Dooley’s Dozen: 12 Gator greats who failed to earn paver recognition
The tradition is not an old one. It doesn’t date back to the previous century or even the last years of Steve Spurrier.
But it is certainly a cool one.
If a Florida football player is named first team All-America by one of five groups – Football Writers, Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association, Water Camp or Sporting News – there is a paver placed at the entrance to the Heavener Museum.
It was an Urban Meyer idea that started in 2008 and there are some Gator greats that students who walk around the stadium get to see all the time.
But there are some players who were Gator greats but never made one of those first teams. For today’s Dooley’s Dozen we bring you the men Without Pavers, the 12 guys who were great, but did not qualify
All [autotag]Neal Anderson[/autotag] did was lead Florida in rushing for three straight years at a time when Florida was a run-first team. He also went over 1,000 yards in 1985. Of course, that was when the country was full of stars at the position (like Bo Jackson and Thurman Thomas), so Neal missed out.
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Man, the year Trask had in 2020 was unbelievable. But that was also the year of Mac Jones and Trevor Lawrence. Trask was named the CBS first-teamer, but that doesn’t qualify. Trask didn’t make first-team All-SEC because Jones, who was throwing to Heisman winner DeVonta Smith, took that as well.
RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports
The man who led Florida to two SEC titles and was SEC Player of the Year twice was not an All-American. Instead, that honor went both years to Heisman winner (in 1990) Ty Detmer. That didn’t take away from what Matthews was able to do in three wonderful years as Steve Spurrier’s first quarterback.
David Williams #73. Long Photography-USA TODAY Sports
Williams is in the argument for being one of the best offensive linemen ever to play for the orange and blue. He went on to a great professional career. He was unanimously picked for the All-SEC teams in 1988 but was not a first-team All-American.
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Certainly, losing his senior season did not help. But two games in, he was done for the year. He had put up incredible numbers before that 1979 season but did not make any of the designated teams.
AP Photo/Bill Hudson
Jimmy Du’s 1975 season was so good that he was named the SEC Player of the Year. He was second team on both the writers’ and coaches’ ballots behind Archie Griffin and Ricky Bell. Pretty heady company. His 1,307 yards in ’75 are the third most in Florida history.
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The Throwin’ Mayoan had four years and was good enough to be named SEC Player of the Year as a freshman. But sanctions against the program hurt the depth of the roster and Bell missed some time with a knee injury as a junior. And ’84 was also the year of Doug Flutie winning everything.
Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports
Who didn’t love Siler? He was the backbone of Meyer’s defenses in Urban’s first two years at Florida and hit as hard as any linebacker to play for the Gators. He still has the Florida record for most fumbles recovered in a season with seven in 2005.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Of course, they vote on these All-American teams before the postseason or Harvey might have made it just on that Ohio State game. He finished his career with the third most tackles for a loss in UF history (Nos. 1 and 2 have pavers) with 51.5 including 20.5 sacks.
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The Rocket was one of the great receivers to play at Florida and was a unanimous All-SEC selection in 1986, a year where he played with a separated shoulder. But Cris Carter and Tim Brown kind of got in his way of getting a paver.
You all know what a valuable player he was on a national championship defense. Brown finished his career with 14 interceptions, one fewer than all-time leader Fred Weary (who does have a paver). He especially loved playing against Peyton Manning.
Richard Trapp (44). AP Photo/Horace Cort
One of my favorite players growing up and he should have a paver just for the spectacular catch-and-run to help beat Georgia in 1967. He led the SEC in receiving in Steve Spurrier’s Heisman year.
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