Chris Leak is leaving the Gators program, ending a career that has seen several ups and downs. Beginning with the announcement of his intentions to play at Florida all the way to Monday night's National Championship game, Leak has seen a wide variety of reactions to everything he has done on the field as the Gators starting QB.
When he first arrived there was the talk of the two Heisman trophies he was going to win during his tenure, the big wins during his Freshman season against LSU, Arkansas and UGA, and the constant pressure of trying to lead the team during the tumultuous coaching career of Ron Zook. During his first two years he played under two different offensive coordinators, Ed Zaunbrecher and Larry Fedora, and then in 2005 had the joy of trying to learn the spread option under new head coach Urban Meyer. Needless to say, the word "consistent" was not the best way to describe the atmosphere surrounding Leak while he was the starting quarterback at UF.
But how exactly is Chris Leak's career at UF going to be judged at some point down the road? And better yet, how do we define "great" when it comes to Florida quarterbacks?
In Florida football history, only 6 starting quarterbacks could say they have won an SEC Championship (including pre-championship game years): Kerwin Bell, Shane Matthews, Terry Dean, Danny Wuerffel, Rex Grossman and Chris Leak.
In Florida football history, only 2 starting quarterbacks could say that they have won a National Championship: Danny Wuerffel and Chris Leak.
Here is a look at some of the major stats for quarterbacks in Florida history:
Chris Leak - 11,213
- Danny Wuerffel - 10,875
- Shane Matthews - 9,287
- Danny Wuerffel - 114
Chris Leak - 88
- Rex Grossman - 77
Chris Leak - 1,458
- Shane Matthews - 1,202
- Danny Wuerffel - 1,170
Chris Leak - 895
- Shane Matthews - 722
- Danny Wuerffel - 708
Not quite No. 1 in TD passes, but this is Danny Wuerffel we're talking about here. (Gatorzone Photo)
As evidenced by any of the above, Chris Leak will never be lost in the shuffle in the midst of discussing Florida Gators starting QBs. He has the stats (and now rings) to back up his case as one of the best, alongside such great names and Grossman, Wuerffel and Matthews - something that can never be taken away from him and will never be taken from the history books.
We should all thank Chris Leak for the memories he brought us during his time as the starting quarterback at the University of Florida. He had his ups, his downs, and now he has his time in the spotlight as an SEC Champion, a National Champion and one of the great Florida quarterbacks.