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Quarterback week: Tim Tebow was an iconic player with the Gators

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The three statues greet you all at once: The brain, the legs, the arm.

At the University of Florida, of course, they want more. More Heismans. More championships. More winning. And if it is another quarterback who delivers it, well, that’s cool, too.

At Florida, they love quarterbacks. That’s why the statues of Steve Spurrier, Tim Tebow and Danny Wuerffel are outside the stadium.

Is that too much to ask of Luke Del Rio, who seems to be winning the quarterback battle? Sure, it is. He’s never started a game. But expectations are always high with the Gators. This year will be no different.

Here at the St. PetersBlog, it is quarterback week, which means we look at each program and its best players ever at the position.

So who are Florida’s top 10 quarterbacks?

1. Tim Tebow (2006-2009): It’s hard to bump Spurrier off the No. 1 spot in this list, but Tebow does it. Forget his mediocre professional career; Tebow was one of the greatest players in college football history. He won one Heisman and finished third and fifth in two other years. His teams were 13-1 all three seasons. He was on two title teams.

2. Steve Spurrier (1964-1966): Spurrier, the school’s first Heisman winner, was a great player. But he molded others into great players, too. He finished ninth in the Heisman voting as a junior. Spurrier’s is one of the memorable faces of college football.

3. Danny Wuerrfel (1995-1998): Wuerffel took the Gators to four SEC titles and once national crown, throwing for almost 11,000 yards in the process. Wuerffel was third in the Heisman voting as a junior while running the Fun ‘N Gun offense.

4. Rex Grossman (1999-2002): Grossman wasn’t very good with the Chicago Bears, but don’t forget how good he was in college. He was second in the Heisman voting, losing to Eric Crouch by only 62 votes. He led the Gators to third in the country.

5. Shane Matthews (1990-1992): Matthews came from far down the depth chart to be Spurrier’s first starter. He also won the team’s first SEC title and was fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting.

6. Chris Leak (2003-2006): Leak’s career was more than keeping the seat warm for Tebow. He threw for 88 touchdowns and was MVP in the 2006 championship game. If winning is what the game is about, Leak has nothing to be sorry for.

7. John Reaves (1969-1971): John Reaves threw for more than 7,500 yards in his time with the Gators. He also was the beneficiary of the “Gator flop” when Florida allowed Miami to score so Reaves could set a yardage record.

8. Kerwin Bell (1983-1987): Bell, also known as the “Throwin’ Mayoan,” was a former walk-on with the Gators. However, he was 9-1-1 in his first year as a starter for an impressive Gators’ team. Hailing from nearby Mayo, Fla., Bell had a number of big plays.

9. Doug Johnson (1996-1999): Could Johnson have been better if he had given up either baseball or football? Perhaps. Still, he led the Gators to 29 touchdowns in three years, and against Central Michigan, he had a seven-touchdown performance.

10. Wayne Peace (1980-1983): Anyone else want to slip Cam Newton’s name here. He was a Gator for a minute, after all. Under Peace, the Gators went from zero wins to nine in a year. It was a hint of the sleeping giant that the program was.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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