Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tebow to return for senior season

Gators quarterback Tim Tebow high-fives fans at the championship celebration Sunday after saying he is returning. He spoke of an undefeated season: “That’s something they have never done here at the University of Florida, so that’s a goal.”

BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Gators quarterback Tim Tebow high-fives fans at the championship celebration Sunday after saying he is returning. He spoke of an undefeated season: “That’s something they have never done here at the University of Florida, so that’s a goal.”

GAINESVILLE

Some 42,000 people gathered at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Sunday afternoon to acknowledge Florida's 2008 national football championship, but by the end of the nearly 90-minute celebration, quarterback Tim Tebow had given them reason to rejoice for 2009.

In a brief speech in which he seemed to be saying farewell, Tebow, 21, electrified the crowd when he announced he plans to return for his senior season.

Amid chants of "one more year," Tebow thanked God, fans, coaches and teammates for their support, said how much he enjoyed his three years, then turned to leave the stage. But as he headed toward the stairs, he turned and headed back toward center stage, saying, "Oh, by the way, one more thing, let's do it again. I'm coming back."

Tebow informed coach Urban Meyer of his decision Saturday evening.

"It's a great day for Gator football," Meyer said after Sunday's celebration. "It means a lot. Obviously, there's the functional football player part of it, but we all know it's much deeper than that. He is so good for college football. He is unbelievable. When my daughter texts me in the morning the Bible verse he has under his eyes, it's good for college football, it's good for young people, it's good for everything."

Wide receiver/running back Percy Harvin and linebacker Brandon Spikes, both juniors, have until Thursday to declare for April's NFL draft. Spikes, from Shelby, N.C., did not attend the celebration, but teammate Ryan Stamper said Spikes told him he planned to return.

"I'm kind of leaning toward coming back," Harvin, of Virginia Beach, Va., said during an interview with Sun Sports on Sunday, but he added he has not made a decision. Meyer said he has told both he "will love them no matter what they decide."

"They are still doing their research," Meyer said. "And that's all I want, is for guys to make the right decision."

Tebow said that in the 48 hours after the 24-14 victory over Oklahoma in the Bowl Championship Series title game on Thursday in Miami, he spoke with numerous NFL coaches, family members and his coaches. The Jacksonville area native called weighing his options "a burden" and said he wanted to make a decision quickly and move on. He has won two national titles in three years and the 2007 Heisman Trophy, but he said there are things he would still like to accomplish.

"Have an undefeated season," he said when asked what's left to prove. "That's something they have never done here at the University of Florida, so that's a goal. And just come back, have fun and try to be the best player I can be and try to go down in history. That's all."

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.

Tebow to return for senior season 01/11/09 [Last modified: Monday, January 12, 2009 8:46am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Sunday Morning Quarterback, Week 5

    Footballpreps

    Team of the Week | Armwood

    Armwood High School defensive end and outside linebacker Fitzroy Gardner during the first half of the Armwood at Jefferson football game in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, September 22, 2017.
  2. Gators rally past Kentucky, streak hits 31

    Blogs

    LEXINGTON, Ky. — For the second week in a row, Florida found itself storming the field in a game that came down to the last second. A 57-yard field-goal attempt by Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis came just a few feet short of making history and snapping a 30-year losing streak, as the No. 20 Gators escaped a …

    Florida wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) scores a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Lexington, Ky.
  3. Pen makes it way too interesting as Rays hang on for 9-6 win

    Blogs

    A couple of home runs provided the news pegs of the night for the Rays, but it was more topical to talk about what nearly happened as they hung on for a 9-6 win over the Orioles.

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season, as well as his …

    Lucas Duda's three-run homer in the third inning was the Rays' record-breaking 217th of the season.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi admitted he probably should have gone on the DL sooner than late July for the back stiffness that was keeping him from throwing the ball where he wanted to. He has since found an impressive groove, with another strong outing Saturday.

  5. Matt Baker's takeaways from Florida State-N.C. State

    College

    RB Cam Akers still looks like a former high school quarterback at times. His first two touches (30 yards) were special, but the freshman juked instead of powering ahead on his third (an unsuccessful third-and-1 rush). That's why the Seminoles are easing him in, as they did with Dalvin Cook three years ago.

    Running back Cam Akers carries for a first down during the third quarter as FSU eases the freshman into the college game.