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The 2008 Florida Gators

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2008 – The year this country saw its’ first black president, the year when rapper T.I. told millions of women all over the world that they could have whatever they liked.  As a young 13-year-old 8th grader aspiring to be the best defensive end the NFL had ever seen, I knew that going to a major Division 1 college was key to my future success that I just knew was coming to me. At that, I wanted it to be with the University of Florida Gators because they had serious star power.

They went 13-1 en route to the 2008 BCS national championship. Not only that, they were one of the greatest college football teams of all time, but instead will likely be remembered for what ensued in the decade or so after.

 

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Tim Tebow

Much like college, Tebow went on to be one of the most praised QB’s at the pro level, although it didn’t last as long. Drafted 25th overall in the first round by the Denver Broncos in 2010, the biggest knock on Tebow was his throwing style and accuracy. The sidearm slingshot way of delivering the ball to his teammates wouldn’t transfer well to the pro game, according to various NFL scouts. His rookie season was a quiet one, but going into 2011, Tebow finally got his chance, upon which he set the NFL world ablaze.

Tebow took over after Kyle Orton got benched against the Chargers, and he never looked back. His overall stats for the season were not great, but in the final minutes of games, he seemed to pull rabbits out of his hat and somehow secured wins for Denver, eventually leading them to a playoff spot.

As a very religious player, Tebow would pray before the games. This pre-game kneeling prayer became known as “Tebowing” and took the internet by storm. In the 2010 playoffs, he beat the crowd favorite Pittsburgh Steelers on the first play of overtime to move onto the next round. After that, Tebow had short stints with the Jets and Patriots before finally falling out of the league.

Now, he’s doing college broadcasting for ESPN, but that 2011 touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas that sent the Steelers home will forever live in the hearts of football fans around the world.

Riley Cooper

Drafted in 2010 by the Eagles, Cooper was pretty productive from 2010-2012, making big plays here and there but never really having a breakout year. In July of 2013, Cooper was seen at a Kenny Chesney concert and caught on film using the N-word (hard, and I mean very hard, “-er”) that didn’t take long at all to go viral. Soon after, the Eagles signed Cooper to a 5-year $22.5 million contract.

This decision didn’t go over well with the black players in the locker room. Furthermore, Cooper never lived up to his new deal, finishing out with 76 receptions, 904 yards, and 5 TD’s before the Eagles released him in 2016.

Janoris Jenkins

Janoris Jenkins started a great career for himself after he was drafted by what was then the St. Louis Rams in the second round of the 2012 draft. He quickly made a name for himself, almost winning Defensive Rookie of the year, and when he got to the Giants in 2016, he was voted into his first Pro Bowl.

In the offseason of 2018, a dead body found in Jenkins’ New Jersey home was identified by acting prosecutor Dennis Calo as Roosevelt Rene, “family friends of the residents,” according to Art Stapleton of NorthJersey.com. The murder allegedly happened while Jenkins was out of the state, and a day later, his brother, William Jenkins, was arrested and charged with aggravated manslaughter. Janoris Jenkins is now with the New Orleans Saints after being released from the Giants due to him using a racial slur during an argument with a fan on Twitter.

Urban Meyer

Head coach Urban Myer moved his way up through the ranks by first coming on the scene in 2004 coaching non-Power Five Utah to a BCS upset win over Pittsburg in the Fiesta Bowl as part of the Utes’ first undefeated season. Meyer then came to Gainesville in 2005 and got the championship every coach dreams of in both 2006 and 2008, cementing his legacy in college football. According to a Sporting News article, “From champs to chomped: How Urban Meyer broke Florida football,” however, he left the Gators in ruins.

The article states that Meyer had a “circle of trust” for stars on the team that other players didn’t take kindly to, and it showed before the 2007 season opener versus Hawaii. Stars Brandon Spikes, Percy Harvin, and Aaron Hernandez were all listed out because of injuries, but some players noticed that they all failed a drug test and were just sitting the one-game suspension under university rules. Meyer claimed to retire after leaving Florida after the 2010 season, but at the end of 2011 took the head coaching job at Ohio State.

He won a title for the Buckeyes in 2014, and despite losing major talent to the draft, Meyer continued his winning ways in Columbus. In 2018, Meyer was put on administrative leave after reports broke that he had knowledge of sexual assault by Ohio State assistant Zach Smith. Smith, who was at Florida at the same time as Meyer, was also charged in a 2009 incident in Gainesville, battering Courtney Smith, who was pregnant with his baby at the time.

Smith was accused of the same crime in 2015 involving the same Courtney Smith. Meyer allegedly urged Ohio State to hire Smith in 2012 and did not tell the school of his past incidents. Meyer has retired now from OSU, citing health issues.

Aaron Hernandez

Unless you have been living under a rock, you pretty much know what happened here. But, I’ll summarize it for you. Aaron was a big piece for Florida in his time there and became a star tight end along Rob Gronkowski for the New England Patriots. He was accused of killing Odin Lloyd not long after he signed a 5-year $40 million contract with the Pats and later convicted and sentenced to life in prison. He died in what was deemed a suicide in April of 2017 while he was still in jail.

Aaron had a troubled past with abuse and let it spill over into college. In 2007, he ordered two drinks from a Gainesville bar when he was only 17. After refusing to pay for them, he sucker-punched the employee who tried to confront him. Later that year, he was involved in a double murder where he was found not to be the triggerman. He was, however, in the car when the shooting took place.

There were many other infamous names on that 2008 Gator team

Offensive linemen Maurkice and Mike Pouncey, the Pouncey brothers, who wore “Free Hernandez” hats in support of their felon friend, starting a movement that brought a lot of the wrong attention. There was RB Chris Rainey, who was arrested in college for sending a threatening text message to his girlfriend, including a message that read “time to die.” In addition, he was cut by the Steelers after getting arrested for battery in Florida.

They had WR Percy Harvin, who allegedly got into physical altercations with coaches. They also had LB Brandon Spikes, who in 2009 served a half-game suspension for trying to gauge an opponent’s eye out. Then, failed a drug test and had a sex tape leak after being drafted by the Patriots in 2010.

I only gave guys the notables in the bolded names at the top, but a preacher, racist, and killer led this team. It’s a story you can’t make up, and one you have to read to believe.

Author

  • Derdrick White

    Just a blogger who bout that action boss. I'm with all the smoke if you coming for my Dallas Cowboys who by the way will win the Super Bowl this year. Graduate from the one and only HBCU in Oklahoma, Langston University. The real LU.

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