2008 Florida Gators Season

Posted Feb 4, 2009

2008 Florida Gators Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 Florida Gators

Jan. 8
2009 BCS Championship  
Florida 24 … Oklahoma 14

Florida PK Jonathan Phillips broke a 14-14 tie with a 27-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, and following an interception from Ahmad Black, the Gator offense marched 76 yards in 11 plays with Tim Tebow hitting David Nelson with a jump-pass from four yards out for a game-clinching touchdown. Tebow started off the scoring with a 20-yard pass to Louis Murphy, but OU answered 2:13 later on a six-yard touchdown catch from Jermaine Gresham. The Sooners marched down near the goal line on two more drives, but were stuffed on two plays from the one to halt one march, and a Sam Bradford pass was batted and bounced into the hands of Major Wright at the end of the half. The Gators took the lead late in the third on a two-yard run by Percy Harvin off a direct snap, but OU tied it up in the fourth on an 11-yard Gresham catch. Florida was able to answer right back with a 68-yard drive culminating in the Phillips field goal, which turned out to be the winning points to give the Gators their second national title in three years.
Player of the Game: Florida QB Tim Tebow completed 18-of-30 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions and ran 22 times for 109 yards. 
Stat Leaders: Oklahoma - Passing: Sam Bradford, 26-41, 256 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Chris Brown, 22-110. Receiving: Jermaine Gresham, 8-62, 2 TD
Florida - Passing: Tim Tebow, 18-30, 231 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Percy Harvin, 9-122, 1 TD. Receiving: Aaron Hernandez, 5-57
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the BCS Championship
Quarter-by-Quarter, Play-by-Play Game Notes … Rushing yards: Florida 249 – OU 107 … Passing yards: OU 256 – UF 231 … Fourth quarter time of possession: UF 10:57 – OU 4:03 … Third down conversions: UF 12-of-17 – OU 6-of-13 … Florida CB Joe Haden made 10 tackles and broke up two passes. … OU S Nic Harris made 11 tackles and an interception.

- 2008 Florida Preview
- 2007 Florida Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2008 Record: 13-1

Aug. 30 Hawaii W 56-10
Sept. 6 Miami W 26-3
Sept. 13 OPEN DATE 
Sept. 20 at Tennessee W 30-6
Sept. 27 Ole Miss L 31-30
Oct. 4 at Arkansas W 38-7
Oct. 11 LSU W 51-21
Oct. 18 OPEN DATE 
Oct. 25 Kentucky W 63-5
Nov. 1 Georgia (Jack.) W 49-10
Nov. 8 at Vanderbilt W 42-14
Nov. 15 South Carolina W 56-6
Nov. 22 The Citadel W 70-19
Nov. 29 at Florida State W 45-15
Dec. 6 SEC Championship
Alabama W 31-20
BCS Championship
Jan. 8 Oklahoma W 24-14

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2007 Record: 9-

Sept. 1 Western Kent. W 49-3
Sept. 8 Troy W 59-31
Sept. 15 Tennessee W 59-20
Sept. 22 at Ole Miss W 30-24
Sept. 29 Auburn L 20-17
Oct. 6 at LSU L 28-24
Oct. 20 at Kentucky W 45-37
Oct. 27
vs. Georgia  L 42-30
Nov. 3 Vanderbilt W 49-22
Nov. 10 at So. Carolina W 51-31
Nov. 17
Florida Atlantic W 59-20
Nov. 24 Florida State W 45-12
Capital One Bowl
Jan. 1 Michigan L 41-35

