Jeff Driskel named High School Player of the Year

Florida Gators five-star quarterback commitment Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL) was officially named the Maxwell Football Club’s 2010 National High School Player of the Year in a release on Tuesday from club president Ron Jaworski.

“I’m excited to receive this honor,” Driskel said in a Maxwell Club release. “It’s a prestigious award and to be named national player of the year is awesome. There are all kinds of people I’d like to thank who have given me help to get here, from my parents, to the coaches I’ve had, to my teachers, and it’s great to know that all of the hard work that I’ve put in throughout my whole high school career has been recognized. But I think I’m most proud of my team. We never had a winning record, or were even close to a winning record before this year, and this team worked hard all summer to achieve a goal we set.”

Driskel, who will be presented with the award at a banquet on March 4, was previously named the FACA District 9 Class 5A Player of the Year and Gatorade Florida Player of the Year after throwing for 1,819 yards and 15 touchdowns while rushing for 1,333 yards and 20 touchdowns in his senior season with Hagerty High School. He also caught two touchdown passes for a total of 138 yards in 2010.

“Jeff’s performance against Lakeland was the greatest single-game performance I have ever seen in my 20-plus years of remembering high school football,” Hagerty head coach Nate Gierke said. “Jeff led our team to the most wins in school history and a playoff appearance in only our fourth year of existence. For what he has done over the past four years, and especially for his performance and what he meant to our success this season, Jeff is the best high school football player I have ever coached or seen in person.”

This marks the second-straight year the award was given to a Gators commitment. Florida freshman defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd was the recipient of the Maxwell Club’s Player of the Year honors for 2009.

Photo Credit: Orlando Sentinel

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Top 10 for 2010: Off the Field Stories of the Year

For as much as the Florida Gators accomplished on the field in 2010 (check out our post tomorrow), the Gator Nation was making plenty of news off of it as well. From former players signing huge contracts to current team members being a part of some of the biggest news stories in sports this year, Florida was spread all over the sports landscape in 2010. Below are OGGOA‘s Top 10 Off the Field Stories of the Year.

10 » FIVE BECOME A PART OF THE GATOR NATION IN THE SKY
It would be difficult to recount everything that Gator Nation has gone through in 2010 without remembering those close to the University of Florida who left us for a better place in the past year. Young and old, these Gators departed too soon and suddenly in all but one case. Lamar Abel (21), a walk-on defensive lineman, suffered cardiac arrest while volunteering at a roadside cleanup event with his fraternity in Gainesville, FL. Former safety John Curtis (24) committed suicide in Bellvue, WA. Hall of fame safety Jarvis Williams (45) passed away after an acute asthma attack. Former Gators basketball player and friend to the program Augie Greiner (76) died in his home. And long-time donor and Bull Gator George Steinbrenner (80), most famously known as the owner of the New York Yankees, passed away in a Tampa, FL, hospital. OGGOA once again sends our deepest condolences to the families and friends of these men.

9 » ERIN ANDREWS GETS JUSTICE, STARS ON TV, RE-SIGNS WITH ESPN

Former Florida dazzler and ESPN reporter Erin Andrews had a much better go of it in 2010. Though her stalker plead guilty to his charges in court in December 2009, she spent a good portion of 2010 making sure he was brought to justice (27-month prison term) while also spreading word across the country that violence against women from sexual predators cannot and should not be tolerated. Simultaneously, Andrews participated in ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and even dropped a few Gator Chomps along the way. She ended up finishing third in the competition but parlayed her talent on the sidelines into an enhanced gig with the Worldwide Leader in Sports. Andrews signed a new two-year deal with ESPN, which included a role hosting the first hour of College GameDay live on ESPNU, appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America and more of a presence on the family of networks. She also spoke with OGGOA on two occasions, first in a wide-ranging interview that received significant publicity and later to share her thoughts on the resignation of head coach Urban Meyer.

Continue Reading » Top 10 for 2010: Off the Field Stories of the Year

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FOUR BITS: Driskel, Haden, Hernandez, Pouncey

1 » Florida Gators five/four-star 2011 quarterback commitment Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL) was named 2010-11 Gatorade Florida Football Player of the Year on Thursday by Gatorade and ESPN RISE. According to Gatorade, “The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Driskel as Florida’s best high school football player.” He is now a finalist for the National Football Player of the Year award, which will be announced in late December. At 6’4” and 230 lbs., Driskel went 138-for-235 for 1,783 yards and 16 touchdowns (with three interceptions) as a senior. He also rushed for 1,296 yards and 20 touchdowns on 151 carries and scored two more touchdowns on pass receptions. Florida freshman safety Matt Elam took home the same award in 2009-10.

