Week Two, Day Three: Gators Best Centers

There may not be a harder position to really evaluate for the non-coach than center. Let's face it once the ball is in the quarterback's hands the guy who snapped it is usually ignored unless he really messes up. But we love a challenge and we found plenty of guys worth recognizing so here goes.

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
S: Reggie Nelson

Now, here's the schedule for this week:

Thursday: Guards
Friday: Tackles

Florida has been blessed to have a fairly extensive collection of centers who rarely if ever messed up. Gator centers have earned plenty of All-SEC honors and have played important roles on the best teams in school history.

#5 Maurkice Pouncey ----- I thought it was a pretty big deal when the Gators convinced long-time FSU fans Lashawn (Maurkice) and James (Michael) Pouncey to switch from Garnet and Gold to Orange and Blue. It turned out to be a really big deal. Maurkice started 11 games at right guard and was a Freshman All-American in 2007 before moving to center last year. He was the key guy on one of the best lines in school history.

#4 Phil Bromley ----- The "Great Wall" of 1984 still gets my vote as the best unit the Gators have ever had and Bromley was the man in the middle. He was a small fry compared to his line mates, but he had great technique and tenacity. His intelligence and knowledge of the entire offense helped him guide a freshman (Kerwin Bell) through the season.

#3 Bill Carr ----- Talk about toiling in anonymity; when you're the snapper for Steve Spurrier nobody knows who you are. Well no one except All-American voters who made Carr the first Gator Center to earn that honor. In fact he is still the only Gator Center to be a First Team All-American. He was durable, starting 32 consecutive games and it's fair to says that Steve Spurrier doesn't win the Heisman without Bill Carr leading things up front.

#2 Cal Dixon ----- The Gators had a very good team in place when Steve Spurrier totally changed the offense in 1990 and that transition went well in large part thanks to the offensive line in general and Center Cal Dixon in particular. Dixon was an All-SEC pick for two years and was the second Gator and only Center to win the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the top blocker in the SEC.

#1 Jeff Mitchell ----- There was a different of opinion during recruiting as to whether Mitchell would play on offense or defense. They made the right choice. Mitchell had a terrific career and headed up a line that make it possible for the Gators to have a perfect regular season in 1995 and 8-0 start in 1996 before he got injured. His injury derailed a Florida offense that was on its way to breaking every record in sight and just further proved what a great player he was.

HM: Mike Degory, Zac Zedalis, Bob Wehking and Mark Totten

We'll continue our series tomorrow with probably the strongest of the three positions on the line. It was tough to settle on just five offensive guards.


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