ESPN.com SEC blogger Edward Aschoff, GatorNation writer Michael DiRocco and former Gators offensive lineman Mike Pearson agonized and analyzed the rosters of UF’s all-time greats to select their all-time Gators teams. Here’s a look at the surprises, steals and moves that made up their teams.
Surprise pick: Ellis Johnson was taken in the seventh round, but there were at least two other big-time defensive tackles still available: Trace Armstrong and David Galloway. Armstrong played just one season at UF (1988) after transferring from Arizona State, but he was one of the country’s most dominant defensive tackles that season. His 19 tackles for loss that season stood as a school record for defensive linemen until Brad Culpepper topped it with 21.5 in 1991. He earned first-team All-American honors that season. Galloway earned first-team All-American honors in 1981 and his 21 career sacks are seventh on the school’s all-time list. Johnson is 11th on the school’s all-time tackles for loss list with 36.8, but Armstrong -- who went two picks later -- would have been a better choice.
Surprise pick, part 2: Mike Pearson. It’s not a surprise that he was drafted, he was a two-time All-SEC pick and a first-team All-American in 2001. The surprise is that Mike Pearson didn’t draft himself. Pearson selected Lomas Brown as his first offensive line choice. Team Aschoff scooped took Pearson off the board in Round 14 as the second lineman taken.
Best steal: Alonzo Johnson to Team DiRocco. Everybody knows who Wilber Marshall is, but Johnson wasn’t that far behind in terms of being one of the greatest linebackers in school history. However, he slipped into the 14th round before he was drafted. Johnson is 10th in school history with 355 career tackles, second in sacks (27, which was a school record at the time), and second in tackles for loss (55). His 12 sacks and 19 tackles for loss in 1985 were school records at the time and now ranks third and seventh, respectively. He earned first-team All-American honors in 1984 and 1985. He should have been drafted much higher.
Best unit: Team Aschoff WRs. Edward used his first pick to select Percy Harvin third overall. He added Reidel Anthony in the fifth round and Jacquez Green in the 13th. Anthony and Green both had more than 2,000 receiving yards and combined for 49 touchdowns in the Florida careers. Then there’s Harvin, probably the most-versatile player ever to come through Gainesville. He combined for 3,781 receiving and rushing yards in his career and added 32 scores. And, by the way, he was really fast and starred on the Gators track team.
Best team: Team Pearson. He selected Rex Grossman with his first pick over Danny Wuerffel and Shane Matthews, who both had more career passing yards. But, Pearson followed that with Emmitt Smith, Carlos Alvarez, Kevin Carter and Jack Youngblood. That’s the Gators’ second-leading career rusher, the career leader in receiving yards and a truly fearsome pair of defensive ends to anchor a truly great all-time team.