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December 13, 2005

Gator time

The buildup was amazing, the drama was riveting and the decision was talked about all over the Southeast and beyond. Where was St. Augustine (Fla.) Nease quarterback Tim Tebow going to play his college footall? Both Florida and Alabama needed him badly, but it was the Gators who won out in the end. How does this affect both teams?

"I'm going to the University of Florida," said the 6-foot-3, 217-pounder as he announced his decision on ESPNews. "I have a special relationship with the coaching staff there and really loved both schools, but I'm happy to be a Gator."

Tebow chose the Gators over 'Bama, Southern Cal, LSU and Michigan.

"It was a hard decision," he said. "I really got to meet a lot of great people and coaches and it was hard to pick one school, but Florida was just the most comfortable fit for me"

This is a huge get for Urban Meyer and his staff and a huge loss for Alabama. For Florida, it could be the key to the nation's top recruiting class. Tebow is a perfect fit for the new Gators' offense and, with Josh Portis transferring and the de-commitment from Jevan Snead, could see time as a true freshman. Chris Leak is back for Florida, but Tebow is much faster and stronger to handle what meyer truly wants to do on offense.

For Alabama it most likely means no quarterback in a year in which they needed one. Marc Guillon, a Miami transfer, is back and John Parker-Wilson has a lot of potential, but with Jimmy Barnes last year and no quarterback this year, things are getting thin. Tebow would have been an even bigger get than Brodie Croyle was a few years back because he's an out-of-state kid who had no ties to Tuscaloosa.

Tebow could attract other skill players to Gainesville, at least that's the hope for Meyer and company. The nation's No. 1 player, Percy Harvin, is now the main focus for Florida.

For Alabama, they are still in line for an outstanding recruiting class, especially if they land offensive lineman Andre Smith as expected. But for whoever was going to lose Tebow today, it was going to be a bittersweet pill to swallow.



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