Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Tuesday, January 25, 2022

It hung, tucked in a back corner of The Florida Book Store next to the ,9.99 value tees rack on Monday - a blue T-shirt featuring "HE15MAN" in orange letters with the words "IT'S INEVITABLE" displayed below.

Smack Apparel found a sly way to market No. 15 Tim Tebow?s Heisman Trophy campaign while abiding by NCAA rules that prohibit the use of players? names and likenesses.

The first shipment arrived before the Orange and Blue Game in April, before Tebow had even started a game at quarterback.

"When it first came out, everybody made fun of us for having that T-shirt," store general manager Nandy Ferguson said.

Nearly six months later, those T-shirts are moving up the merchandise depth chart.

Employees will soon move the shirts from the rear of the store to a prominent position near the windows facing University Avenue to attract more passers-by.

Tebow?s play merits more looks, too.

The sophomore completed 73.8 percent of his passes (fourth in the nation) for 835 yards, eight touchdowns and a passing efficiency of 228.8 (second in the nation) in his first three starts. He has also racked up 219 yards on the ground and five rushing touchdowns on 43 carries.

Ferguson said Tebow buys books at the store, so he will probably witness the latest hype. Still, he's keeping a typical low-profile about it all.

BI?m not really thinking too much about (the Heisman),C Tebow said Monday. BWe just won our first [Southeastern Conference] game against Tennessee, and I?m worried about Ole Miss.C

UF coach Urban Meyer previously worked at programs that pumped up quarterbacks Josh Harris (Bowling Green) and Alex Smith (Utah) for postseason awards.

But he?s not ready to back Tebow the same way - yet.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

BIf someone asks me if he?s (Heisman) worthy, I?ll make the comment when I think it?s appropriate,C said Meyer, who later added he might consider a Heisman campaign for Tebow in the future should he consider the quarterback a viable candidate.

A sophomore has never won a Heisman, but older contenders gave Tebow an opening last week.

Neither Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm nor Arkansas running back Darren McFadden - both considered frontrunners for the award - was able to prevent team losses Saturday.

No. 3 UF (3-0, 1-0 SEC) has a relatively clear path - by SEC standards - to stay unblemished through September.

The Gators travel to Mississippi (1-2, 0-1 SEC) on Saturday and will host one of the early season?s biggest disappointments in Auburn (1-2, 0-1 SEC) on Sept. 29.

If they keep winning and Tebow keeps impressing, the Heisman hype machine will only churn faster.

That is what concerns Meyer.

Tebow spent eight voluntary hours on Sunday seeing trainers, getting massages, studying film and receiving tutoring.

BWhen I see it start to dip to 7 1/2 hours, then I?m going to start calling him in and say 'Tim, we?ve got a little issue here,?C Meyer said.

Until then, Meyer will lean on offensive coordinator Dan Mullen to keep his excitable quarterback grounded.

BDan Mullen is like a good mom,C Meyer said. BDan Mullen, he?s all over that now. I?ve seen him do it with Josh Harris, who became a Heisman candidate, Alex Smith, Chris Leak and Tim Tebow.C

Ferguson said her employees will likely be required to wear the BHE15MANC shirt for Saturday?s game.

Tebow will wear the same No. 15 shirt he wears every week and keep the same team-first attitude.

BWe haven?t really done too much,C he said. BWe won one SEC game, and we?ve got a lot to go.C

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2022 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.