Dec. 6
2008 SEC Championship
Florida 31 … Alabama 20

Florida came up with 14 fourth quarter points on a Jeffrey Demps run off the option for a touchdown and a five-yard Riley Cooper catch to overcome a 20-17 lead. In a game of long drives and plenty of big plays, Tim Tebow threw three short touchdown passes and led the Percy Harvin-less Gators in rushing, while Alabama got 112 yards and an 18-yard touchdown run from Glen Coffee and a two-yard Mark Ingram run along with Leigh Tiffin field goals from 30 and 27 yards out. The Ingram run capped a 15-play, 91-yard drive in the in the third quarter to tie it at 17, and Tiffin's second field goal gave the Tide its final lead before the Gators owned the fourth.
Player of the game: Florida QB Tim Tebow completed 14-of-22 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns, and he ran 17 times for 57 yards
Stat Leaders: Alabama - Passing: John Parker Wilson, 12-25, 187 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Glen Coffee, 21-112, 1 TD. Receiving: Julio Jones, 5-124
Florida - Passing: Tim Tebow, 14-22, 216 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Tim Tebow, 17-57. Receiving: Louis Murphy, 4-86
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Quarter-by-Quarter Game Notes ... It's not fair to say that Tim Tebow carried Florida to the SEC title, the rest of the talented team had a lot to do with it, too, but Tebow saved the day on offense against Alabama. The running game ignored the backs, and there weren't too many throws down the field. This was a win on powering the ball, not making mistakes, and doing everything right in the fourth quarter to put the game away. This might not have been the dominant performance like Oklahoma had against Missouri, but it was good enough to go off and play for the national title.

Nov. 29
Florida 45 … Florida State 15
In a rainy downpour, Florida rolled up 502 yards of total offense and took a commanding 28-9 lead into halftime with short scoring runs from Percy Harvin and Tim Tebow and Tebow touchdown passes from seven and 24 yards out to Aaron Hernandez. Florida State was able to move the ball a bit, but it only managed three Graham Gano field goals before finally getting into the end zone midway through the third quarter on a four-yard Jermaine Thomas run. Harvin was knocked out of the game with an ankle injury, but the Gators were never threatened.
Player of the game: Florida QB Tim Tebow completed 12-of-21 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns and ran 16 times for 80 yards and a score
Stat Leaders: Florida State - Passing: Drew Weatherford, 4-15, 61 yds
Rushing: Antone Smith, 12-57. Receiving: Greg Carr, 2-24
Florida - Passing: Tim Tebow, 12-21, 185 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Chris Rainey, 8-97. Receiving: Aaron Hernandez, 4-61, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Florida keeps on rolling with a fully focused, relatively mistake-free attack and with continued production on defense and on the special teams that dominates the opponents. Florida State never had room to breathe with little from the running game and nothing happening through the air. Now it's on to the showdown with Alabama, and while the Tide is also playing well in all phases, it'll have to do something special to pull off the SEC title if the Gators continue to be as sharp as they've been.

Nov. 22
Florida 70 … Citadel 19
Florida was able to get through its light scrimmage without much of a problem a Tim Tebow connected with Louis Murphy from 16 yards out and Riley Cooper from 43 yards again as part of a 42-point scoring run in the first 21 minutes. Cam Turner ran and threw a touchdown pass for Citadel, but the game wasn't competitive at any point. Florida outgained the Bulldogs 7-5 yards to 317.
Player of the game: Florida QB Tim Tebow completed 9-of-11 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns and hr ran twice for 34 yards
Stat Leaders: Citadel - Passing: Cam Turner, 15-30, 160 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Asheton Jordan, 8-37, 1 TD. Receiving: Andre Roberts, 5-66
Florida - Passing: Tim Tebow, 9-11, 201 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Chris Rainey, 7-142, 1 TD. Receiving: Deonte Thompson, 3-53, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Florida is taking every game very, very seriously. It might not seem like a big deal to blow up Citadel 70-19 or to throw over 700 yards of total offense on the board, but this game showed just how focused everyone is. The team isn't taking a play off as it's trying to keep the momentum going into the big showdown against Florida State and then the SEC title game. This was a flawless, clean performance with only three penalties and no turnovers.  

Nov. 15
Florida 56 … South Carolina 6
Brandon Spikes returned a Chris Smelley interception for a touchdown, and the route was on. The Gators scored the first 28  points, helped by three Gamecock turnovers, with Percy Harvin running for a 26-yard score and Tim Tebow running for a one-yard score and throwing a 46-yard touchdown pass to Deonte Thompson. South Carolina managed two Ryan Succop field goals, but the defense couldn't handle the Gator attack with Harvin putting the game well out of reach on the first play of the second half with an 80-yard touchdown run. Florida outgained the Gamecocks 519 yards to 173.
Player of the game: Florida WR Percy Harvin caught one pass for six yards and ran eight times for 167 yards and two scores
Stat Leaders: South Carolina - Passing: Chris Smelley, 13-24. 92 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Eric Baker, 6-23. Receiving: Kenny McKinley, 6-37
Florida - Passing: Tim Tebow, 13-20, 173 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Percy Harvin, 8-167, 2 TD. Receiving: Louis Murphy, 4-54

