From Top to Bottom, from A to Z. Anyway you want to put it, the 16 University of Florida seniors playing on Florida Field for the last time will not be forgotten.
By Mike Carey
UF Sports Information
Lasting Impressions. Everyone leaves one. No matter where you go or what you do, people will always remember you for something.
The same can be said for the class of seniors playing their last game on Florida Field today. They have helped bring 85,000 fans a great deal of enjoyment every Saturday through exciting wins. There have been some tough losses along the way as well, but this group of seniors, all 16 of them, have helped make Florida one of the most respected programs in the country.
- All-SEC Selections... Out of this group of 16
players, nine of the student-athletes have received some form of all-conference
recognition. Four players, David Barnard, Johnie Church, Reggie
Green and Ben Hanks were named to the SEC All-Freshman team in
1992. Two players, Jason Odom and Scott Perry, were named to
the SEC Academic Honor roll in 1993 while four more players (Dexter Daniels,
Chris Doering, Kevin Johnson and Brian Kovack) joined
them on that list in 1994. There have also been at least two players named
first- and second-team All-SEC in the last three years. Green and Odom were
named first and second team, respectively in 1993. Last year, Odom and Hanks
received first team honors while Daniels was tabbed as a second-team selection.
- Bowl Appearances...Three-straight bowl appearances, including
the 1992 Gator Bowl and the 1993 and 1994 Sugar Bowls. 1992 Gator Bowl Champions.
1993 Sugar Bowl Champions.
- Conference Champions...Back-to-back Southeastern Conference
Champions to be exact.
- Defense...Of this group of 16 players who will play their
final game at "The Swamp," 10 are on the defensive side of the ball.
Five of them are starters (Barnard, Campbell, Church, Daniels, Hanks).
- Eastern Division Titles...This class has won three-straight
SEC Eastern Division Championships and appeared in each of the first three
conference title games.
- Florida...Florida is home to 14 of the members of this year's
senior class. Barnard, Bartley, Campbell, Church, Doering, Green, Hanks, Harrison,
Johnson, Kovack, McCorkle, Odom, Pearson and Scott Perry all played
in their home state.
- Graduates...Two players earned their degrees before the start
of the season while the rest of the group is expected to graduate in May or
during the summer. Ben Hanks earned his degree in Recreation/Parks
Management and Tourism in August while Kevin Johnson graduated in May
with a degree in Parks/Tourism.
- Hanks, Ben...One of the great stories of this class. He was
narrowly admitted into the university, but prospered while he was here and
graduated in August with a degree in Recreation/Parks and Tourism. Hanks started
graduate school this year.
- Inside Track...The seniors have led UF to the inside track
of what, possibly, may be one of the greatest seasons in school history.
- Jacobs Award...The award given annually to the Outstanding
Blocker in the SEC, it is selected each year by the conference coaches. Last
year, it went to Jason Odom.
- Knockout Punch...When leading at the half, this senior class
has led the Gators to 33-1-1 record since 1992.
- Long-Snapper...One of the positions which will have to be
filled next year is Kevin Johnson's job as the long-snapper on punts
and field goals. Johnson has served in this capacity for the last two years.
He completed 117-of-118 snaps as a junior and had a string of 76 consecutive
without a miscue at one point.
- Memorable Moments...This group had a bunch. They were a part
of the first team in school history to win 11 games (1993), the first team
to win a Sugar Bowl (1994) and the first team to win back-to-back SEC Championships
- National Rankings...The Gators have finished among the top-10
teams in the country in each of the seniors first three years, one of only
two teams in the country to do so.
- Offensive Linemen...Four offensive linemen will graduate this
year. Two of them, Green and Odom, had combined for 76 starts midway through
this season. The other players, Harrison and Johnson, have been valuable reserves.
- Polls...This team has been ranked among the top 20 every week
since 1992. That's 60 weeks in a row. The Gators have also been among the
top 10 in the country for 46 consecutive weeks. During that span, Florida
has been among the top five teams in the country 33 of 61 weeks, including
25 of the last 27.
- Quality Wins...Every win is a quality win, but against teams
ranked in the top 25, Florida has had some big wins. This senior class has
10 wins over ranked teams. In 1992, two (Georgia and N.C. State); in 1993,
three (Tennessee, Alabama and West Virginia); in 1994, two (Tennessee and
Alabama); and in 1995, three (Tennessee, LSU and Auburn).
- Reliable...Matt Pearson received the defensive squad's
"Most Reliable Award" last spring. A valuable player as a linebacker
and on the special teams.
- Special-Teams...Several players in this group of seniors have
made a name for their play on the Gator special teams. Sam McCorkle
led the group in tackles as a sophomore (14) and a junior (29). Sorola
Palmer had returned 41 punts for 405 yards. He led the team in that category
last season and was fourth in the SEC. As a sophomore, he finished fifth in
the conference and 22nd in the nation with a 9.9 return average. Pearson and
Johnson have also contributed to the succuess of the special teams.
- Touchdowns...Chris Doering has caught a bunch of them.
Through the Georgia game this year, he had 25 career TD catches, second all-time
in both UF and SEC history. He averages a touchdown every 4.60 catches.
- Unselfish...Reggie Green was the recipient of last
spring's "Most Unselfish Award."
- Victories...Through the Georgia game this season, a 37-8-1
record over the last four years. The team needs three wins to tie last year's
class for the most wins by a UF senior class and needs one more victory in
the SEC to tie that same class for most wins in the conference with 29.
- Walk-On's...Five of the seniors are former walk-on's. The
most high-profile of that trio would be senior wide receiver Chris Doering.
Offensive lineman P.J. Harrison walked on as a freshman and has been
a backup for a strong line while strong safety Sam McCorkle walked
on as a freshman and earned a scholarship. Brian Kovack and Scott
Perry are also walk-on's who have been back-ups on the defense.
- X-Cellent Leadership...From offensive tri-captains Doering,
Green and Odom as well as defensive co-captain's Campbell and Hanks.
- Yardstick...This class, with back-to-back SEC Championships,
three-straight appearances in the conference championship game, three major
bowl appearances and over 30 wins could be the measuring stick by which future
teams are looked at.
- Zero...The number of times this team has been shutout over
the last four years. Also the number of times this class lost to Georgia.