2 » Also bringing home an award Thursday is Cleveland Browns rookie cornerback Joe Haden, who was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for November. Haden has grabbed an interception in three-straight games for Cleveland and is set to start the second game of his career Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. He also recorded 16 total tackles and seven pass breakups last month.

3 » Sports Illustrated published a feature story on New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez over a week ago – something we apparently skipped over. The story covers Hernandez’s love and distaste for the Patriots as a youngster, how he felt about Randy Moss being traded and how happy he is to play so close to where he grew up. “I felt like it was time to take that step and move on,” Hernandez told SI.com about his decision to leave after his junior year. “So far it’s work out pretty well.”

4 » Another good read is a feature Yahoo! Sports’ Les Carpenter on Pittsburgh Steelers rookie center Maurkice Pouncey. Sure to be up for NFL Rookie of the Year honors this season, Pouncey has been “forced to forge [his] own identity” away from his brother this year and has impressed everyone he comes in contact with both on the field and in the locker room. Carpenter explores the Pounceys’ decision to split, how each have handled the separation this year and why their story is such a unique one.

Photo Credit: John H. Reid III/Cleveland Browns

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Florida Gators 2010 National Signing Day notes

Courtesy of the University of Florida’s University Athletic Association:

» The University of Florida football team had 11 student-athletes enroll in January 2010, the highest number in school history.
» The 2010 signing class includes nine players from the South Florida area (Dade, Palm Beach and Broward Counties). In the previous five signing classes combined (2005-09), UF totaled 11 signees from the same area.
» The Gators continued to be a factor on the national stage, signing 12 players from out of state in 2010. Players in the 2010 class are from Alabama, California (3), Connecticut, Georgia (3), Maryland (2), New York and Pennsylvania.
» For the fourth straight year, UF signed a player from the state of California and for the third straight year the Gators signed a player from Alabama. It marked the second-straight year a player from Maryland and Connecticut signed with Florida.
» Of the 12 high school players rated as five-star recruits by ESPN, Florida has signed four. The Gators signed 11 of the top 50 players according to ESPN. Overall, the Gators signed 17 players from the ESPNU 150 list of players.

Check out notes on individual players in the class after the jump…
Continue Reading » Florida Gators 2010 National Signing Day notes

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tim Tebow takes home 2009 Campbell Trophy

Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow was awarded the 2009 William V. Campbell Trophy, also known as the “Academic Heisman Trophy,” by the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame on Tuesday. The trophy is awarded annually to a college graduate for their outstanding ability on the field, work in the classroom (minimum 3.2 GPA) and strong leadership. The honor comes with a bronze trophy and $25,000 postgraduate scholarship.

“This award means so much because it’s not just how you play on the field, it’s not just what you do in the classroom, but it’s what you do as a leader and someone who is going to serve your community,” Tebow said. “That’s what’s most important about this award, because all these guys are great players and they’re extremely intelligent, but more importantly, they’re good people. They help their community and they make a difference in this world. The National Football Foundation has done such a good job of taking us in, putting us together and letting us build relationships with each other. With so many of the members, it has been a blessing to get to know all these guys, great guys who you see on the field, but then when you really meet them, you get to know them as people, you get to build those relationships. I think that’s what’s so special about things like this.”

One of only four schools to have multiple winners of the trophy, previous Gators recipients include defensive tackle Brad Culpepper (1991) and quarterback Danny Wuerffel (1996). Center Mike Degory (2005) and long snapper James Smith (2008) were semifinalists for the Campbell Trophy, while quarterback Chris Leak was a finalist in 2006. Florida has the most recipients of any school in the award’s 20-year existence.

– – –

Prized five-star Gators safety commitment Matt Elam received two prestigious honors over the last few days. On Thursday, Elam was named the 2009 Gatorade Football Player of the Year for the state of Florida while on Tuesday he was honored as 2009 Lou Groza Award winner for Outstanding High School Football Player. Elam is the first back-to-back winner of the award (2008).

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,