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Is there any question that Florida is playing better than anyone in America? In all three phases, the Gators are showing week after week that they have the speed, the talent, and the weapons on both sides of the ball, and on special teams, to obliterate anyone. Part of the issue, though, is that teams are imploding when they try to get goofy. South Carolina had to try a few quirky things in an attempt to get something, anything going. The toughest part now might be to keep the Gator egos in check; the oddsmakers already have made UF a big favorite over Alabama.  

Nov. 8

Florida 42 … Vanderbilt 14
Florida won the SEC title and rolled with ease after taking a 35-0 halftime lead and getting up 42-0 on Tim Tebow touchdown runs from 26 and eight yards out and threw three scoring passes of 12 yards to Louis Murphy, 11 to Riley Cooper, and 41 yards to David Nelson. Vanderbilt came up with the final 14 points with two Chris Nickson touchdown passes. Ryan Hamilton made 13 tackles for the Commodores.
Player of the game: Florida QB Tim Tebow completed 12-of-17 passes for 171 yards and three touchdowns, and ran 11 times for 88 yards and two scores.
Stat Leaders: Vanderbilt - Passing: Chris Nickson, 7-14, 67 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Jared Hawkins, 11-46. Receiving: Sean Walker & Jamie Graham, 3-22, 1 TD
Florida - Passing: Tim Tebow, 12-17, 171 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Tim Tebow, 11-88, 2 TD. Receiving: Carl Moore, 4-31
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Florida is unstoppable at the moment because Tim Tebow has taken his game up to another level. He's getting time to throw and is getting a little room to move, and now he's not afraid to start running a bit more, and harder, than he did earlier in the year, but that doesn't mean the rest of his weapons aren't getting work. Six players saw carries in the blowout over Vandy, and seven players caught passes. The Gators did what a national title-caliber team is supposed to do against a team like Vanderbilt, and now it gets a pesky South Carolina team in The Swamp. Win that in a blowout and it'll really be time to get fired up.

Nov. 1
Florida 49 … Georgia 10
Georgia was down 7-3 after a 35-yard Blair Walsh field goal. And then Florida flexed its muscle and showed off its speed going on a 42-point run with three short rushing touchdowns from Tim Tebow to go along with a 25-yard pass to Percy Harvin and a 44-yard strike to Louis Murphy. The Gator defense forced four turnovers with three interceptions highlighted by an 88-yard play by Joe Haden leading to a one-yard Tebow score. Georgia got back on the board late on a garbage time 19-yard Aron White catch.
Player of the game: Florida QB Tim Tebow completed 10-of-13 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns, and he ran 12 times for 39 yards and three touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Georgia - Passing: Matthew Stafford, 18-33, 265 yds, 3 INT
Rushing: Knowshon Moreno, 17-65. Receiving: Mohamed Massaquoi, 5-112
Florida - Passing: Tim Tebow, 10-13, 154 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Emmanuel Moody, 7-71. Receiving: Percy Harvin, 3-52, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... If Florida ends up winning the SEC title and doesn't play for the national title, there might be an extremely empty feeling to the season. This team is humming on all cylinders with a swarming defense that's all over everyone and an offense that's explosive and consistent. Tim Tebow didn't have his greatest statistical day in the win over Georgia, but this might have been his best performance. He was unflappable, sharp, and obviously very, very focused. The defense gave up a few plays here and there, but it made up for every bad play allowed with a good one. After this emotional game, there can't be a letdown against Vanderbilt and South Carolina.

