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Tim Tebow: "I Honestly Thought I Was Going To Alabama..."

We're one post removed from me cracking on Urban Meyer's inability to really crack people up. I'm okay with dour and humorless if it swings the recruitment of Tim Tebow, though.

Tebow was in studio with 790 The Zone in Atlanta this morning, and the fine folks at Sports Radio Interviews transcribed the wide-ranging interview, including how Meyer got Tebow for the Gators.

"It was very close. I mean, down to the very last second I had no idea where I was going to go and it was between two great schools. My whole high school career, I thought I was going to Alabama because Urban wasn’t at Florida at that time, and they had Coach Shula — I loved him, I respected him as family, I loved the passion Alabama fans had for the game. That was something, you watch me play, I love it, I’m passionate about it, and seeing those fans, I loved it, I was in to it. And they had great players and I had become friends with a lot of their players, so most of my high school career I honestly thought I was going to Alabama."

"Then this guy named Urban Meyer got the job at Florida, and he worked harder than any coach at single handedly trying to recruit for a year and a half. And at the end I bought into it, I believed him. You could see something about this guy in his eyes – that fire, that passion – that he’s something special, that he’s going to do something special. And I believed I could lead his team to do something extremely special. And I believed that. At the end of the day, that’s why I went to Florida. It wasn’t because it was close to home, it wasn’t because of the spread offense, it was because I believed in the man Urban Meyer."

There's more from Tebow on a couple of other topics of interest after the jump.

On that statue at The Swamp:

"It’s a little weird to be honest with you. It’s very humbling, it’s a great honor, but to be honest, I got to tell you I probably won’t look at it too much because it’s a little weird. But it is an extremely huge honor, and it’s very humbling to think that you’re etched in stone or granite or marble or whatever it is."

On Meyer's sudden resignation(s):

"It wasn’t that it was a complete shock to me, because the year before when he was going through a lot of health issues and different stress issues, and he decided to resign and then he came back, he only came back because he loved his players so much and he wanted to coach us one more time, and he wanted to be around. So he came back because of the love of that, and he wanted to keep going because he felt like he owed it to the players. But then after this year, I believe he felt he owed it more to his family — to be a dad, to go to his son’s baseball games, to coach his son, to go to Nicky and Gigi’s volleyball games. And I know he’s spending a lot of time in Atlanta because Nicky is balling out for Georgia Tech volleyball. So he wanted to go to her games, he wanted to go to Gigi’s games, he wanted to spend time with Nate and be a dad."

"And we would talk all the time, I would go up to his office and we would hang out every day and those were the things that I respect the most about him — it’s not the coaching things, it’s about how much he wanted to be a father figure to his players, to his kids, and also to be a husband and be with his family. That was the most important thing to him. And you know, coaching, he might get back into that at another time, but right now, it was most important to be with his family. And if people want to criticize him and say you quit, no, you know what he did, he took Utah and he made them as good as they could be, he took Florida and won two national titles, and then he said you know what, I’m going to go be a dad, and if you don’t like that oh well. And I love it. And to all the people that say he’s a quitter, well, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Good for him."

I love that Tebow says Nicki's "balling out." That's how he talks. Also, play the Dragnet theme for "And to all the people that say he’s a quitter, well, you don’t know what you’re talking about," am I right?

Finally, on paying college players:

"No, I don’t believe college players should be paid, but I believe there should be some ... say when you get your check and you go off campus, and you get $800 for your apartment and what not, I believe you should be given a little more. Because I remember sometimes at Florida I would grab extra shakes from the locker room and bring them and just have cereal for dinner, because sometimes you wouldn’t have money for dinner. When you’re having I mean, a lot of different people make millions and millions off you, I think you should at least be allowed to have the means and the resources to have a good dinner here, to go do this, to have money to go fill up on gas, to do the simple things."

"So I don’t think it should turn into college players should start getting paid a lot, but especially with where a lot of players come from, a lot of them need that extra hand so they’re not going to go try to get it in other places and get in trouble. But so they can go get dinner, go do this after a hard practice."

You will note that Tebow was not taking the shakes from Gator Dining.

There's tons more on Tebow's NFL career, how he fits with the Denver Broncos, and how he handles the hype at Sports Radio Interviews.