Tim Tebow action figure to debut in June

He’s recently had a bronze statue unveiled outside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in his honor, took part in a documentary made about his trials and tribulations while preparing for the 2010 NFL Draft and will be releasing a memoir about his life in the coming weeks, but former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow will also be in the toy collections of young boys and girls (and superfans) in a form of an action figure.

McFarlane Toys will be releasing eight College Football Series 3 action figures for ages 5+ featuring eight NFL players who starred for their colleges. In addition to Tebow, McFarlane’s SportsPicks will feature Joseph Addai (LSU), Adrian Peterson (Oklahoma), Troy Polamalu (USC), Ray Rice (Rutgers), Ndamukong Suh (Nebraska), Beanie Wells (Ohio State) and Charles Woodson (Michigan).

Below are pictures of Tebow’s six-inch, originally painted action figure (more here):

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TWO BITS: Dunlap’s back, Johnson’s training

1 » After a successful rookie season in which he notched 24 tackles and 9.5 sacks (second-most for a first-year player behind Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh’s 10), former Florida Gators now Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap has returned to Gainesville, FL to earn his degree from the University of Florida. Just 20 hours away from graduating with a degree in family, youth and community services along with a minor in business administration, Dunlap decided to take 12 credits in the spring 2011 semester and will likely complete the rest the next season his team misses the playoffs. “I felt like the longer you wait, the harder it is for you to come back,” Dunlap told The Gainesville Sun’s Robbie Andreu. “I just thought the transition would be a lot easier to do it now, to knock some of it out. The present is as good a time as any to get a degree. As hard as it was now to come back, I can imagine how hard it would be to come back a few years down the road.”

Dunlap also spoke to the Sun about his unfortunate arrest for driving under the influence before the 2009 Southeastern Conference Championship game and how the mistake has adjusted his outlook on his personal and professional life. “That incident changed my whole life,” he said. “It made me respect the game a lot more. It showed me how everything can be taken from you by making one mistake, and not knowing whether you’ll be able to play again. I remember what Cris Carter once said. He said, ‘I will never again allow my life to be put in the hands of somebody else where they can make the decision whether I play football again or not.’ That’s the quote I thought of [when I was suspended]. I’m going to use that quote the rest of my career.”

2 » Though many of his former teammates will be participating in the 2011 Under Armour Senior Bowl and 2011 East-West Shrine Game, former Gators guard Carl Johnson will be headed to the Texas vs. The Nation collegiate all-star game set to be played on Feb. 5 in San Antonio, TX. He will eventually end up participating in the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine in February with hopes of improving his stock for the 2011 NFL Draft in April. Johnson spoke with the Palm Beach Post’s Jason Lieser and provided these notable quotes (read what else he had to say).

PBP: How does Florida’s future look after a disappointing 2010 season?
CJ: “I think the team’s going to be six times better this year than last year. Some good guys didn’t get to play. At the skill positions, you need experience. [Quarterback John] Brantley has a year now. He knows the tempo. He knows what it’s like to face a team that’s trying to decapitate you. They’re going to be better. Now all these guys have experience, which helps a lot. I mean, when I first played, I was like a duck in a dirty pond — don’t know what’s underneath those feet.”

PBP: Was the 2010 freshman class better than people thought? How much impact could those players make this season?
CJ: “From what I saw of the freshmen — [wide receiver Quinton] Dunbar, to me, he’s dynamic. He should have played this year, but I’m not a coach. They have some certified ballers, Mack Brown, the running back, he’s going to be a beast. Trust me, they’re going to be good.”

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ESPN’s Sport Science looks at Haden and Tebow

ESPN announced last week that former Florida Gators cornerback Joe Haden was selected as one of 12 college football players who will be featured on segments from the network’s three-time Emmy Award-winning program Sport Science during its coverage of the 2010 NFL Draft.

The show, hosted by John Brenkus, “brings the world’s top professional athletes together with cutting-edge technology in state-of-the-art scientific facilities to test the limits of human athletic abilities. At the same time, the series challenges popular assumptions about athletes and sports,” according to ESPN.

OGGOA has come across video of the segment the show taped with Haden as well as one previously unannounced featuring quarterback Tim Tebow.

VIDEOS: Joe Haden | Tim Tebow

EXTRA VIDEO: Wide receiver Riley Cooper on ESPN‘s First Take

Haden’s segment explores his range and body control, while Tebow’s (of course) looks at his brand new throwing motion and how it has changed.

