2008 Florida Gators In Review: Percy Harvin

The Best Athlete On The Field: Florida's dirty little secret this season was that as good as Tim Tebow was, the best player was Percy Harvin. Where pressure and multiple coverages would confuse the quarterback, the only person that could stop Harvin was himself. In 2008, Harvin carried the ball 70 times for 660 total yards and only lost eight yards. For a player who was supposed to be fragile and not the best practice guy, Harvin knew the value of getting forward as soon as possible. Unlike some backs who stretch the line looking for a secondary hole, Harvin was confident enough to take what was given. His best runs were not around the edge, but simple counters. He was a fearless back. But the way he caught the ball separated himself from any other player of his caliber. He will play in the NFL because of his hands and speed. Catching 40 balls for 644 yards, Harvin could line up anywhere on the field and get open.

The Game Of His Life: Playing with a hairline fracture, not a high ankle sprain as was first reported, Harvin showed how much of a competitor he was. With 171 yards of offense on 14 touches, Harvin gave Florida a chance to win on a night when Tebow was not at his best. Harvin converted six first downs in addition to his rushing touchdown. After Oklahoma seemed to capture momentum with a quick scoring drive to tie the score at 14-14, Harvin took the Gators' first play 52 yards, ultimately setting up a field goal. After Florida's first goal line stand, he ran for 46 yards, flipping the field and kept Sam Bradford and The Greatest Offense In The History Of College Football on the sidelines.

Every time Harvin touched the ball against Oklahoma, you had the sense that something great could happen. That's what you want in your most explosive offensive threat. Florida needed him that night, even if he was a lot closer to 70 percent than the 90 percent he claimed to be. The long sustained runs were not there. Had he been 90 or 100 percent, his two long runs would have put him in the end zone. But his initial first step was so fast and so quick, that it gave him a head start over the Oklahoma defenders.

Leaving for the NFL is the right decision for Harvin. Likely as a receiver, he won't take the type of punishment he took as a back at Florida, so durability issues might not be a problem. He learned at Florida to play well wherever he was on the field and that skill will make him millions.

 

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