Great Gators, Nos. 10-19

In part two of our review of the greatest Gators to wear each uniform we move to the numbers 10-19. These are traditional numbers for quarterbacks and receivers, so not surprisingly this list includes some tough omissions (honorable mention) and some of the best players ever to wear the Orange and Blue.

#10 Jabar Gaffney ----- The son of former Gator receiver Derrick Gaffney arrived at UF as Derrick Gaffney Jr. before electing to go with his middle name as a Gator. Gaffney's 2000-01 seasons might be the best back-to-back seasons any UF receiver ever had as he combined for 138 catches for 2,275 yards and 27 touchdowns. He tied the UF record with eight 100-yard games in 2001 and broke Carlos Alvarez' career record of 13 100-yard games when he notched his 14th. Honorable mention for Tyrone Young and Chan Gailey.

#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.

#12Chris Leak ----- I can't tell you how hard it was to take "The Throwin' Mayoan" Kerwin Bell out of this spot. What he did in his career was amazing, but Leak's accomplishments went further. Leak ended is Gator career as the all-time leader in passing yardage (11,213) and second in TD passes (88). He did that despite sharing a significant amount of his playing time both as a freshman and a senior. He also led the Gators to the 2006 National Championship. Honorable mention for Bell, 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 Shane Edge, Ernie Mills and Larry Liberatore.

#15 Tim Tebow ----- While putting Leak ahead of Bell at No. 12 was tough, it's not too tricky to put the chosen one at the top here, replacing Reidel Anthony. Tebow's 2007 season is one of the greatest in the history of college football with 3,286 passing yards and 32 touchdowns PLUS 895 rushing yards and 23 scores. Honorable mention for Anthony, 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 6th 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 No. 25 in the 1989 NFL draft, and Oliver demanded the uniform No. 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 5th 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.

Questions or comments? Contact's Larry Vettel

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