COUNTDOWN: Gators By The Numbers 30-39

Well, we have gotten through most of the headline numbers in UF history as we begin the fourth in a series of the greatest Gators to wear each uniform number. The 30's offer some terrific players, but some tougher choices than the others have brought us so far.

#30 JAMES JONES: He was the most important first-year recruit for Charley Pell out of Pompano Beach Ely. Jones, a tight end at the time was very highly regarded and with good reason. He ended up being one of the finest fullbacks in school history. Jones led the Gators in rushing for three straight seasons (1980-82) and was fourth in school history (2,026) when he graduated. His catch against Miami in 1982 (no it wasn't really a touchdown) is one of the most memorable plays in Gator lore. Honorable mention for Bennie Alexander and Earl Everett.

#31 CARLTON MILES: A strong physical inside linebacker, Miles is the last player to lead UF in tackles two years in a row (1991-92). His 142 total tackles in '92 are the second most for a Gator in the last 25 years. Miles' injury against Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl was the most under-appreciated factor in Jerome Bettis' ability to run wild late in that game. Honorable mention for Terry Williams and Andy Cheney.

#32 KEDRA MALONE: He came to UF as a highly touted running back from the Florida Panhandle (Niceville), but his time here was spent as a special teams star. Malone was a key member of the Gators' best coverage teams of the nineties with his speed and tenacity. He has no great stats, he wasn't all-SEC, but he was important. Honorable mention for Ricky Mulberry and Eugene McCaslin

#33 ERRICHT RHETT: I don't think any player in the last 25 years played harder than E-Rhett. Following Emmitt Smith was not easy, but Rhett sure made it seem like it was. After sharing the job with Willie McClendon in 1990, Rhett was Florida's clear #1 back for the next three years. He was the first player in NCAA history to run for over 4100 yards and catch more than 150 passes. He remains Florida's all-time leading rusher with 4,163 yards and is the only non-quarterback to accumulate over 5,000 yards of total offense. His greatest game had to be against Georgia when he slogged through the mud for 183 yards on 41 carries. Honorable mention for Tommy Durrance, Larry Smith, Linde Infante, Tony Green, Teako Brown, Jack Harper and Ran Carthon. (#33 may be the best ever at UF)

#34 JOHN CLIFFORD: You can make the argument that Clifford's greatest contribution to UF has been as a high school coach. After all, the man developed Willie and Terry Jackson, Travis McGriff and Chris Doering among others. But we forget that Clifford was a fine DB as a Gator. He set the school record with seven interceptions in 1970, a record that was tied twice (Randy Talbot '74, Will White '90) but never surpassed until Keiwan Ratliff picked off nine in '03. Three of the picks were crucial to a 14-6 win over North Carolina State. Honorable mention for Darryl Dixon.

#35 JIMMY DUBOSE: Doug Dickey's wishbone never worked better than in 1975 when Jimmy Du set the school record with 1,307 yards. 204 of those yards came in a 34-8 domination of FSU. He also rambled for 180 against Vandy and 149 in the Auburn game. Not bad for a guy who had only gained 852 yards in the two previous seasons combined. Honorable mention for Larry Dupree and Kennard Ellis.

#36 VITO MCKEEVER: Tony Lilly was the headliner in the Gator defensive backfields of the early eighties, but McKeever's steady corner play was also very important. He wasn't a star, but McKeever was a reliable presence opposite Bruce Vaughn and that let Lilly do his thing. Honorable mention for Anthony Williams and Jack Burns.

#37 EDDIE LAKE: This DB from Tarpon Springs was a very good special teams guy for the Gators in the early nineties and provided depth in the secondary. Honorable mention for Joe Portale

#38 MATT PIOTROWICZ: Petro was one of my favorites during his years at UF, so much so that I named his position, "kickbacker". UF may never again see a kicker who thinks like a linebacker, but his efforts on kick coverage helped the Gators be very good in that area. He never won the kicking battle for field goals or extra points, but it was cool watching him race down to cover kickoffs. Honorable mention for Alvin Butler and Willie McGrady.

#39 NAT MOORE: Many may remember Nat in #33 his senior year ('73) but he had a much better year in this number as a junior. He set a UF record for all-purpose yards (1,426) with 845 rushing, 351 receiving and 230 returning. That record stood for 15 years until Emmitt Smith broke it. Honorable mention for Larry Brinson and Dale Van Sickel.

So there's our list … it's a shame we couldn't have distributed different numbers to some of those standouts in #33.

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