Oct. 25
Florida 63 … Kentucky 5
Florida came up with three blocked kicks, with the first two leading to short scoring runs from Tim Tebow and Brandon James, and Ahmad Black picked off a pass and took it 40 yards for a touchdown on the first play in the second half on the way to an easy win. Percy Harvin scored twice with a 16-yard run and a 33-yard pass, and Jeffrey Demps led the way in rushing and receiving highlighted by a 61-yard touchdown play off a short pass. Kentucky's offense only managed a 27-yard Lones Seiber field goal.
Player of the game: Florida RB Jeffrey Demps ran seven times for 50 yards and caught four passes for 67 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Kentucky - Passing: Randall Cobb, 9-18, 78 yds
Rushing: Randall Cobb, 9-52. Receiving: Tony Dixon, 5-19
Florida - Passing: Tim Tebow, 11-15, 180 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Jeffrey Demps, 7-50. Receiving: Jeffrey Demps, 4-67, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Florida is rolling at just the right time. The win over Kentucky was dominant in all phases with the special teams setting the tone early, the offense opening things up, and the defense shutting everything down. With 114 points in the last two games, Georgia has to be prepared for a shootout next week. It helps that all of Tim Tebow's weapons are working with Jeffrey Demps showing off yet another side to the attack. The Dawgs can't just focus on the stopping Percy Harvin. Yeah, UK is beaten up, but that's a good defense the Gators just ripped up.

Oct. 11
Florida 51 … LSU 21
Florida got a 70-yard touchdown from Percy Harvin on the third play of the game to kick off a 20-0 run to start the game. Harvin added a seven-yard touchdown catch, and the route was on … sort of. LSU fought back within six on a six-yard Jarrett Lee to Chris Mitchell touchdown pass and a three-yard Andrew Hatch run, but the Gators answered with 21 straight points to open it up. Jeffrey Demps tore off a 42-yard touchdown run and Brandon Spikes intercepted two passes, taking one for a score. Florida outgained LSU 475 yards to 321.
Player of the game: Florida WR Percy Harvin caught six passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns and ran twice for 13 yards
Stat Leaders: LSU - Passing: Jarrett Lee, 23-38, 209 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Charles Scott, 12-35. Receiving: Brandon LaFell, 7-59
Florida - Passing: Tim Tebow, 14-21, 210 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Jeffrey Demps, 10-129, 1 TD. Receiving: Percy Harvin, 6-112, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... If Florida wanted to get back into the national title chase, it just made its statement. LSU really is a strong, national title-level team, and the Gators blew its doors off with big plays from Percy Harvin as well as Jeffrey Demps and the running game. While many will wonder if this game gets Tim Tebow back into the Heisman race, it's actually Harvin who's the star of this year's show. When he's healthy, or at least as close to healthy as he'll get before the end of the year, he's the premier difference maker going in college football right now.

Oct. 4
Florida 38 … Arkansas 7
Florida rolled up 514 yards of total offense, but it was only up 17-7 going into the fourth quarter. Percy Harvin ended the drama with a 21-yard touchdown catch, and Chris Rainey added the exclamation points with a 75-yard dash for a score. Jeffrey Demps, who ran for a 36-yard touchdown in the second quarter, ran for a 48-yard touchdown in the final minute. Arkansas stayed alive with a six-yard Michael Smith run in the third quarter, but the offense couldn't make anything happen in the fourth quarter. The two teams combined for 20 penalties for 285 yards.
Player of the game: Florida CB Joe Haden made 11 tackles and an interception.
Stat Leaders: Florida - Passing: Tim Tebow, 17-26, 217 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Jeffrey Demps, 7-103, 2 TD. Receiving: Louis Murphy, 5-70
- Passing: Casey Dick, 24-38, 220 yds, 1 INT
Michael Smith, 20-133, 1 TD. Receiving: Michael Smith, 6-43
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Florida is having way too many problems putting games away. Even with 514 yards, a great game from Tim Tebow, a fantastic performance from the running game, and a nice day from the pass rush, it still took a bit too long to get rid of Arkansas. The 12 penalties were way too many, and going for it three times on fourth downs showed just how much the coaching staff is trying to kickstart the team overall.

