Best SEC players of the last decade: No. 1, Tim Tebow
Editor’s note: SDS is ranking the 25 best SEC players — at any position — of the last decade. Florida quarterback Tim Tebow concludes the 25-part daily series at No. 1.
- No. 25: South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery
- No. 24: Texas A&M LT Luke Joeckel
- No. 23: Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews
- No. 22: Alabama OL Barrett Jones
- No. 21: Georgia QB Aaron Murray
- No. 20: Florida OL Mike Pouncey
- No. 19: Georgia LB Jarvis Jones
- No. 18: Georgia WR A.J. Green
- No. 17: Alabama LB Rolando McClain
- No. 16: Florida LB Brandon Spikes
- No. 15: South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney
- No. 14: Alabama QB AJ McCarron
- No. 13: Alabama RB Mark Ingram
- No. 12: LSU DB Patrick Peterson
- No. 11: Alabama WR Amari Cooper
- No. 10: Alabama WR Julio Jones
- No. 9: Ole Miss LB Patrick Willis
- No. 8: LSU DL Glenn Dorsey
- No. 7: Tennessee DB Eric Berry
- No. 6: LSU DB Tyrann Mathieu
- No. 5: Florida ATH Percy Harvin
- No. 4: Arkansas RB Darren McFadden
- No. 3: Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
- No. 2: Auburn QB Cam Newton
1.) FLORIDA QB TIM TEBOW (2006-09)
Unquestioned leader. Fearless warrior. All-time winner.
This former Florida quarterback and current SEC Network analyst reached the pinnacle of college football as a two-time national champion and was the first-ever sophomore to win the Heisman trophy. Urban Meyer’s right-hand man during four years of dominance, Tebow was the SEC’s poster boy as one of the nation’s best players and embodied what it meant to be a teammate, outspoken in the locker room as the Gators’ top competitor.
Tebow’s 2007 Heisman campaign featuring a single-season program and league record 51 total touchdowns marked the first of three consecutive appearances on the All-SEC team. A Heisman finalist in 2008, Tebow directed Florida to a 13-1 season and the program’s second national title in three years.
His legacy was defined that fall after guaranteeing his team would not lose again following an early-season loss to Ole Miss. Tebow’s ‘Promise’ is now apart of college football lore:
“I promise you one thing. A lot of good will come out of this. You will never see any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of the season. You will never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of the season. You will never see a team play harder than we will the rest of the season.”
Tebow is one of three Heisman winners with a bronze statue sitting outside Florida’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. He ranks in the Top 10 in every major offensive category at Florida and is first for all-time rushing touchdowns with 57 — 21 more than the great Emmitt Smith. Tebow is considered by many as the best player in Gators football history.
Career numbers: 9,285 yards passing, 88 TD, 16 INT; 2,947 yards rushing, 57 TD
Individual superlatives: Heisman (2007); All-American (2007-08); All-SEC (2007-09); SEC Offensive Player of the Year (2008); Maxwell Award (2007-08); Davey O’Brien Award (2007)
Defining moment: As dominant as Tebow was on the field, his most substantial impact may have been made off. His memorable halftime speech in the BCS Championship Game against Oklahoma and the emotional post-game promise following a loss to Ole Miss highlight his defining moments as one of the SEC’s best ever.