#11 STEVE SPURRIER: Spurrier became a Gator icon when his field goal beat Auburn in 1966 and added to the legend with his Heisman Trophy win later that fall. His numbers for that year seem rather puny in this day and age, 2,012 yards, 16 touchdowns but in the mid-sixties that was a ton. Very few others wore the number since it was retired after that season and stayed retired until Spurrier un-retired it in 1990. Honorable mention for Ben Hanks and O.J. Small.
#12 KERWIN BELL: Excellent competition here, but the nod must go the "The Throwin' Mayoan". Bell was thrust into the starting job when Dale Dorminey was injured the week of the 1984 season opener. He performed admirably in the game against Miami and went on to pass for 7,585 yards and 56 touchdowns. Both were school records at the time. Honorable mention for Chris Leak, Doug Johnson, Terry Dean and Tom Shannon.
#13 ALEX BROWN: So much for unlucky numbers. Florida's all-time sacks leader (33), Brown also holds the single season record with 13 in '99. The Jasper native was often a blur coming around the corner, and his performance against defending champ Tennessee in The Swamp in 1999 was one of the greatest in school history. Honorable mention for Ray Criswell and Arden Czyzewski.
#14 BRUCE BENNETT: The first DB to earn All-American honors at UF, Bennett was also a two-time ALL-SEC selection. He set the UF record with 13 interceptions… a record that stood for 27 years. Bennett starred in the Canadian Football League for ten years. Honorable mention for Shayne Edge, Ernie Mills and Larry Libertore.
#15 REIDEL ANTHONY: Many believed Reidel was a throw-in to get Fred Taylor, but the speedy receiver was so much more than that. He set the UF record with 18 touchdown catches in 1996, and his 1,293 receiving yards that year were a new standard until Travis McGriff topped it two years later. I loved Reidel's "shotgun" touchdown celebration. Honorable mention for Wayne Peace and Dee Webb.
#16 VERNELL BROWN JR.: Dubbed by Urban Meyer "the face of Florida football", Brown is a classic overachiever story. He was too small for high school football at Gainesville High. Then he was too small for UF. He ended up returning kicks, playing solid defensive back and being a real leader for Meyer in 2005. He didn't post great numbers, but his value showed most clearly when the secondary fell apart following Brown's injury. Honorable mention for Harmon Wages.
#17 RECHE CALDWELL: His presence certainly helped Jabar Gaffney enjoy great success, yet Caldwell ended up sixth in receptions (141) and 10th in receiving yardage (2,088). He was terrific in the Sugar Bowl loss to Miami with six catches for 110 yards and earned All-SEC recognition the following season. Honorable mention for Sarola Palmer.
#18 LOUIS OLIVER: Want to start a good argument? Try getting Gators to agree on the greatest walk-on in school history. Kerwin Bell? Chris Doering? Many would go with Oliver, a fierce safety from Belle Glade who was as imposing as any DB ever at UF. He was a two-time All-American and a finalist for the Thorpe Award. Unsubstantiated and unfair allegations caused him to drop to # 25 in the 1989 NFL draft, and Oliver demanded the uniform #25 from the Miami Dolphins so he would never forget. Honorable mention for Lawrence Hatch and Tony Lilly.
#19 IKE HILLIARD: The most impressive day one freshman I ever saw, Hilliard was simply a natural. Fluid, fast and strong, the Louisiana native was a sensational receiver on the best Gator offenses. His stop-on-a-dime move in the Sugar Bowl win over FSU is the best I've seen. He ranks fifth in UF history in receiving yards (2,274) and second in touchdowns (29). Honorable mention for Travis Taylor and Bart Edmiston.
So those are my picks for the second group of Gators to be the best to wear those numbers. Next up 20-29 … some more easy picks and some tough ones.
Feedback is always welcome: Vettel@gatorcountry.com