Sept. 27
Ole Miss 31 ... Florida 30
Jevan Snead found Shay Hodge for an 86-yard touchdown with just over five minutes to play to give Ole Miss a seven point lead. Florida roared back with a quick six play, 68-yard drive with Percy Harvin running in untouched for a 15-yard score, but the extra point was blocked. The Gators got one last shot, but Tim Tebow was stuffed on a 4th-and-one play on the Ole Miss 32. Snead started out the scoring with a one-yard run, but Florida seemingly had the game in hand with a 17-point second quarter as Harvin scored on a 43-yard pass play and Tebow ran for a one-yard score. Ole Miss answered in the third quarter with 17 points of its own highlighted by a 40-yard Dexter McCluster scoring run, but Tebow answered with a one-yard touchdown run to tie it in the fourth. Florida outgained the Rebels 443 yards to 325, but lost three fumbles.
Player of the game: In a losing cause, Florida WR Percy Harvin ran ten times for 82 yards and a touchdown and caught 13 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown.
Stat Leaders: Florida
- Passing: Tim Tebow, 24-38, 319 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Percy Harvin, 10-82, 1 TD. Receiving: Percy Harvin, 13-186, 1 TD
Ole Miss
- Passing: Jevan Snead, 9-20, 185 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Dexter McCluster, 11-60, 1 TD. Receiving: Shay Hodge, 3-133, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
It was a game of missed opportunities. Ole Miss came through when it had to; Florida didn't. Tim Tebow had open receivers on the final Gator drive but just overshot sure-touchdown passes. The Gators converted just 1-of-11 third down chances and there were five fumbles, losing three, but the offense rolled when Percy Harvin got the ball in his hands and the defense was solid outside of the 86-yard touchdown catch from Shay Hodge, helped by a lack of safety help. There's one important thing to remember after this disaster; the national title is still there for the taking. However, there's no margin for error. A one-loss SEC champion will still likely play for the whole ball of wax, but the team has to be far sharper than it was this week.

Florida 30 ... Tennessee 6
Neither offense did much, but Florida got the big plays when needed as Brandon James returned the opening kickoff 55 yards to lead to a two-yard Tim Tebow touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez. The Gators turned a Tennessee fumble into a field goal, and then James ended the show with a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown for a 17-0 first quarter. Thanks to a 15-yard Percy Harvin touchdown catch, the Gators got up 27-0 going into the fourth quarter before Tennessee finally got things moving with a long drive leading to a one-yard Jonathan Crompton touchdown run. That was it for a Tennessee offense that finished with 258 yards, but the defense did a decent job holding Florida to 243 yards.
Player of the game: Florida returner Brandon James took two punts for 92 yards and a touchdown, and took a kickoff 52 yards. .
Stat Leaders: Tennessee - Passing: Jonathan Crompton, 18-28, 162 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Arian Foster, 14-37. Receiving: Gerald Jones, 5-40
Florida - Passing: Tim Tebow, 8-15, 96 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Emmanuel Moody, 9-55. Receiving: Percy Harvin, 2-49, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... It might not be pretty, but the offense is doing what it needs to do to help out a defense and return game that's dominating. Brandon James is yet another weapon in the overall arsenal, and he was able to all but end the Tennessee game with his first half returns. However, the offense needs to start showing more on the ground. 147 yards isn't going to get it done against the better teams, but Emmanuel Moody wasn't bad with 55 yards on nine carries in his first real work. Two important stats: Florida didn't turn the ball over, and the offense converted 8-of-13 third down chances.

Sept. 6
Florida 26 ... Miami 3
The final score doesn't reflect how tough the game was for Florida. The Gators struggled until the fourth quarter when Percy Harvin provided some breathing room with a two-yard touchdown run and Tim Tebow connected with Louis Murphy from 19 yards out. Miami only managed 140 yards of total offense and a 50-yard field goal, but the defense kept the Florida attack in check throughout most of the game. Back after missing the season opener, Florida LB Brandon Spikes made 11 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.
Player of the game: Florida QB Tim Tebow completed 21-of-35 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns, and he ran 13 times for 55 yards.
Stat Leaders: Miami - Passing: Robert Marve, 10-18, 69 yds
Rushing: Graig Cooper, 15-31. Receiving: Leonard Hankerson, 3-22
Florida - Passing: Tim Tebow, 21-35, 256 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Tim Tebow, 13-55. Receiving: Aaron Hernandez, 5-58, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Florida is more experienced in key spots than Miami, and the defense showed just how immature the Hurricane offense is, but even in a 26-3 win there's major reason to worry. Miami was more physical and was able to stop the Gator offense for most of the game until Tim Tebow finally broke through in the fourth quarter. The biggest problem was the running game; there wasn't any. Like last year, when things got tight, it was Tebow and Percy Harvin running the ball and the running backs were non-existent. Tebow had 13 carries, Harvin five, and Chris Rainey, Jeffrey Demps and Kestahn Moore combined for nine carries for seven yards.

