I have mentioned my unhealthy obsession with jersey numbers before. I have a love of jerseys and jersey-related news. Jersey numbers are much too important to me and I do not have a good explanation as to why, but with the release of the 2011 Florida media guide, the Gators numbers for the upcoming season are out and I am very excited (it also means my NCAA Football ’12 roster will be as accurate as accurate can be; this is very important for yet another reason I cannot put my finger on).
I will not cover every jersey number here (you can find them in the aforementioned media guide), but will go over some the changes and incoming players.
1 – Chris Rainey, RB – Rainey has become the Gators version of Chris Simms. With his third number, it will be hard for historians to verify pictures of Rainey years into the future. The no. 1 jersey has developed its own unofficial tradition in recent years of being acquired by players already in the program. Reggie Nelson wore no. 32 before settling into the no. 1 jersey. Percy Harvin started with no. 8 – much like Rainey. And Janoris Jenkins was originally no. 29.
2 – Dominique Easley, DT/4 – Sharrif Floyd, DT
– The big boys decided to go small; very small. I chuckled a little the first time I saw Carlos Dunlap
sporting the no. 8 jersey. I snickered when Jaye Howard
went with no. 6. It is not making fun of these defensive linemen so much as it is just that they are huge and their numbers are oh so small. Andy Hutchins of Alligator Army has his own thoughts regarding the switch
. I just think the equipment manager might have to double the size of their jersey numbers.
3 – Jelani Jenkins, LB – While Jenkins is not small, the single digits definitely look better on linebackers than they do on linemen. This is a good move for Jenkins. He wore no. 3 in high school. Hopefully it will be a boost for him and turn him into the field general/monster he was projected to be.
5 – Marcus Roberson, CB – I feel like people are forgetting about Roberson already. Clearly one of the most talented of the newcomers, Roberson could have a big impact very early on. Giving him the no. 5 will immediately have fans thinking of the last great defensive back to wear the number – Joe Haden. Roberson has that potential. Please try not to forget about him.
7 – Robert Clark, WR – Not necessarily news regarding the change (this one was known before the media guide came out), but still a change. This is almost a reverse of the big man situation already discussed. Clark will look good with a single digit.
9 – Josh Shaw, S – Shaw becomes the second defensive back in recent years to walk away from the no. 29 jersey. I almost want (or need) someone great to come along, take no. 29 as a freshman, and put together an All-SEC career with it.
15 – Loucheiz Purifoy, CB – Urban Meyer is gone and the no. 15 has been given out. It remains to be seen if Meyer would have eventually presented someone else with Tim Tebow’s jersey number, but odds are he would have help out for a while. Purifoy becomes to first to wear it after the great one. Luckily, he is not a quarterback. The pressure should be minimal.
16 – Jeff Driskel, QB/17 – Jacoby Brissett, QB – The new quarterbacks do have their numbers though and they sit right above where Tebow once resided.
33 – Mack Brown, RB/33 – Chris Johnson, S/33 – Minch Minchin, LB – We have seen plenty of jersey numbers occupied by two individuals. One is usually an offensive player and one typically on defense. Occasionally, you will get two on the same side of the ball because one of those two is never going to see the field. This is the first time I remember seeing three and I have to give it up for Minchin and whatever he contributes during practice because I hate to say it, but I do not think we will be seeing him during games. But that does not mean we do not still love him as we do all Gators. And of course there is his oh so easy to remember name.
35 – Chris Martin, DE/LB – Martin transferred, but the media guide was already printed. It is probably not worth noting that Martin was listed at no. 23 last year so this is technically a change. Funnier, well to me, is that Martin’s profile on page 41 of the guide does not include a picture, but instead the Gators logo.
55 – Graham Stewart, LB – As One Eyed Willy said to me when we were discussing the new jersey numbers: “is there a better number, especially for a linebacker, than 55?” No, there is not.
63 – Trip Thurman, G/65 – Tommy Jordan, G – The new big uglies have their numbers and while they are not exciting, we love offensive linemen around these parts. Good luck to both Trip and Tommy in their orange and blue duds.
80 – Ja’Juan Story, WR
– We all hope Story is given the chance to do as many interviews as possible during his Gators career. He is interview gold
. No platinum. NO TITANIUM!!!
97 – Tevin Westbrook, DE – I have this feeling that Westbrook is a diamond in the rough. I cannot explain it, but I feel there is an underrated possibility here.