Before he being a two-time BCS National Championship Game winner, two-time SEC Player of the Year, Heisman Trophy winner, first-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, minor league baseball prospect, and father of “Tebowmania,” former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow was a 220-pound freshman trying to find his role in Gainesville.
Spoiler alert: It didn’t take long.
Even though Urban Meyer’s Florida Gators had Chris Leak cemented as starting quarterback, that 2006 football team was not taking the field without the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat QB recruit. Tebow arrived at the University of Florida after an All-American career at Nease High School, where he amassed over 13,000 total yards and 157 touchdowns in three seasons.
And to think: Tebow’s first high school coach played him at tight end as a freshman.
After arriving at Florida, Tebow saw action immediately in the team’s first game against Southern Mississippi. Overcoming a slow start, the seventh-ranked Gators turned up the heat after halftime to beat the Golden Eagles, 34-7. Leak threw three touchdown passes, and Percy Harvin totaled 91 yards from scrimmage.
As for Tebow, he only recorded one carry for one yard, which he punctuated with a huge stiff arm and lunge across the goal line for his first career rushing touchdown.
Tim Tebow’s First Touchdown at Florida
Despite being ahead early in the fourth quarter and in complete control, Tebow willing himself into the end zone — then popping up to celebrate with his teammates — foreshadowed the next several years in which he’d become arguably the greatest college football player ever and a three-time Heisman Trophy finalist.
Think Tebow was satisfied after that? No way.
With 19 seconds on the clock, Tebow handed off to running back Kestahn Moore, who sprung free. As Moore scampered 27 yards to the 50-yard line, stopping the clock before the game’s final play, who was the lead blocker getting shoved out of bounds?
Yup. Tim Tebow.
The announcer team was not thrilled:
“We’ve gotta talk to my man Tim Tebow. We’ve got to get him to understand that he is a quarterback. When the running back breaks the line of scrimmage like that, he’s running for a touchdown. The quarterback is supposed to sit back and watch. He’s not supposed to try and catch up and throw the lead block as Tim Tebow did there.”
Glad Tebow didn’t listen to that guy…
Tebow only threw the ball 33 times his freshman season, logging five passing touchdowns to go along with eight rushing scores — One of each came in the national title game against Ohio State.
The next year, No. 15 set Florida’s single-season record with 27 rushing touchdowns, becoming the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy.
Tebow’s “never quit” attitude was obvious from the very beginning, whether that announce crew understood it or not. The only proof you need is Tebow giving everything he had — every inch of his 6-foot-3 frame — to help his team and score his first college touchdown.