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Early Heisman votes might have been costly to Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow

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Tim Tebow insists he's ready to move on from his failed bid to win a second Heisman Trophy, turning his full attention to the Gators' Jan. 8 BCS national championship game against Oklahoma and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford.

But the debate over whether the Heisman is based on a player's body of work for the entire season has heated up again after it was revealed 127 of the 926 ballots were cast before the SEC and Big 12 championship games were played. (Tebow and Bradford each played in those games.)

Of those votes cast early, Tebow was in third place behind Bradford and Texas QB Colt McCoy. Of the 777 cast after the championship games, Tebow was ahead of McCoy and just slightly behind Bradford.

Tebow said the majority of college football fans around the country either love or hate the Gators; there's no in between. Which quite possibly, he said, explains why he was left off 154 ballots. He thinks former coach Steve Spurrier is responsible in some respects.

"It probably started with Spurrier's swagger, to tell you the truth," Tebow said when asked why so many fans loathe the Gators. "How he handled his situation, the way he played when he was at Florida, kind of made people not like the Gators or the Swamp."

When asked jokingly if he was saying Spurrier cost him a second Heisman, Tebow replied: "No, I'm definitely not doing that at all."

Hornsby case settled: Former Florida DB Jamar Hornsby was convicted Monday on four counts of unauthorized use of a credit card and placed on four concurrent one-year probations.

Hornsby was arrested by the Alachua County Sheriff's Office in May and charged with making nearly 70 fraudulent charges on the gas credit card of UF student Ashley Slonina, who died in a motorcycle accident with UF walk-on Michael Guilford in October 2007.

Hornsby was charged in August with four misdemeanor charges of unauthorized use of a credit card.

Along with the probation, Hornsby was ordered to pay about $9,000 in restitution and court costs, which includes $2,969.87 he has repaid for charges on the card. He must pay investigative costs of $5,367.68 to the victim's family and about $500 in court costs.

Judge Victor L. Hulslander also ordered Hornsby to tour the Florida State Prison at Raiford and write an essay about his experience during the tour within 90 days.

Rosemary Slonina, Ashley's mother, called Hornsby "cold-hearted and heartless, callous, insensitive and cruel."

Hornsby, who declined comment, wrote a letter that his attorney, Huntley Johnson, read in court.

"For one, I would like to tell you I am sorry for your loss," Hornsby wrote. "I've made a mistake for which I take full responsibility. I never meant to cause your family any type of extra pain and suffering. … She was a very kind and loving friend and I miss her dearly. I apologize to Ashley and her family."

After being dismissed from the UF team, Hornsby went on to become a junior college All-American at East Mississippi Community College this season and has orally committed to play for Ole Miss next year.

Gator honored: Redshirt freshman Ndidi Madu was named the SEC women's basketball freshman of the week Monday. No. 20 Florida is on a 10-game winning streak under second-year coach Amanda Butler, the third-longest streak in program history.

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

Early Heisman votes might have been costly to Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow 12/15/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 22, 2008 11:59am]

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