Danny Wuerffel to guest blog for ONLY GATORS

With the Florida Gators 2010-11 football season set to begin on Sept. 4, ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive is making a concerted effort to provide our readers with additional perspective from someone who has plenty of experience inside the huddle at The Swamp. On Tuesday, former national champion and multiple award-winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel agreed to join OGGOA as a guest blogger for the entire month of September.

There are four games scheduled for Florida next month – Sept. 4 vs. Miami (OH), Sept. 11 vs. South Florida, Sept. 18 at Tennessee and Sept. 25 vs. Kentucky – and Wuerffel will be contributing his post-game thoughts and keeping readers abreast about how he thinks the team performed each Monday following the Gators game.

The 1996 winner of the Heisman Trophy, Johnny Unitas Award, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, NCAA QB of the Year Award, Draddy Trophy and Davey O’Brien Award (also 1995), Wuerffel has a unique perspective as a four-year player at Florida who passed for 10,875 yards and 114 touchdowns in his Florida career.

A first-team All-America selection in 1995 and 1996, many of Wuerffel’s numbers remain the best in Southeastern Conference history and the second-best in national history. In 1995, his efficiency of 178.4 set a single-season collegiate record, and in his Heisman year of 1996, his 3,625 yards (SEC record), 39 TDs (led nation, SEC record) and efficiency rating of 170.6 made him the first QB to ever post a rating of 170 or more in back-to-back years. Wuerffel led the Gators in passing in each of his four seasons (1993-96) and still holds Florida records for most career passing touchdowns and most passing touchdowns in a season (in which he also holds second place). In fact, one out of every 9.74 passes Wuerffel threw in his career would be scored for a touchdown.

Enshrined in the team’s Ring of Honor in 2006 and set to be immortalized in a statue outside of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in 2010, Wuerffel is now the executive director of Desire Street Ministries, which works to revitalize impoverished neighborhoods through spiritual and community development.

Keep a look out for his contributions exclusively here on OGGOA as the season begins!

OGGOA RELATED: Exclusive interview with Danny Wuerffel

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Pouncey, Hernandez win; Tebow, Spikes, Haden and Henry shut out of College Footbal Awards

Two Florida Gators juniors came home from The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards in Orlando, FL, Thursday evening with awards; unfortunately, four other players were not as lucky. Center Maurkice Pouncey was awarded the 2009 Rimington Trophy (best collegiate center) and tight end Aaron Hernandez was honored with the 2009 John Mackey Award (best collegiate tight end). Each was the first Gators player in history to take home his respective award.

Senior quarterback Tim Tebow, who was up for the 2009 Davey O’Brien Award (best collegiate quarterback) and 2009 Maxwell Award (best all-around player), was defeated for both by Texas Longhorns QB Colt McCoy. Tebow took home the O’Brien Award in 2007 and is a two-time winner of the Maxwell Award (2007, 2008). Senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes lost the 2009 Chuck Bednarik Award (best defensive player) to Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh; junior cornerback Joe Haden was defeated by Tennessee Volunteers safety Eric Berry for the 2009 Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back); and Georgia Bulldogs punter Drew Butler won the 2009 Ray Guy Award (best collegiate punter) over junior Chas Henry. 2009 Heisman Trophy ceremony is on Saturday at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

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Tim Tebow selected as Heisman Trophy finalist

Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow was named as one of five finalists for the 2009 Heisman Trophy on Monday. Only the second player in history to be a finalist for the award three times (Herschel Walker, 1980-82), Tebow will compete against running backs Mark Ingram (Alabama Crimson Tide) and Toby Gerhart (Stanford Cardinal), defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska Cornhuskers) and QB Colt McCoy (Texas Longhorns). Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and finished third in 2008 but is not projected to be in the top three this season.

“Having the chance to go back to New York means a lot to me,” Tebow said. “It is a special honor but it wouldn’t be possible for me to have this opportunity without my teammates and coaches.”

The 2009 winner will be announced at the Nokia Theatre in New York, NY, on Saturday, Dec. 12. Prior to the Heisman ceremony, Tebow will be up for the Maxwell Award (best college football player) and Davey O’Brien Award (best college quarterback), both of which will be presented on Thursday night. Tebow has won back-to-back Maxwell Awards (one of only two players to do so) and took home the Davey O’Brien Award in 2007. He has already won the Academic All-America of the Year for the second consecutive season, the first student-athlete ever to do so.

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SIX BITS: Strong is No. 1, vote for Tebow, Alabama players, Jones vs. Haden, volleyball in NCAAs

1 » Over the past few days, OGGOA has reported that Florida Gators defensive coordinator Charlie Strong is the leading candidate to replace Steve Kragthorpe as head coach of the Louisville Cardinals. Yesterday, it was reported that Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich planned to wait until after the 2009 SEC Championship game to contact Strong after asking Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley for permission. Jurich expanded on his stance to the Courier-Journal Tuesday evening. “I want to get the program rolling, I want to get after it, but I gave my word to several people that I didn’t want to be a disruption to their program,” he said. “A lot of guys are still playing for a lot of important things. I’m the last person I want to get in the way.”