All 12 special segments will air throughout the network’s coverage of the NFL Draft from April 22-24. Other big names who will be featured include Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

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TEBOW BITS: Senior Bowl, AP Player of the Year

1 » Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow has not yet decided if he will participate in the Senior Bowl on Jan. 30 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, AL. After the 2010 Sugar Bowl, Tebow plans to sit down with head coach Urban Meyer and several of his trusted NFL people before making a decision. “I don’t know [if I will play]. I haven’t talked to anybody about it,” Tebow said. “If the people I talk to that are wise think that I should play in it, I’ll go play in it. If they don’t, I won’t. I don’t know. I’ll do whatever I need to do [to impress] – throw out here a million times, I don’t care.” Tebow can decide to play in the Senior Bowl up until just days before the game.

2 » Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has been voted The Associated Press College Football Player of the Year. The first defensive player to be awarded the honor, Suh received 26 of 59 votes. Stanford Cardinal running back Toby Gerhart came in second (20 votes) while Tebow, who received the award in 2007, placed fifth with a single vote.

Extra Bit » University of Florida graduate student John O’Hearn created this four-by-six-foot mural of Tebow with 46,000 BBs. It is currently on display at Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Orlando, FL. Head on over and check it out!

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FOUR BITS: Heisman, Tebow, Meyer, Strong

1 » The 2009 Heisman Trophy will be awarded Saturday at 8 p.m. live on ESPN from the Nokia Theater in Times Square. Finalists for the trophy include Stanford Cardinal running back Toby Gerhart, Alabama Crimson Tide RB Mark Ingram, Texas Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy, Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Florida Gators senior quarterback Tim Tebow. Tebow, the winner in 2007 and third-place finisher in 2008, is expected to finish fifth in the voting. OGGOA will not be covering the Heisman ceremony live on Saturday, though we will post a message about the winner on twitter soon after the ceremony.

2 » Tebow sat down with a number of reporters and beat writers on Friday in New York, allowing them to informally ask questions regarding a number of topics including his Heimsan ballot. Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald broke down Tebow’s thoughts on who should be the 2009 winner and came to the conclusion that he voted for Suh. (This would be the correct vote, in OGGOA‘s opinion.)

3 » Losing former offensive coordinator Dan Mullen to the Mississippi State Bulldogs and then former defensive coordinator Charlie Strong to the Louisville Cardinals in back-to-back seasons, Gators head coach Urban Meyer‘s greatest test my be perfecting his coaching turnover, writes Gene Frenette of The Florida Times-Union. Couple that with the loss of a large group of seniors and several big-name juniors, and Florida’s transition to 2010 will have to be seamless in order to keep them at the top.

4 » Speaking of Strong, the new Cardinals coach spent his first two nights in Louisville sleeping at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium as he got acquainted with the program and university. “It’s kind of a whirlwind,” Strong said. “There are a lot of things to be done. The best thing is just catch your breath and take your time and make sure I do the right things.” He even gained a commitment from quarterback recruit DeMarcus Smith, “arguably the state’s best junior” according to The Courier-Journal. Strong will leave the program at the end of the week and return to Gainesville, FL, to coach the Gators’ defense for the 2010 Sugar Bowl against the Cincinnati Bearcats.

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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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Basketball’s Donovan honored with Wooden award, Gators football award updates

University of Florida men’s basketball head coach Billy Donovan will be honored with the John R. Wooden “Legends of Coaching Award” in April 2010. This award recognizes successful coaches who exemplify Wooden’s high standards of integrity on the court. Winners are selected based on character, success, student-athlete graduation rate and coaching philosophy. Donovan will be one of only four active coaches who have both guided teams to multiple NCAA National Championship titles (20006, 2007) and received this honor. The others are the Duke Blue DevilsMike Krzyzweski (3), North Carolina Tar HeelsRoy Williams (2) and Connecticut HuskiesJim Calhoun (2). Donovan is 310-126 (.711) in 13 seasons as coach of the Gators with 11 consecutive 20-win seasons, nine NCAA tournament appearances and three SEC Championships.

Two Florida Gators defenders have been nominated for the 2009 Rotary Lombardi Award. Given annually to the nation’s top college football lineman, the trophy is awarded for not only on-field ability but also discipline resembling that of Vince Lombardi. Middle linebacker Brandon Spikes and defensive end Carlos Dunlap were nominated this year in a group that is very defense-heavy. Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is considered the overwhelming favorite to win.

In this week’s Scripps Howard Heisman Trophy poll, senior quarterback Tim Tebow earned eight of the 10 first-place votes. The rest of the top five – Texas Longhorns QB Colt McCoy, Cincinnati Bearcats QB Tony Pike, Notre Dame Fighting Irish QB Jimmy Clausen and Houston Cougars QB Case Keenum – did not receive a single first-place vote. Scripps is simply a straw poll conducted to determine the sentiment among college football writers throughout the country.

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