Gator Greats, Starting Big Numbers

We begin the second half of the countdown of Gator greats by the numbers as we begin looking at some of the big boys. In part 6, we check out the guys who wore the fabulous 50s.

#50 Brad Culpepper ----- John Broward Culpepper played his high school ball in Tallahassee, but this third generation Gator never had any doubt of what colors he would wear. Despite staph infection that set him back early in his career, Culpepper was a super defensive lineman for several years and was a key to the first official SEC Title team in '91. He was named the national student-athlete of the year as a senior and followed that up with a solid NFL career. Honorable mention for Phil Bromley and Yancey Sutton.

#51 David Little ----- There were times during his Gator career you would wonder if anyone else was out there. He really took over the Gator defense after Scott Brantley went down early in 1979 and went on to set the school record for tackles (475) which still stands today. Honorable mention for Brandon Spikes, Bill Carr and Ryan Kalich.

#52 Ricky Williams ----- Alongside Tim Newton on the goal line, Williams was part of the great goal line stand against Georgia in '84. He was a strong force inside for excellent Gator defenses in the early 80s. Honorable mention Chris Bromley and Dwayne Thomas.

#53 Kim Helton ----- A solid offensive lineman who helped protect John Reaves for all those passing yards in 1969. Went on to coach on a number of levels. Honorable mention for Bruce Culpepper and Charlie Williams.

#54 Mark Murray ----- He and Huey Richardson were bookends for the Gators on the 1990 team. He was one of those guys who observers would point out "has a great motor". Honorable mention for Willie Rodgers and David Jorgensen.

#55 Scot Brantley ----- His number was retired for over 20 years, from his Gator career-ending injury in 1979 until Steve Spurrier un-retired it (and his own #11) in 1992). Brantley was a traditional hard-nosed middle linebacker who lived for contact on and off the field. He is second on the UF tackles chart despite missing almost all of his senior season. Many thought he was nuts when he got a second opinion about his head injury and began an NFL career, but it sure turned out well. Honorable mention for Channing Crowder and Ralph Ortega.

#56 Clifford Charlton ----- Following in the footsteps of Wilbur Marshall and Alonzo Johnson could have been easy, but Charlton kept the streak of All-American outside backers going strong. His 25 sacks surpassed Marshall (23) and were just shy of Johnson's school record (27). He was two-time All-SEC and an '87 All American. Honorable mention for Tim Newton, Steve DeLaTorre and Tony Rowell.

#57 Kevin Carter ----- A true student-athlete in every sense of the word, Carter played right away in '91 before evolving into an All-American caliber defensive end. He's sixth on the UF career sack list and played on three SEC Championship teams. Carter has gone on to 100-plus NFL career sacks. Honorable mention for Scott Armstrong, Jerry Odom and Bobby McCray.

#58 Johnny Rutledge ----- A Butkus Award semi-finalist (top ten) he was part of the best LB trios in UF history with Jevon Kearse and Mike Peterson. He led the Gators with 67 tackles in '97, one of the lowest team-leading totals ever, which proves how good his fellow ‘backers were. Still he was first-team All-SEC that year. Honorable mention for Willie Cohens.

#59 Cal Dixon ----- Steve Spurrier was thrilled to find the defense he inherited in '90, but having this talented, cerebral center was almost as important. Dixon was the anchor in the middle on the strong Gator lines of '90 and '91. He was a two-time All-SEC pick and spent five years in the NFL. Honorable mention for Mike Nattiel and Mark Korff.

Next up, the guys who wore the 60's….

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel


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