We continue our series celebrating the start of college football season with EA Sports' NCAA Football 2011. Today, we want to hear about your favorite Gators. It is easy to say, "Tim Tebow, because he was awesome!" No, you have to be a bit more creative than that. Was there a funny story about the player that made you like him? Maybe there was a volleyball player who became a favorite of yours because she looked good in those blue shorts? Here are mine. Drop yours in the comments.
Lee Humphrey, Basketball: He was the first guy at pre-game shootaround and would throw the ball into the student section for someone to make a three-pointer from the bleachers. And he started doing that as a freshman.
Joakim Noah, Basketball: The personification of the New Generation of Florida Students; Northerner, mixed heritage, has smoked weed, upper to middle class, everyone outside Gainesville hates him but he wants to destroy anyone who challenges him.
Brian Jeroloman, Baseball: I have a soft spot in my heart for catchers who work counts and hit line drives.
Brandon McArthur, Baseball: He nearly died after being sucker punched on University Avenue as a freshman. A few brain surgeries later, McArthur came back and played on the 2005 College World Series team. McArthur also had other serious injuries, but never quit. He might not have been a star, but he was an example of someone who wouldn't let outside forces determine his fate.
Tate Casey, Football: He always has two-beers with him, even when catching a jump pass.
Percy Harvin, Football: He played a National Championship game with a broken leg and was the reason why we won.
Cornelius Ingram, Basketball/Football; Gavin Dickey, Baseball/Football: The two best athletes I saw at UF. Ingram was built like a G.I. Joe man and I saw Dickey break an aluminum bat.
Drew Miller, Football: We are playing a summer 2006 intramural softball game, with Miller playing catcher on a team that includes several football players. I am on 2nd base when there is a base hit into right field. I come around 3rd thinking I can beat the throw or the throw would be wide. Instead, it was on the money and beats me by about four steps. I can't run over Miller (he has about 150 pounds and six inches on me; also I'd get ejected), so I decide to slide feet first to get under him. I also throw up my arms to hit his glove as I slide in. The ball lands on my leg, making me safe. Miller is convinced I'm out for hitting him and I keep yelling he dropped the ball, I can't be out. The ump is right and calls me safe. Miller is now pissed. The next batter also gets a base hit, easily scoring our runner from 3rd. But as the runner comes to the plate, Miller trips him, sending him sprawling into the dirt. A few of our players leave the dugout to go after Miller and the other team responds to defend Miller. The ump does not eject anyone, but our player leaves the game with a sprained wrist. Miller ends up writing an apology email to the kid for tripping him. So, why would Miller be a favorite all-time Gator after that? Because he is exactly what an offensive lineman should be; a mean SOB.
Jarvis Moss, Football: This.
Tim Tebow, Football: I think he likes being Evil.
Francesca Enea, Softball: She played through injuries and is engaged to a guy who once said on live radio, "The speed limit at UF is 20 because it's the perfect speed to check out girls."
Ali Gardiner, Softball: Talked with my friends for almost an hour at a bar after the 2009 Tennessee game. Not only was she a great girl to talk to (about sports, her game winning homer against Alabama, going to school at UF), she was wearing a t-shirt she made specifically for the game and had blue spray paint in her hair. You have to love any girl who chooses fandom over getting dolled up. (For the record, Gardiner was still very cute.)
Ryan Lochte, Swimming: Olympic Champion and Grog House bartender. Men want to be him and women want to be with him.
Jennifer Magley, Tennis: Magley was about 6-foot-1 and five of that was legs. She wasn't just looks. She was tough as nails. Her doubles partner for most of her career was Zerene Reyes, who was more than a foot shorter. Opposing doubles teams would target Reyes, who was a good player but limited in power. Magley would retaliate by slamming returns at the opposing net player.
Jane Collymore, Volleyball: Collymore was a very good player and easy on the eyes. (I don't think UF has ever had an unattractive volleyball player.) My friend and I were out at Grog one night when Collymore was there. Then this happens;
Friend: starts buzzed white person dance
Collymore: Hey! leans towards friend, about three feet away
Friend: continues dancing, sips beer
Collymore: You wanna dance?
Friend: has no idea someone is talking to him, sips beer
Friend: finally realizes a good looking girl is yelling at him
Collymore: Are you gay?
I started laughing so hard, I had to lean on my ex-girlfriend for support. My friend is still confused, but manages to defend his heterosexuality. They did not dance, which was for the best, because my friend is intimidated by tall girls.
That's my list. Leave yours below.