For the first time since he was a little boy, Tim Tebow woke up on the first day of school and didn't go. With Gainesville buzzing again as students start the spring semester today, Tebow didn't have to worry about buying books or taking notes. Sure, his last semester this fall wasn't exactly challenging, as he had one class remaining. But it is still a strange thing to wake up and realize the one constant thing outside your family, is now over.
Tebow is not the only Gator waking up like that today. Jermaine Cunningham and Ryan Stamper also graduated in December. Guys like Brandon Spikes and Riley Cooper are still students and can impact Florida's NCAA academic ratings, but the odds of them going to class every day and graduating are slim. (They could follow the Oh Fours, who went to class while preparing for the NBA Draft and still take summer classes to workout on campus.) Tebow, Cunningham and Stamper are legitimately done, and deserve a lot of credit for that.
Being done with school and staring adulthood in the face is a new challenge. Tebow will find himself changing again, just as he had to do in each of his four years at UF. It is not just changing in terms of throwing the ball differently or studying the Tennessee Titans and not the Tennessee Volunteers. He will come to the realization that he will have very little control over his future. Tebow will be like a lot of graduates in that he may get the job he wants, but not with the company he wants. He will go on interviews and walk away thinking he's got that job, only to have them never call back. Tebow has been rejected before, so that is not new. But the stakes are much higher this time.
Depending on your level of NFL knowledge or if you are a Tebow fan first and always, your opinion on Number 15 in the NFL is quite different. The NFL fan watches Tebow's throwing motion and open stance, and believes Tebow is no better than late first round/early second, and still needs to be rebuilt. The Tebow fan believes Tebow's competitiveness and desire overrides any physical flaws. Besides, Tebow threw really good against Cincinnati. That proves he can play as a NFL quarterback now, right?
The most important thing for Tebow is to listen to constructive criticism. He should go to the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine. Tebow also needs to work with a full time quarterback coach and get an agent who isn't just carrying the bag. The last thing Tebow should do is work out on campus between now and Draft Day, with a family member representing him in contract negotiations.
Tebow and his agent also have to realize that winning a Heisman and National Championship means nothing. Look at the 12 quarterbacks in the NFL playoffs; only Carson Palmer won a Heisman, while Peyton Manning and Joe Flacco (D1-AA) are the only ones who played in a National Championship game. It doesn't matter if Tebow is a winner. That's what was said about Ken Dorsey and how has that turned out? Tebow's mental traits won't carry a team of grown men with kids and mortgages.
I don't doubt that Tebow will be a successful quarterback. But I also hope that is the case. I don't know how good or bad he will be, and neither do you. Tebow, for all his positive traits, is stubborn. If he rejects criticism of his skills or of the way he reads defenses, he will not be successful. If he turns that around, and uses it inspire him to focus on keeping the ball high and his feet square, Tebow will be a force.