Dooley’s Dozen: 12 most famous Florida Gators athletes right now
There are different ways to measure the popularity of athletes in this country. It could be Q-score or the Davie Brown Rating or jersey sales or commercials.
Whatever it is nationally, it certainly varies from state to state and from city to city within those states.
All we know is that there are former Florida athletes who are a big deal. You flash up the picture and every Gator who has a daily chomp requirement knows who it is.
Today the Dooley’s Dozen looks at the 12 most famous Gators — not of all time, but right here and right now. Today.
Here we go.
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Between commercials (especially the Heisman House) and his work for the SEC Network and everything he does to help people including the “Night To Shine,” Tebow is still the man. He could become a hermit and still make this list. There are fans who still want him to play quarterback for the Gators. But he is a national brand.
It feels like Emmitt has been a big deal ever since he walked on campus, but he certainly has crossed over. As the all-time leading rusher in the NFL and a Dancing With The Stars winner, he has dipped his toes in a little bit of everything.
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If this was just Gainesville, he would be at the top of the list. Spurrier certainly is a celebrity everywhere he goes (especially among journalists who love his honest wit) but in Hogtown you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting something with his name on it. Like the stadium, his ultra-successful restaurant, city buses, a street named after him, etc.
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He once had a speech therapist at Florida to slow him down when calling plays. Now, he makes a living talking. His good looks and easy-going nature have landed him so many TV gigs you wonder how he has time for anything else. Once he was on The Bachelor, it was on.
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Cris started doing radio in Cincinnati and it blossomed into an enormous career. We all miss his golf tournament in Gainesville and Collinsworth doesn’t try to force himself into the limelight but it finds him anyway. One of my favorite guys ever at UF.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
She has certainly become a big star with her TV work and commercials and her time on DWTS, and she is on this list even though being a Dazzler is not considered an intercollegiate sport. But I’m counting her because she is a Gator and is famous and we need some beauty on this list
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Danny is an amazing person as we all know and his Desire Street Ministry just keeps growing. He is in the running to be labeled as the most beloved Gator because of all the charity work he does and time he has for the fans.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
You don’t think she is famous? Go check out her social media numbers. There’s a reason the gymnasts kill it on NIL and nobody does better than the young lady who might be the best ever at UF. Her infectious smile and grace under pressure are incredible.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
He’s still going and he will once again be in the NBA Playoffs even though his last college game was 16 years ago. Horford melts hearts and collects rings. And while Joakim Noah might have been the face of the champions in college, Horford was the glue.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Horschel pops up in many commercials for golf and while his popularity is mostly with people who watch golf, his success has given Gator fans something to cheer about on tour. Before it’s over, he might be the best UF golfer to ever play with the big boys.
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Yeah, I know. Not everything he is known for has been good. But the medals (12 in the Olympics) and the looks and the TV show and everything else combine to make him a very recognizable star. That star may be fading in his old age (38) but he is still famous enough to make this list.
Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun
I may have surprised you a little with this one, but over the next couple of months, you are going to be inundated with AR opinions. He was already famous for his SportsCenter top plays, the not-so-top plays, and his backflips. It will be fascinating to see how he is now dissected by the people who claim to know everything.
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