The University of Florida football program has had some incredible players come through the program. Former Gators wide receiver and current SEC Radio host Chris Doering has a pretty interesting choice for the greatest Gator of all: former First-Team All-American Percy Harvin.
Harvin was a significant contributor during all three of his college seasons from 2006-08, winning the national title as a freshman and junior. He finished his career with 3,781 total yards from scrimmage and 32 touchdowns.
His impact was felt long after that final year, with Urban Meyer recruiting a number of players at Florida and Ohio State who got the "next Percy Harvin" tag for their dynamic ability with the ball in their hands. One could argue that he never quite got that same type of player again, though that isn't a huge surprise. Harvin was a rare talent at the college level.
“Tim Tebow, Danny Wuerffel, and Steve Spurrier all won Heisman trophies, but Percy Harvin is the best player ever to play football at the University of Florida," Doering, a Florida Hall of Famer and Second-Team All-American for the Gators, said. “There’s no doubt in my mind. If you go back and look, the offensive drop-off from 2008 to 2009 was rather significant."
Tim Tebow, who was Harvin's quarterback for much of that run, is the face of that era of Florida football, alongside Meyer. Doering thinks that Harvin was the straw that stirred the drink for the offense though, and it declined after his departure.
"They still had Tim Tebow, but what they didn’t have was Percy Harvin, and it completely changed the dynamics of that offense. Whether they were using him at receiver to throw the football downfield or on speed sweeps or lining him up on the backfield … He essentially was just a better player.
“It was ultimately going back to middle school football where you give the best player on the field the football and let him do the rest of it. He made those athletes that LSU had … look very average. That’s what he routinely did time and time again at Florida, and in the NFL for that matter.”
Going against a guy like Tebow is bold, but Doering is as familiar with Florida football as anyone. He makes a compelling argument here.