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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

An emotional Wilber Marshall was inducted into the Ring of Honor on Saturday evening prior to kickoff.

The former UF linebacker wiped away tears as he looked up from midfield to see the unveiling of his name in a display on top of the stadium's north end zone.

Marshall took off his blue Gators baseball cap and waved to a standing ovation.

BWow, thank you very much,C Marshall said before having to pause for a moment to collect himself.

Marshall was still teary-eyed after the ceremony as he spoke about his induction.

BJust looking up at the fans, and to hear the roar, I couldn?t speak,C Marshall said. BWhen you play the game, you notice the roar, but when you have to suck it up … it?s overwhelming.C

It was Marshall?s first return to The Swamp since the 2006 Alabama game when the inaugural class was inducted into the Ring of Honor.

Marshall joins Emmitt Smith, Steve Spurrier, Jack Youngblood and Danny Wuerffel as members.

Wilbur?s legacy in Gainesville started on Sept. 11, 1982 when he recorded 14 tackles and four sacks in a 17-9 upset against Southern Cal.

Trojans coach John Robinson shook Marshall?s hand after the game and told him he was the best linebacker he had ever seen.

During his career at UF, Marshall became and a two-time All American and was 1983?s National Defense Player of the Year.

He was a first-round draft pick by the Chicago Bears and played for 12 years in the NFL, winning two Super Bowls.

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BI just remember one of the biggest athletic human beings I've ever seen,C UF coach Urban Meyer said. BI've seen a lot of what the players said about him who played with him and watched him. Tremendous talent.C

CALDWELL RETURNS: Senior Andre Caldwell played for the first time since he suffered a knee injury against Troy on Sept. 8.

Meyer said Caldwell looked terrific during Wednesday?s practice, but that it was doubtful the team?s doctors would clear him to play against Auburn.

The Gators tried to incorporate him in the first half, but quarterback Tim Tebow overthrew Caldwell on a deep pass, after which the wide receiver was put back on the sidelines.

RAINEY ON SIDELINES: Freshman running back Chris Rainey was not listed on the Gators' dress roster for the first time this season.

UF university athletic association spokesperson Steve McClain did not give a reason for Rainey?s exclusion.

Although he was not fully dressed, the freshman was on the sidelines in his jersey and gym shorts.

So far, the freshman hasn?t had a good start to the season.

Rainey was called for roughing the kicker during the season opener against Western Kentucky, and he fumbled a kickoff return during the Troy game.

JACKSON LOSES SPOT: Freshman Major Wright started in place of senior Kyle Jackson at free safety.

At Mississippi last week, Jackson allowed a 19-yard touchdown when he tried to go for an interception, and so far this season, Wright had replaced Jackson in three of UF?s four games.

Earlier this week, Meyer said the call would be a game-time decision.

Prior to Saturday?s game, Wright was fourth on the team in tackles with 18 while Jackson had recorded just two.

ETC: Gators men's basketball coach Billy Donovan introduced the starting lineup on ESPN. … When the Gators failed to score at the half, it was the first time they had been shut out since Nov. 14, 1992 against South Carolina to a score of 3-0.

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