My two favorite sports are baseball and college football, so it's natural to me to look at the similarities of each sport. But even I surprised myself last Saturday when I left the UT-Florida game thinking that Percy Harvin was college football's Roberto Clemente.
I'm not saying their personalities are the same (one was removed from high school sports in his senior year for fights, the other handled racism with class and dignity). Both are game changers, but players whose stats don't always tell the full story. And while we sit in awe at their talents, we have to deal with constant health concerns between games.
For Percy, we will have to constantly worry about his knees and ankles. For Clemente, it was a bad back from a car accident and numerous arm and leg problems. Soon, people started calling Clemente a hypochondriac. Now, Gator fans have to deal with reports of Percy being held out of practice due to injuries and there are rumors that he isn't exactly a great guy in practice.
Clemente made fans ooh and aah with his throws from right field to nail runners heading for third or home. Plus, many of his 3000 hits came when he stretched singles into doubles and doubles into triples. But he never had many homers, our modern measurement of a great ballplayer.
With Percy, his time to shine is between the 20s (unless Urban is going to call more pass plays on UF's one yard line). He racks up almost 200 yards of total offense against Tennessee but had only one TD. This season he has 371 yards of offense and three TDs. That's the same amount as Riley Cooper and one less than Kestahn Moore. But, we all seem to agree that Percy is a better athlete than either of those guys.
Percy is lacking the one thing though; he is not yet beloved. Part of Clemente's legacy is the fact that people remember him with such reverence. Not only did he die in a heroic manner (in a plane crash on the way to deliver supplies to Nicaraguan earthquake victims), his manner and play made him a hero to millions.
It's impossible to expect Percy to do something similar, but there is no reason why he can't become a Tim Tebow-like figure. I'm not asking Percy to go to the Philippines on a missionary visit, but we want our players to be more than heroic. In the history of Florida football, Tebow is a successor to Wuerffel, who is helping to rebuild New Orleans. Maybe Percy can do something charitable too. Then my comparison won't seem like blasphemy.