MIAMI — Florida's 24-14 BCS title game victory was barely 15 minutes old, but the chant could be heard throughout various parts of Dolphin Stadium clearly.
"One more year. One more year."
For quarterback Tim Tebow, linebacker Brandon Spikes and wide receiver/running back Percy Harvin, the message was: Florida fans would like them all to return for their final season.
All have submitted paperwork to the NFL draft advisory committee to ascertain their potential draft status. The deadline for underclassmen to submit paperwork and declare for the draft is Thursday.
But after the title game, Tebow and Spikes were expressing the possibility of being like the Gators' 2006 national championship men's basketball team, which returned all five starters and won another NCAA Tournament the next season.
Spikes and Tebow met in Mike Shula's office when both were being recruited by the former Alabama coach. Their friendship runs deep. Asked if Tebow's decision will have any affect on his, Spikes said, "Absolutely."
Of the three, Harvin is the one who most likely won't return. He is almost certain to be a first-round NFL draft choice and ended his All-America season with nine carries for 122 yards and five receptions for 49 yards — all with a sprain and a hairline fracture in his right ankle.
"Right now, I'm going to celebrate with my teammates, and I'll get with my family and my coaches later on and make that decision," Harvin said Thursday night.
Realistically, even teammates don't expect him back. Safety Ahmad Black said he will try his best to talk Spikes and Tebow into staying.
"Percy?" Black said, "I think that's a lost cause."
Coach Urban Meyer said he will put the players in contact with numerous people from the NFL, including Patriots coach Bill Belichick, so they can make an informed decision.
"There's not much difference between Tim and Nathan, my son," Meyer said when asked about Tebow. "I love Tim. He's family. He's everything. … Tim will make a very well-educated decision. … So rest assured, and Gator Nation needs to know Tim will make the right decision. I have no idea what it is, and out of respect to Tim and his family, it hasn't even been discussed. I'm sure over the next few days it will."
Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]