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Talking to Tebow

Meghan McMahon | Thursday, November 29, 2007

With only nine days remaining in the race for the most prestigious award in football, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow hopes to become the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy. Along with Chris Leak, dual-threat Tebow led the Florida Gators to a National Championship last season. In addition to his successful career in football, Tebow is a devout Christian.

So what is Tim doing to prepare for his trip to the Big Apple? Talking to the media, giving interviews to Observer reporters and, as always, drinking his Gatorade (his favorite flavors are grape and orange-strawberry).

I had the privilege of talking to Tim, and was pleasantly surprised at how friendly, down-to-earth and (most importantly) single he was. Here’s what Tebow had to say.

MM: What role has your Christianity played in your athletic career and your life, and how has it been tested in college?

TT: My faith has played a huge role. It’s the No.1 thing in my life, above school and football. Being a Christian totally changes your perspective on life, priorities, and how you treat people. Really, it’s a guideline for how you live your life, even in football and school. It does get tested every day with stuff at college, but growing up in a strong Christian family and having positive influences has really helped me stay grounded.

MM: Your Gators are 10th in the country, but only fourth in the SEC. How would you describe the competition in the nation’s best conference, and do you think it has helped or hurt your team this year?

TT: The competition in the SEC is as good or better than anywhere in the country, and that’s one of the reasons I chose to go to Florida. Every week you play in a championship type atmosphere in amazing stadiums with players who will soon be playing in the NFL. The passion for football is unbelievable. This year I’d say it hurt us having to play such great teams, but at the same time it’s made us a better team. I wouldn’t trade the experiences for anything.

MM: You’ve already won a national championship, broken school and SEC records, and you’re the first person in NCAA history to rush and pass for 20 touchdowns in a season. Are you considering going to the NFL?

TT: Right now, I’m not considering it. Later, sure, but I love being at the University of Florida, I love being a Gator, and I want to get my education. Professional football is not something I’m focused on right now. Staying here for four years is a goal I went to accomplish. Plus, I’m having too good of a time to leave early.

MM: Right now, you’re the top candidate for the Heisman Trophy. How does it feel knowing that in a little over a week you could be the first sophomore to ever win this award?

TT: Well, it’s an honor just to be mentioned with the Heisman Trophy, the prestigious award you dream about when you’re younger. Just to be mentioned with guys like Danny Wuerffel (’96 Heisman winner, Florida quarterback) is a privilege in general, not just specifically because I’m a sophomore. Win or lose, it’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

MM: Who is your favorite Notre Dame player?

TT: All time, definitely Rudy with Joe Montana in a close second. As for current players, I met John Carlson this summer and he was a really nice guy.

MM: What’s the craziest thing you’ve experienced after becoming such a star?

TT: I’ve noticed people following me to classes. I even had to change my number earlier this season when LSU fans posted it online.

After a crazy year in college football, there are no real “standout” teams. Just because Florida has three losses, though, does not mean they can’t have the nation’s best player. Tim Tebow has accomplished more in two years than some of the best players in history have in four. More importantly, he has managed to do so while being a Christian role model for others. What more could anyone want in a Heisman Trophy winner?