56 days to Florida Gator football! #56 – Rick Casares. Richard Jose Casares of Tampa, Florida, played fullback for Bob Woodruff‘s Florida Gators football team from 1951 to 1953 as well as guard on John Mauer‘s Florida Gators basketball team. Rick scored the first touchdown in the Gators’ first bowl game, a 14-13 win over Tulsa in 1952. He as second-team All-SEC and honorable mention All-American in football in 1952, third-team All-SEC in basketball in 1952, and second-team All-SEC in basketball in 1953. His football career was cut short in the fall of 1953 after he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He was named to the University of Florida Athletic Association Hall of Fame as a Gator Great in 2010.
Bonus trivia: Casares was a second-round NFL Draft pick by the Chicago Bears in 1954, but he did not play for them until he completed his military service in 1955. He led the Bears in rushing from 1955 to 1960, and he led the NFL in 1956. He was the Bears’ all-time leading rusher until Walter Payton broke his record in the 1980s. He still remains the Bears’ third all-time rusher behind Neal Anderson and ahead of Gayle Sayers.