Each year once the game are done the Florida football team holds a banquet to look back on the season, honor the seniors whose careers have finished and hand out end of the year awards.
It’s a moment to celebrate and reflect on the year of hard work put in both on and off the field. A night where the team won’t be defined by their overall record, rather celebrated for the effort that they put in all season long and the effort they have given the university since they signed a letter of intent.
Before the team dresses up and enjoys a nice meal with the people who shared the journey with them we at Gator Country wanted to hand out our own superlatives to the team and players for the 2013 season.
Offensive MVP: Solomon Patton
Patton led the team in receptions (44), receiving yards (556) and touchdowns (6). He was the playmaker that Florida needed to win conference games against Tennessee and Arkansas and was the most consistent playmaker on the offensive side of the ball.
Defensive MVP: Dominique Easley
Easley only played in three games for the Gators but he was far and away the best defensive player on the team. Easley was so disruptive when in the lineup that he created plays for the other 10 people around him. It was no surprise to see Florida’s defensive stats take a big hit after Easley was lost for the season with a torn ACL.
Special Teams MVP: Solomon Patton
Patton led the team with 22 kick returns for 642 yards and a score. His 29.18 yard-per-return average was second best in the SEC.
Most Improved Player: Solomon Patton
This should come as no surprise after seeing Patton’s name pop up on the list twice already. Coming into the season Patton had amassed 21 receptions for 202 yards. He bested his previous career numbers in just three games this season.
Biggest Surprise: Jarrad Davis
Florid signed four linebackers in the 2013 recruiting class and three of those players really moved the needle and had fans excited about how they would be able to contribute Daniel McMillian, Alex Anzalone and Matt Rolin were those big names. Lost in the shuffle was Kingsland, Georgia native Jarrad Davis. Davis put together a fantastic freshman season where he was a special teams standout and even earned a few starts at the end of the season. He finished twelfth on the team with 24 tackles.
Iron Man Award: Max Garcia, Dante Fowler Jr., Jonotthan Harrison,
Quinton Dunbar, and Cody Riggs
That’s the entire list of Gators (5) who started every game this season. Injured wreaked havoc on the team and drastically changed the course of the season for the worst but these five player managed to stay healthy throughout the course of the entire season.
Best Freshman: Vernon Hargreaves III
Not only was Hargreaves the best freshmen on the team, he was the only freshmen named to the All-SEC team that was released earlier in the week. Everyone knew that Hargreaves was a special player before he got to campus but to see how quickly he adapted to the speed of the college game was a sight to behold.
Best Sophomore: Dante Fowler Jr.
His teammates describe his as a big kid and off the field they’re right. He’s soft-spoken and funny with the media and even carried around Dominique Easley’s Chuckie doll after Easley’s injury. However, Fowler is anything but soft-spoken on the field. He finished the season with 50 tackles, a team-high 10.5 for loss, 3.5 sacks, seven quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles.
Best Junior: Max Garcia
The Maryland transplant was Florida’s best and most consistent offensive lineman in 2013. Garcia started the season out playing left guard but ended up moving to left tackle — the position he played at Maryland — due to injuries and poor performance. A redshirt junior, Garcia will return next season and be asked to be a leader and the anchor of an offensive line that has already seen three transfers and the graduation of two of their best players.
Best Senior: Jonotthan Harrison & Jon Halapio
We have to split the best senior award up to two fifth year seniors who really embodied the program. Both Jon Halapio and Jonotthan Harrison are — and should be — poster boys for the way that Will Muschamp wants to run his program at Florida.
They’re physically and mentally tough, stay out of trouble off of the field and worked relentlessly to lead by example on the field and in the locker room.
Best Streak: Quinton Dunbar’s consecutive games with a catch.
Carlos Alvarez is enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame, a Gator great and even though he played his final game more than 40 years ago, still holds many receiving records at the University of Florida.
One of those records changed hands this season when Quinton Dunbar caught his first of six receptions against Vanderbilt to break Alvarez’s consecutive game with a reception record. Dunbar stretched the streak to 28 games and still has an opportunity to expand on the record if he chooses to return next season.