Technically, it's not just Jacob Kurtz — our beloved Jake the Snake — who is playing his final home game as a Florida Gator on this Tuesday night against Texas A&M (9 p.m. Eastern, ESPNU). Lexx Edwards, a fellow walk-on, is participating is Senior Night honors with Kurtz, and Jon Horford, a fifth-year senior with just one year in the Florida program, is probably playing in the O'Dome for the last time.
There's a good chance someone else might not return — Chris Walker did say he was only coming back for one more year when he tweeted his return, and other Gators might have other plans, too — but the one I think most fans will miss most is Kurtz.
He's been doing the thankless yeoman's work for this team — not a great team, and not really a good team by Florida's standards, but not the "very, very average" team Billy Donovan said he had recently — all year. He's done more thankless work throughout his career, from serving as a manager at first to making the squad as a walk-on in his sophomore season. But then a strange thing happened: Kurtz was playing major minutes early on in 2013-14 while Florida struggled with depth thanks to injury and suspension, and, in 2014-15, Kurtz became a fully-fledged rotation player. He's started six games and played in 29 — all of them — and averages more minutes than Walker, Devin Robinson, and Alex Murphy, and almost as many as Horford. He's a key cog in this team's defense, because he knows everything there is to know about playing in Donovan's scheme, and a fine player in terms of spacing and ball movement on offense. He's got the third-highest Offensive Rating — which measures how often Florida scores with a given player on the floor — on this year's team, despite not creating shots for himself, and he's capably defended virtually every player imaginable.
That he's done it all for a 14-15 team is part of why this team is a 14-15 team — better players might have helped Florida more, and Kurtz would probably admit he doesn't have the talent of most of his teammates — and one could certainly argue that it would be 15-14 if not for Kurtz's spectacularly unlucky tip-in on Florida's goal against Florida State. But he's done it all.
No player has given more to Florida than Jacob Kurtz.
He deserves to be given a win, and an unforgettable sendoff, tonight.