NFL. He is 6'2", 238 pounds whereas Peyton Manning is 6'5 and 230 pounds. Yes, Peyton has three inches on him, but he isn't exactly a bruiser himself.
When you take a look at Tebow's passing numbers last season, there is reason to believe that he could struggle against NFL defenses.
These were his stats against arguably the three best defenses he faced: Auburn, LSU, and Georgia. He was 46-75 for a completion percentage of 61 percent with four TDs and two picks. Not terrible, but certainly not Heisman level.
I think Tebow can still develop and mold himself into an NFL-level quarterback. He will have to focus on enhancing his passing game and using his running ability only as a last resort.
He has the potential to put up better numbers than pre-prison Michael Vick if he is a past-first quarterback, rather than depending on the run, because that is where he can be most dangerous.
Tim Tebow will be the better pro. I envision him as a solid starting quarterback and a borderline Pro Bowler. He may never be a superstar, but he could play at a respectable level for a number of years.