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Florida Gators named finalists for national awards

GAINESVILLE -- Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes is a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Award, given annually to the nation's best defensive college football player.

The award will be announced Dec.7 at the Westin Hotel in Charlotte, N.C. Spikes is one of five finalist for the award. The other finalist are TCU end Jerry Hughes, USC linebacker Ray Maualuga, Texas end Brian Orakpo and Wake Forest cornerback Alphonso Smith.

Spikes (6-3, 245 pounds) leads the Gators with 70 tackles this season, including eight tackles for a loss. All three of Spikes' interceptions this season have come against teams ranked in the Top 25. He is one of three linebackers in the nation with two interceptions for touchdowns this season, which equals the UF single-season record.

Spikes is the third Gator to be named a finalist for the Nagurski Award. He joins Alex Brown (2001) and Reggie Nelson (2006).

--Florida quarterback Tim Tebow is a finalist for the Wooden Cup, given to a collegiate and a professional athlete who have made the greatest positive influences in the lives of others. The award recipients will be announced at a ceremony held at Atlanta's East Lake Golf Club on Jan. 14.

-jo-

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