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Wednesday September 18, 2013Former Gators receiver Wes Chandler's special place in the 'Karate Kid' and NFL Draft

Updated: 9:21am, September 19

Wes Chandler

Former Gators receiver Wes Chandler's No. 89 Chargers jersey was featured in the "Karate Kid."

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The announcement on Wednesday that former Gators receiver Wes Chandler will represent UF as an SEC Legend at the conference championship game in December should surprise no one.

Especially the "more experienced" Gator fans who remember Chandler's exploits from 1974-77 at Florida.

Chandler was electric each time he touched the ball and was a first-team All-American his final two seasons as a dynamic receiver playing in a run-oriented offense.

Chandler caught 92 passes for 1,963 yards and a then-school-record 22 touchdowns in his college career. He also scored six more times on kick returns.

Chandler was the third overall pick in the 1978 NFL Draft by New Orleans, where he played four seasons before being traded to San Diego and becoming part of the Chargers' Air Coryell offense.

Wes Chandler

I wondered how many other college receivers since 1978 have gone in the top three picks of the NFL Draft. Very few. Eight to be exact.

That's how good Chandler was.

Here is a list of the other receivers to go third or higher in the last 36 years:

Lam Jones (Texas), No. 2 overall to the Jets in 1980; Irving Friar (Nebraska), No. 1 overall to the Patriots in 1984; Keyshawn Johnson (USC), No. 1 overall to the Jets in 1996; Charles Rogers (Michigan State), No. 2 overall to the Lions in 2003; Andre Johnson (Miami), No. 3 overall to the Texans in 2003; Larry Fitzgerald (Pittsburgh), No. 3 overall to the Cardinals in 2004; Braylon Edwards (Michigan), No. 3 overall to the Browns in 2005; and Calvin Johnson (Georgia Tech), No. 2 overall to the Lions in 2007.

Meanwhile, Chandler also has a special place in pop culture history.

If you've seen the "Karate Kid," Ralph Macchio's character wears a Chargers No. 89 jersey in several scenes in the movie. That was a replica of Chandler's jersey.

Chandler will be honored at the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta on Dec. 7.

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