Ranking the Top-5 Florida Gator Quarterbacks of All-Time

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No. 5 John Reaves (1969-1971)

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I begin with John Reaves, a well-known QB to older Florida Gator  fans. As a three-year starting quarterback for the Orange and Blue, Reaves posted a career record of 20-13-1. He finished his career with 7,549 passing yards, 54 passing touchdowns and a 53.5 completion percentage. He won just one award, which was the Sammy Baugh Trophy in 1971.

His most significant bowl victory came in his first and most successful season as the starting quarterback in 1969. That year, he led the Gators to a 9-1-1 record and a 14-13 victory over the rival No.11 Tennessee Volunteers in the 1969 Gator Bowl.

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A defining moment of the Reaves era came in his last collegiate game against the Miami Hurricanes in 1971. Needing just 14 more yards to break Jim Plunkett’s NCAA record for all-time passing yards in a career, Reaves threw an interception late in the game with the Gators up 45-8. As Miami attempted to run out the clock, almost everyone on the Gator defense literally fell down and allowed the Hurricanes to score.

With a little time still left in the game, Florida got the ball back and Reaves was able to complete a 15-yard pass to wide receiver Carlos Alvarez to break Plunkett’s record. The Gators’ stunt on defense was infamously nicknamed the “Gator Flop” and high tensions between the Gators and Hurricanes have existed ever since.

After graduating from UF, Reaves was drafted 14th overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1972 NFL Draft. After bouncing around between a few teams and a short stint in the USFL, Reaves hung up his cleats in 1987.

Next: No. 4 Chris Leak