Aug. 30
Florida 56 ... Hawaii 10
Florida had few problems disposing of Hawaii forcing six turnovers with Major Wright and Ahmad Black each returning interceptions for touchdowns on the way to a 56-0 lead before the Warriors finally got on the board in the fourth quarter. The Gator ground game pounded out 255 yards with 12 different players getting carries and four separate players scoring. Tim Tebow was his normal, efficient self throwing a 48-yard touchdown pass to Louis Murphy, but he didn't run for a score. Hawaii's passing game only managed 181 yards and didn't get into the end zone until the final two minutes.
Player of the game: Florida RB Brandon James ran three times for 16 yards and a touchdown, caught a pass for ten yards, and averaged 23.8 yards per punt return with a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Hawaii - Passing: Inoke Funaki, 8-11, 110 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Daniel Libre, 4-35. Receiving: Leon Wright-Jackson, 4-39
Florida - Passing: Tim Tebow, 9-14, 137 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Jeffrey Demps, 2-76, 1 TD. Receiving: Louis Murphy, 2-51, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... There were two question marks Florida wanted to address against Hawaii. 1) The running game and 2) the pass defense. The ground game came through big with a varied attack with several players combining for 255 yards. The secondary not only shut down the high-powered Warrior passing game, but it came up with four picks, took two back for touchdowns, and allowed just one garbage time score. No, this isn't the Hawaii of last year in any way, but if games like these are supposed to be used as tune-ups, mission accomplished.

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

Will Hill S 6-2 203 West Orange, N.J./St. Peters Preparatory
Parade All-American…Competed at the ESPNU Under Armour High School All-American Game, where he returned an interception for 62 yards...First-team all-state selection as a senior…USA Today first-team All-American…Two-time New Jersey Star-Ledger Offensive Player of the Year…Three-time AP New Jersey first-team all-state selection…Multidimensional threat for St. Peters Preparatory School, serving as a three-year starter at quarterback, safety and a returner on special teams…Recorded three interceptions, made 36 tackles and broke up three passes during senior campaign…Gained 960 yards on the ground while tossing for 947 yards and accounting for 26 touchdowns (19 passing, seven rushing)…Led the Marauders to a 34-2 record in three years, including a 12-0 mark and the NJSIAA Non-Public Group 4 Championship as a sophomore…Responsible for 3,817 all-purpose yards and accounted for 34 touchdowns as a junior…Rushed for 682 yards (11.7 yards per carry) and 13 touchdowns as a junior while throwing for 758 yards and 11 scores…Picked off three passes as a junior and brought back to kickoffs for touchdowns…Returned an interception for a touchdown the first time he touched the ball in 2004

Potential Instant Impact Players

Omar Hunter DT 6-0 322 Buford, Ga./Buford
Parade All-American…First-team Class AA all-state selection as a senior…Played in the Under Armour High School All-American Game…Ranked as the strongest player in the Under Armour All-Star Awards… Helped lead Buford to an undefeated season and a state title his senior year…Georgia Sports Writers' Association Class AA choice….Registered 93 tackles and seven sacks as a senior…Had 85 tackles, six sacks, a fumble recovery and 13 tackles for a loss as a junior…No. 37 in the ESPN 150 and ranked as the No. 2 defensive tackle in the position rankings…Received five-star billing and rated the second-best defensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com

Carl Moore WR 6-3 220 Roseville, Calif./Cordova (Sierra C.C.)
One of the most highly-coveted junior college players in the class of 2008 praised for his combination of size, strength and speed…Racked up 1,068 yards on 73 receptions with 16 touchdowns during his sophomore campaign at Sierra…Tied for fourth in total points scored and rated sixth across the California junior college system in receptions (73) as a sophomore…Helped lead Sierra to a second-ranked billing towards the end of the year and played in the NorCal Junior College Championship Game against the City of College of San Francisco…Reeled in 61 catches for 960 yards and seven touchdowns as a freshman with a long of 65…Averaged 15.7 yards per reception in his first year at Sierra…Also rated as a five-star recruit by Scout.com…PREP: Hauled in 21 catches for 410 yards and five touchdowns in just three games during his senior year at Cordova High School

