Whenever you start evaluating offensive linemen for anything, it gets complicated.
We don’t watch hours of tape or watch these guys practice. And once a game starts, we tend to watch the ball and not the trenches.
That’s why I’ve always said that some of the all-conference or even all-American teams are built up front with a bunch of guys the media has heard of or players who happen to play for an efficient offense.
At the same time, if you have watched enough Gator football over the years, you know. Or at least you think you know.
What we know is Florida has not had a Jacobs Blocking Trophy winner since Kenyatta Walker in 2000. It is strange the coaches didn’t think anyone from Florida’s 2006 and 2008 national championship teams were worthy.
It’s kind of a weird award anyway. The first winner in the SEC was a quarterback. Alabama has had 25 winners, Florida has had six with four coming during the Steve Spurrierera.
The Jacobs Award is not the only way to measure the best, and a winner from UF was one of the last cuts of the latest Dooley’s Dozen as we take a look at the 12 (plus one) best offensive linemen in UF history.
Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
I have been lobbying for years that Brown should be in the Ring of Honor and I am not going to stop now. He was Florida’s first Jacobs winner and an All-American in 1984. His powerful blocking style opened holes for some of the best to ever play for the Gators, and his left side protection was unmatched. He is the only Gator O-lineman in the College Football Hall of Fame.
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When Florida landed the Pouncey twins, flipping them from FSU, there was a feeling the Gators might be building something special. They were. Maurkice started at guard as a freshman before moving to center and eventually winning the Rimington Award as the country’s best at that position.
Scott Halleran /Allsport
I used to joke with Jason about the Jacob Award because he was the only two-time winner from Florida, and he never received anything for it. There was no trophy, not even a certificate. Anyway, after struggling as a true freshman (but still helping UF get to the SEC title game), he was a dominant force for the next three seasons of championship football.
David Williams (73). Long Photography-USA TODAY Sports
Many of the players on this list were not only physical, but they were also durable. Williams never came out of a game and was a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy. He started every game and blocked first for the great 1985 team and then for [autotag]Emmitt Smith[/autotag] on his way to being All-SEC twice.
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Here is one of your Jacobs winners and the only Gator to win a Jacobs and a Fergie. The Fergie Ferguson Award goes to the Gator senior who displays great leadership and character. That he was the starting center on teams that won the 1990 (according to all sane people) and 1991 SEC championships says a lot.
Mike Pearson (71). AP Photo/John Bazemore
We often think about how the 2001 Florida team was one of the best ever and Pearson was a big reason. The left tackle protected Rex Grossman and plowed the field for a bevy of backs. He was an All-American in 2001 and twice was first team on the All-SEC. squad.
Burton Lawless (66). Malcolm Emmons- USA TODAY Sports
One of the highlights of my career was getting to know Burton pretty well when I was in Waco for a baseball regional. He is considered by many to be the best pulling guard in UF history, a three-year starter who was an All-American in 1974.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Maybe I have him too low. He was an All-American twice — the only Gator offensive lineman in history who can say that. He was a big part of “The Great Wall of Florida.” I mean big, with a listed weight of 320 pounds back in the day when guards were going 275. I don’t know this, but I think he might have been Florida’s first 300-pound starter.
Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun
Now, he is a pitmaster, but in his day, Snell was an All-American. The day was 2003 and he did it while playing for [autotag]Ron Zook[/autotag]. He was another of those guys who was incredibly durable and hard to get out of the lineup with 36 starts during his career.
The Enquirer/Fred Straub
My man, Guy Dennis. We have become close friends; he still lives in Gainesville after a long NFL career. In 1968, he was named All-American at guard and was the offensive team captain that year. Just a quick, fierce and agile blocker. And a good man.
Crawford Ker (68). RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports
Boy, it would be some shindig with Snell and Ker supplying the food. But before he started a career as a chicken wings specialist, Ker was another member of the “Great Wall,” the third to make this list. And “Big Daddy” is the only walk-on. He did that at Arizona Western and Florida signed him for two wonderful years at right tackle.
Jeff Mitchell and Donnie Young
Jeff Mitchell (71). USA TODAY Sports
It gets really complicated at the end. Donnie Young was a Jacobs winner and Mitchell was tremendous before the injury in his senior year. They were also go-to interview guys. That was a fun team to cover in 1995 and ’96. Anyway, they both deserve it. So does Larry Gagner. And Val Heckman and Bill Carr. There were All-Americans.
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