MOBILE, Ala. (Jan. 12) – Under Armour Senior Bowl officials announced on Friday that four members of the National Champion Florida Gators will play in the 2007 contest — quarterback Chris Leak, wide receiver Dallas Baker, linebacker Earl Everett and defensive end Ray McDonald.
“This is an outstanding group of seniors who all played major roles in Florida’s championship season,” said Senior Bowl President Steve Hale. “Chris Leak’s performance during the year in leading them to the national championship also enabled him to play his way into the Senior Bowl.”
Leak closed out his stellar Florida career in dramatic fashion, leading the Gators to a 41-14 victory over Ohio State in the BCS Championship Game for the school’s second-ever national title.
Leak completed 25 of 36 passes for 213 yards and one touchdown in the contest, running the Gators’ highly efficient offensive attack to near perfection throughout the game.
He also finished his Gator career as the school’s all-time leading passer with 11,213 yards, eclipsing Danny Wuerffel’s old mark during the Gators’ SEC Championship Game victory over Arkansas, and also holds school records for completions with 895 and attempts with 1,458.
He ranks second all-time in touchdowns responsible for with 101, and his 33 career 200-yard passing games is an all-time Gator best.
In 2006, Leak passed for 2,942 yards and completed 232 of 365 passes for an impressive 63.6 completion percentage, and added 14 touchdowns.
But it was his consistent outstanding play in the latter half of the 2006 campaign that enabled the Gators to make their championship run and earned him a spot in the Senior Bowl. Against rival Florida State he passed for 283 and two scores, against South Carolina he was 19-27 for 254 yards and a score, he threw three TD’s in the SEC Eastern Division clincher against Vanderbilt, and passed for 189 and a TD in engineering the 38-28 win over Arkansas in the SEC title game.
The 6-0, 207-pounder was one of the nation’s most sought-after high school recruits and the USA Today High School Player of the Year, signing with the Gators out of Charlotte, N.C. He went to start as a true freshman, throwing for 2,435 yards and 11 TD’s in 2003, 3,197 yards and 12 TD’s in 2004 and 2,639 yards and six scores a year ago.
One of Leak’s favorite targets throughout his career, Baker caught 60 passes for a team-leading 920 yards and nine touchdowns in 2006 to earn first-team All-SEC honors by the league’s coaches.
A 6-3, 207-pounder, Baker caught four passes for 23 yards, including a 14-yarder for a touchdown in the BCS championship game, and finished his Gator career with 151 catches for 2,236 yards and 21 touchdowns.
A second-team Coaches All-SEC pick in 2006, Everett led all Gator defenders in the BCS title game with seven tackles, which included one of the game’s most memorable moments when he made a tackle despite losing his helmet during the play.
The big play linebacker is a 6-3, 234-pounder who recorded 31 total tackles during the season, added ten tackles for loss and eight quarterback sacks, which ranked third in the SEC.
He also turned in his best single game performances of the year against Georgia and Auburn. Against the Bulldogs, he had a sack, fumble recovery and a forced fumble which led to a nine-yard TD return by McDonald which proved to be the difference in the game, while he turned in an explosive performance against the Tigers, tying his career high with two sacks and recovered a fumble.
McDonald was a first-team Coaches All-SEC selection, as he played both defensive tackle and end during the season to record 36 total tackles, 4.5 for loss and added two sacks and four pass deflections.
As a freshman, he became the fourth player in school history to start on the defensive line in a season opener, as he was named to the Sporting News, FWAA and SEC All-Freshman team with 54 tackles and four sacks that season.
The 6-3, 280-pounder recorded 133 tackles, 25.5 for loss, and ten sacks during his Gator career.
Tickets to the 2007 Under Armour Senior Bowl can be purchased for $24, $18 or $12 each at all area Food World stores, selected Regions Bank branches and the Senior Bowl ticket office in the Riverview Plaza Hotel.
Tickets can also be ordered through the bowl’s website at http://www.seniorbowl.com or by calling 1-888-736-2695.