2 » Senior quarterback Tim Tebow has been named as one of three finalist for the 2009 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award, which is given annually to the top quarterback in college football. The other two finalists are Texas Longhorns QB Colt McCoy and Houston Cougars QB Case Keenum. Fans are given 5 percent of the vote and can cast their ballot for Tebow to win the award every day until Dec. 6 by visiting http://www.VoteOBrien.org.

Check out four more very informative Florida Gators BITS after the jump…
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Strong is No. 1, vote for Tebow, Alabama players, Jones vs. Haden, volleyball in NCAAs

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Tebow wins Academic All-American, tennis adds 7

Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow has been named the 2009 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American® of the Year winner for the second year in a row. The first student-athlete to win the award for University Division Football in two consecutive years, Tebow’s 3.7 grade point average and accomplishments on the football field earned him this honor.

Tebow became the first Florida student-athlete to earn first-team Academic All-America® honors in three consecutive years and the first Southeastern Conference football player to be chosen to the first team on three straight occasions. In his college career, he has also won the Heisman Trophy (2007), Davey O’Brien Award (2007) and Maxwell Award (2007, 2008). No other Gators were named to the team, though tight end Colin Peek (Alabama) also represented the SEC.

In other news… The University of Florida tennis program signed seven commitments on Tuesday with five going to the men’s team and two nationally-ranked players joining the women. Five-star recruits Michael Alford (Tampa, FL) and Andrew Butz (Vero Beach, FL) signed National Letters of Intent to join the team in fall 2010 while Sekou Bangoura, Jr. (Bradenton, FL), Nassim Slilam (Paris, France) and Bob Van Overbeek (Boca Raton, FL) will compete with the team in the spring of 2010.

For the women, Alexandra Cercone (Seminole, FL) and Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, FL) also signed National Letters of Intent for the 2010-11 season. Cercone and Janowicz are the No. 4 and 24 recruits in the country, according to tennisrecruiting.net.

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FOUR BITS: Award finalists, visiting recruits, cross country at NCAAs, volleyball award

1 » Numerous Florida Gators football players have been named finalists for national college football awards set to be announced during the Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards show on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. on ESPN. Senior quarterback Tim Tebow – Maxwell Award (Best All-Around Player), Davey O’Brien Award (Best Quarterback); senior middle linebacker Brandon Spikes – Chuck Bednarik Award (Best Defensive Player); junior cornerback Joe Haden – Jim Thorpe Award (Best Defensive Back); junior punter Chas Henry – Ray Guy Award (Best Punter); junior tight end Aaron Hernandez – John Mackey Award (Best Tight End).

2 » Edward Aschoff over at the Gainesville Sun has compiled a comprehensive list of high school football players expected to visit Gainesville, FL, for the Florida vs. Florida State Seminoles game on Saturday. Among them are 12 current commitments (Elam, Christian, Brown, Burton, Watkins, Patton, Orr, Silberman, Ball, Trail, Haden, Van) as well as 5-star, 4-star and 3-star recruits. OGGOA reported via twitter that five-star safety commit Matt Elam rescheduled his official visit for Dec. 12, but he may also visit unofficially this weekend.

3 » No. 5 women’s cross country finished in seventh-place at the 2009 NCAA Championships on Monday afternoon. The highest finish in program history, the Gators were the only Southeastern Conference team competing in the event. The top-10 finish was the first in program history, according to the Sports Information Department. “We’ve had a tremendous year, cross country coach Todd Morgan said. “We won the SEC and the South Regional Championships and today, we finished top 10 in the country for the first time. We’re definitely leaving here feeling like we didn’t run totally on cylinders, which is a great thing because we still finished so well.”

4 » On Sunday, senior Florida libero Elyse Cusack moved into second place on the SEC’s all-time career digs list. Her great weekend was capped off with an SEC Defensive Player of the Week honor announced by the conference on Monday. This is Cusack’s 12th time winning the award, her third this season. Since the SEC started handing out this award for volleyball in 2003, the Gators have won it 22 times – more than any other program.

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Tebow, Meyer each named to award watch lists

On Monday, Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow was named a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award honoring the nation’s best college quarterback. The oldest and most prestigious quarterback award, candidates are evaluated on quarterback skills, athletic ability, academics, team spirit, character, leadership and sportsmanship.

The O’Brien Award often goes along with the Heisman Trophy as it did the last two years with Tebow winning it on 2007 and Oklahoma Sooners QB Sam Bradford taking it home in 2008. Tebow is one of 15 semifinalists; finalists for the award will be announced Nov. 23.

Along with Tebow, University of Florida head coach Urban Meyer was honored Monday, being named to the watch list for the Bryant College Football Coach of the Year Award. The only college coaching award voted on after all bowl games are played, finalists for it will be announced in late December before the awards dinner takes place in Houston, TX, on Jan. 14, 2010. Meyer has absurdly never won the award, having been beaten out by the Boise State BroncosChris Peterson in 2006 and the Utah UtesKyle Whittingham in 2008.

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