Gator Football Awards

We conclude our review of the Gator sports year with some kudos, accolades and attaboys for the BCS National Champs. The Football team overshadowed all others this sport's year, winning the Gators only national title. As a result there are plenty of things to highlight.

We can use several of the same categories we used in reviewing the women's and men's (non-football) seasons, but obviously choosing a team of the year and coach of the year makes no sense.

Coaching Move of the Year --- "Time out"--- Urban Meyer calling consecutive timeouts in the final moments of the Florida/Georgia game was clearly retaliation for the Dawgs' storming the end zone in 2007. That it was done to make Georgia stare at the 49-10 on the scoreboard made it extra sweet for Florida's Head Coach, his players and fans.

Game of the Year --- SEC Title Game --- Florida had to beat a pair of number one teams to earn their title, but this one came first in front of a pro-Alabama crowd in the Georgia Dome. The Gators trailed by three entering the fourth quarter but won the game for the seventh time with a pair of touchdowns in the final 10 minutes.

Offensive Player of the Year --- Percy Harvin --- It's too easy and too obvious to choose Tim Tebow for any/all awards, but Harvin's season shouldn't take a back seat to anyone else's. He averaged 9.4 yards per run and 16.1 per pass reception and scored 17 touchdowns in 12 games. He really took over the BCS Title Game with 171 yards on just 14 touches. He leaves Florida as the only player in school history with more than 1,500 yards rushing (1,852) and receiving (1,929).

Defensive Player of the Year --- Brandon Spikes --- The unquestioned leader of the Florida defense not only led the team in tackles 93 but also tackles for loss (not including sacks) with six. He added four pass interceptions, returning two of them for touchdowns and his hit on Knowshon Moreno led Georgia know right away that it was going to be a very long day.

On Field Moment of the Year --- Ahmad Black --- The Gators held just a 17-14 over Oklahoma early in the fourth quarter when Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford fired deep down the middle only to have Black make one of the most remarkable interceptions you'll ever see. It was "Black Magic's" seventh pick of the season and easily his most important.

Off Field Moment of the Year --- Tim Tebow --- This might be the easiest choice in the history of earth. I was in that South End Zone meeting room after the Ole Miss loss when Tebow in essence promised the world that he and his teammates would outwork everyone in college football the rest of the way. The Gators went on to win their next 10 games by an average score of 47-13. Talk about keeping your promises!

Offensive Freshman of the Year --- Jeffrey Demps --- I never knew there was a town called Okahumpka. I thought it was just a turnpike plaza, but it's actually Demps' hometown. The first year speedster showed he was much more than a "track guy" running for 605 yards and seven TD while catching 15 passes for 141 yards and another score. He was given one chance to return a kickoff and took it another 39 yards. His big game against Arkansas (103 yards, 2 TD) was the spark that began Florida's post Ole Miss run.

Defensive Freshman of the Year --- Janoris Jenkins --- For the second year in a row the Gators saw a freshman claim a starting job at cornerback; and as good as Joe Haden was in 2008, Jenkins was better. The fast, physical player from Pahokee started the first game when the Gators opened up in a nickel package but didn't take over at corner until the Ole Miss game. Before long he was making plays all over with 39 tackles, 11 passes broken up and three interceptions.

Well those are my winners and my categories. Feel free to agree or disagree at will.

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