7 days to college football

Thomas Johnson Reaves played quarterback for Ray Graves’ and Doug Dickey’s Florida Gators from 1969 to 1971, and was a key member of the the Super Sophs that included WR Carlos Alvarez and RB Tommy Durrance. Reaves and Alvarez went on to break every Gator passing and receiving record, and a few NCAA records as well. In his sophomore year of 1969, John led the team to a then-best 9-1-1 record and an upset 14-13 Gator Bowl victory over the heavily favored Tennessee Volunteers. In 1969 he threw for 2896 yards (NCAA record at the time), 19 interceptions, and 24 touchdowns and was named first team All SEC. John struggled a bit in 1970 during the transition from Ray Graves to Doug Dickey and “only” threw for 2548 yards, but with 19 interceptions to 13 touchdowns. John broke the NCAA career passing record on a controversial play nicknamed “the Gator Flop” or the “Florida Flop” in the last game of 1971, as the entire Gator defense fell down on purpose to let the Miami offense score quickly enough for the Gators to get the ball back and give John the opportunity to break the record. In that 1971 season, John was team captain, Fergie Ferguson Award winner, Sammy Baugh Award winner and first team All American after throwing for 2104 yards, 17 TDs, and 21 INTs. His record of 7581 career yards stood for many years until the modern passing era. The modern record is 19217 yards by Case Keenum, which he did in six years to Reaves’ three years–freshmen did not play varsity football in Reaves’ day.

John was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 14th pick of the 1972 NFL Draft. He had a journeyman career in the NFL and USFL from 1972 to 1987. In the USFL, he was a starting QB under coach Steve Spurrier’s Tampa Bay Bandits from 1983 to 1985. He retired out of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1987 and went on to be one of Spurrier’s assistants from 1990 to 1994, working primarily with QB Shane Matthews. John was later named to the Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame, and the University of Florida Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

BONUS TRIVIA: John Reaves is the father-in-law to current USCw coach Lane Kiffen. Google for pictures of Layla Reaves Kiffen. You will thank me later.

7 - Danny Wuerffel

7 – Danny Wuerffel

Daniel Carl Wuerffel was born in my favorite city, Pensacola, Florida, as the son of a minister and Air Force chaplain. At Fort Walton Beach High School, he won the Florida 4A state championship right there at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium over the highly touted, perennial power St. Thomas Aquinas. Danny was one of two highly touted QBs recruited to Florida in 1993–Eric Kresser was actually rated higher. As quarterback for the Florida Gators under Steve Spurrier, Danny emerged from the competition against Terry Dean and Eric Kresser to become the most highly decorated player in Gator history (at the time). He won the 1996 Heisman Trophy, the 1996 Bowl Alliance National Championship, four consecutive SEC titles from 1993 to 1996, the Draddy Trophy, 1st-team Academic All-American ’95 and ’96, 1st-team All-American ’95, consensus All-American ’96, Sammy Baugh Trophy winner ’95, Davey O’Brien Award winner ’95 and ’96, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Award winner ’96, NCAA Quarterback of the Year ’96, team MVP ’95 and ’96, Gainesville Sun’s UF Team of the Century ’99, and Florida Gator’s 100th Anniversary Team ’06. He finished his career 708/1,170 for 10,875 yards, 114 touchdown passes, 163.56 passer rating, and 9.74 touchdown percentage. Most of those stats were SEC or NCAA records at one time. At the time, his Heisman year campaign had the SEC record for passing yardage, led the nation in touchdowns, and set the record for back-to-back seasons of posting a passer rating of 170+. Danny was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Association Hall of Fame as a Gator Great in 2006. Danny went on to play for the New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, and in a reunion with Steve Spurrier with the Washington Redskins. He was the MVP of the NFL Europa World Bowl for the Rhein Fire in 2000. After retiring from the NFL, he started working full time with his charity and ministry, Desire Street Ministries until it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. In 2006, he was inducted into the Gator Ring of Honor, and in 2011 his statue was erected alongside likenesses of Steve Spurrier and Tim Tebow.

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