GAINESVILLE -- Gators from the past, present and future were nominated recently for ESPY awards. Quarterback Tim Tebow is a nominee in two categories, incoming freshman Andre Debose (a receiver) is a nominee for a high school award and former Gators swimmer Dara Torres will receive the 2009 Best Comeback Award.
The 2009 ESPY Awards will be televised at 9 p.m. on July 19. Fans may vote online at www.espys.tv or via mobile phone at www.espn.mobi. I don't know how feel about the ESPY Awards. It's a summertime gimmick, but it is pretty neat that three players with ties to UF will be featured.
Tebow, the SEC's Male Athlete of the Year, is up for two awards: Best Male College Athlete, for which he won last year, and Best Moment Award, for his promise speech after the Ole Miss loss. Debose is a nominee for the Under Armor All-American Moment. Torres will receive the Comeback Award for her performance in the 2008 Beijing Games. As a 41-year-old, Torres won three medals and became the first American swimmer to compete in five Olympic Games.
After leading UF to its second national title in three years, Tebow seems to be a shoe-in for the Male Athlete of the Year Award. Tebow won the award in 2008 after becoming the first sophomore to win the Heisman. Winning the Best Moment Award might be a little more difficult. As memorable a moment as Tebow's so-called promise speech was for college football fans, another nominee for Best Moment Award is probably the favorite. Anchored by swimmer Michael Phelps, the U.S. men's 4x100-meter relay team is also a nominee for the award. The relay team's dramatic gold medal win in the Beijing Games was one of the greatest moments in American sports history, at least for this writer.
Debose of Sanford Seminole High is a co-nominee along with LSU incoming freshman quarterback Russell Shepard for a 92-yard touchdown throw and catch in the Under Armor All-American Game. I didn't watch the Under Armor All-American Game but I did see Debose's miraculous game-winning touchdown catch in the championship game of the 2009 Class 6A state championship game. Quite a player, that kid.