Week Two, Day Two: Gators Best Safeties

We continue our tour of the best Gators are each position with a look at Florida's best safeties. First let's go through the top Gator at each position thus far.

Specialists: Brandon James
D Tackle: David Galloway
D End: Jack Youngblood
OLB: Wilber Marshall
ILB: Scott Brantley
CB: Lito Sheppard

Now, here's the schedule for this week:
Tuesday: Safeties
Wednesday: Centers
Thursday: Guards
Friday: Tackles

This was a very difficult position to deal with because there were clearly more than five players deserving of recognition. But that's what makes it interesting and what we use "Honorable Mention" for.

#5 Tony George ----- Like Keiwan Ratliff, George came to Gainesville from Ohio and became on of the best ever at his position. He has one of the most memorable plays in Gator lore when he picked off Peyton Manning and returned it 89 yards for a TD to keep the Gators unbeaten against the Vols superstar.

#4 Jarvis Williams ----- He came over from Palatka and made an immediate impact at corner including an end zone interception against Georgia in '84 preserving a 17-0 lead. His move to safety gave the Gators the best safety tandem in college football in 1987. He finished his career with ten interceptions and with two All-SEC and one All-American honor. I'll never forget seeing him lay out supposed all world TE Richard Relliford in the state High School Championship Game. Williams went on to a great career, while Relliford decided to focus on basketball.

#3 Bruce Bennett ----- He has to be viewed as the first great safety in Gator history, and like Jarvis Williams he was two-time All-SEC and an All-American. He burst on the scene as a sophomore in 1963 when he intercepted three passes in a 21-14 win over Georgia. Bennett held the career interception record (13) from 1965 until 1992.

#2 Louis Oliver ----- The other half of that safety tandem of 1987, Oliver is one of the great success stories in Gator history. From walk on from Belle Glade to first team All-American and a first round NFL draft pick. Oliver was a ferocious hitter who intimidated receivers over the middle. He was a stout run defender and picked off 11 passes too.

#1 Reggie Nelson ----- You know a guy is good when the fan base gives him the middle name "freakin'". Yes, Reggie Freakin' Nelson is the best safety I have ever seen at UF and it's not close. The guy had unmatched instincts and closing speed and regularly took apparent TD passes and turned them into incompletions or interceptions. He was the difference in 2006 more than any other player and his six interceptions simply took the middle of the field away from opposing teams' passing games.

HM: Lawrence Wright, Will White, Teako Brown, Adrian White, Tony Lilly, Wayne Fields and Walter Mayberry.

Well that concludes our look at the best defensive players in school history. Tomorrow we switch to the other side of the ball and begin a three-day look at the offensive line starting at Center.


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