Rest of the Class
Brendan Beal LB 6-3 223 Bangor, Pa./Liberty
Jeremy Brown CB 5-10 163 Orlando/Boone
Adrian Bushell DB 5-10 183 DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto
Jeffrey Demps ATH 5-8 176 Okahumpka/South Lake
Troy Epps DT 6-0 285 Union, S.C./Union (Coffeyville C.C.)
Dee Finley S 6-2 200 Auburn, Ala./Auburn
William Green DE 6-4 215 Hoover, Ala./Spain Park
Frankie Hammond, Jr. WR 6-0 170 Hollywood/Hallandale
Omarius Hines WR 6-1 205 Coriscana, Texas/Corsicana
Janoris Jenkins CB 5-10 177 Pahokee/Pahokee
Byran Jones OL/DL 6-3 305 Jacksonville/Nathan Bedford Forrest
T.J. Lawrence WR 6-0 185 Lakeland/Lakeland Kathleen
Lerentee McCray LB 6-2 205 Ocala/Dunnellon
Earl Okine DE 6-5 250 Gainesville/Gainesville
Matt Patchan OL 6-6 260 Tampa/Armwood
T.J. Pridemore LB 6-0 236 Gainesville, Ga./Buford
Sam Robey OL 6-4 275 Louisville, Ky./Trinity
Caleb Sturgis K 5-10 182 St. Augustine/St. Augustine
David Young OL 6-6 290 Edwardsville, Ill./Edwardsville

2008 Early Lookahead
Why to get excited: The Gators spent last year retooling and reloading after a national title winning 2006, and now they come out loaded with eight starters returning on offense, including QB Tim Tebow, eight on defense and punter Chas Henry, who helped them finish ninth in the nation, and first in the SEC, in net punting. Not only that, but they're even better with former USC RB Emmanuel Moody ready to roll. The four true road games (Georgia doesn't count): Tennessee, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Florida State. After the trip to Knoxville, that's not that bad.
Why to be grouchy: While Miami might not be Miami, when it comes to battling for the national title, it's still asking for trouble to play the Hurricanes, along with the trip to Florida State and games against Hawaii and The Citadel. Getting Ole Miss and Arkansas from the West is a big break, but LSU has to go to The Swamp. Most of the starters are back on defense, but there wasn't much of a pass rush last year and now Derrick Harvey is gone.
The number one thing to work on is: Better play from the pass defense. Massive changes were needed in the secondary going into last year, and it showed with the SEC's worst pass defense. The group had problems with accurate passers, bombers, and everyone in between, and while part of the problem was a lack of a pass rush, the corners have to be better. The spotlight will be on Wondy Pierre-Louis and Joe Haden.
Biggest offensive loss: WR Andre Caldwell
Biggest defensive loss: DE Derrick Harvey
Best returning offensive player: QB Tim Tebow, Jr.
Best returning defensive player: LB Brandon Spikes, Jr.

2007 Recap
Recap: Florida learned in 2007 that even defending national champions need to regroup every once in a while.  Despite sporting Heisman winner Tim Tebow and one of the most prolific offenses in the country, the Gators struggled to fill the gaps on a defense that was gutted by graduations and early defections to the NFL a year ago.  The result was a solid, if unspectacular, nine-win season and Capital One Bowl loss to Michigan, in which underclassmen played enormous roles on every corner of the depth chart.             

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Tim Tebow

Defensive Player of the Year: LB Brandon Spikes        

Biggest Surprise: Tebow.  Hey, everyone knew he could play, but there was still plenty of skepticism about his ability to be a complete quarterback, rather than a glorified fullback.  Not any longer.  Without a lot of help from anyone other than WR Percy Harvin, Tebow became the first player in NCAA history to rush and pass for 20 touchdowns in the same season, and the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy.      

Biggest Disappointment: The Gators had No. 1 LSU on the ropes on Oct. 6, but allowed the Tigers to wriggle out with a 28-24 victory.  Falling victim to Les Miles' gambles on fourth down, Florida squandered a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, yielding the game-winning score with just 1:09 left on the clock.    

Looking Ahead: After catching their breath in 2007, the Gators are poised to make another run toward an SEC championship and national title.  The defense took its lumps last fall, but will return in 2008 a little bigger, a lot wiser, and far better prepared to slow down SEC offenses.


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