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27 days to Gator football! #27 Neal Anderson

Discussion in 'Gator Football' started by Escambia94, Jul 28, 2019.

  1. Escambia94

    Escambia94 Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE) Moderator

    #27 Charles Neal Anderson grew up in the podunk town of Graceville, Florida and rose to greatness as a member of a 1-2 backfield with John L. Williams under head coaches Charley Pell and Galen Hall from 1982 to 1985. He remains third in all-time rushing yards behind Errict Rhett and Emmitt Smith. With John L. Williams, Ricky Nattiel, and Kerwin Bell all on the same team, the Gators offense was a juggernaut as the Gators finished 9-1-1 in SEC-best and nationally elite years 1984 and 1985. He was a team captain in 1985, 1st team All-SEC in 1985, AP honorable mention All-American in 1984 and 1985, and the recipient of the Gators’ Fergie Ferguson Award in 1985. Neal had fourteen games with 100 yards or more rushing, 639 carries for 3,234 yards rushing and thirty touchdowns, forty-nine receptions for 525 yards receiving and two touchdowns, and ninety-seven yards passing. Neal graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in public relations.

    Anderson was a first-round pick by the Chicago Bears in the 1986 NFL Draft, and he played for the Bears from 1986 to 1993. After NFL Great Walter Payton retired in 1987, Neal took over as the starter and was named to the Pro Bowl in 1988, 1989, 1990, and 1991. Anderson amassed 6,166 rushing yards (#3 in Bears history), 51 rushing touchdowns, 2,763 receiving yards, 20 receiving touchdowns, and 71 total touchdowns.

    Neal retired from the NFL in 1993 and moved to Gainesville, where he and his family own a bank and a peanut farm. The Gainesville Sun named him the #13 greatest player in the first 100 years of Gator football. Neal was inducted to the University of Florida Athletic Association as a Gator Great in 1995.
  2. DRU2012

    DRU2012 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

    Loved watching this team. Appeared to be the culmination of all our hopes and dreams upon our bringing in Bear Bryant protege Charley Pell after Dickey, during my time as an undergrad in Gainesville. Charley was in a sense the embodiment of his mentor's since oft-quoted line about "awakening the sleeping Giant in Gainesville"...Switzer-protege Hall was brought in only as Charley got himself (and the program) into difficulty--in retrospect probably EXACTLY the "wrong direction" at the time, considering the KINDS of "problems" that were surfacing--though (not so surprisingly) immediate ongoing RESULTS ON THE FIELD were good, as that line-up and record shows. We WERE "getting better and BETTER"!!! But very soon we were to be spanked by the NCAA--Charley especially was hung in public by his heals, disgraced and humiliated while his erstwhile "mentor" (who "taught him everything he knew") back in Tuscaloosa was feted and cannonized in retirement during the very same period. That never seemed right or fair; and generally seemed to ratify a general approval of and "biz as usual" approach TO the idea that everyone would just really appreciate it if we (UF) would just crawl back down in our dark little hole "down south" and go back to BEING that "sleeping giant" of unrealized potential once more.
    Little did they know that life and circumstances were only coalescing into a "perfect storm" of man, time and place to bring one Steve Spurrier, Gator Knight Errant, riding back in to pull us back from the abyss, and to the top once more and for GOOD.
    That's how it looked, FELT to us. And not at all expected after the preceeding growing success kept encountering such castigation, even seeming persecution at times. "It's not paranoia if folks really ARE out to get ya!". But it was about to be an amazing tale after all: All so seeming dark, unfair--then, a new dawn. It would be one corny story indeed, if it wasn't ALL TRUE. There's not another like it in major college football.
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  3. Leakfan12

    Leakfan12 VIP Member

    Those Gators teams should have championships (at least the 1984 team) especially the fact that the NCAA punished the Gators DURING THE 1984 SEASON. I don't think it was done prior to that or since. F--K the NCAA.
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  4. DRU2012

    DRU2012 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

    Yes. But SS had an answer: Believe it or not, we had never been awarded an SEC Championship up until that time (and of course STILL wasn't that season: Though we had the conference's best record, even the SEC went along with the NCAA-dictated disgrace)...So Spurrier, in a slap at the NCAA itself, (unlike UCF in THEIR league all these years later, with a "we know what REALLY counts" statement) ignored the NCAA and THEIR judgement and instead, at his own expense had gold-and-diamond "SEC Champions" rings made for the whole team, and awarded them one by one to each player in a proud ceremony at the start of the following season. Classy AND funny, really. I'd always been an SS fan (being a young Gator fan, he was one of my sports heros growing up)--but this really upped the ante on our emotional investment. For this and so many other reasons along the way, how could we NOT love the guy all the more, as time went on?
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  5. Leakfan12

    Leakfan12 VIP Member

    Spurrier did that considering he was coaching the Bandits at that time? Also, I thought the Gator were awarded the SEC trophy until the SEC decided to take it away later on (never mind that SWC let SMU keep their in 1981).
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  6. DRU2012

    DRU2012 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Moderator

    Well, SS did what he did--though perhaps I'm off a year on the timing...I do recall that whole ring-deal after his first season in Gainesville--and it was understood at the time as that "slap at the NCAA"--and for all the reasons noted and implied, for sure...Truth is, I'd forgotten the exact timing of the "Bandits"-interlude; in my head, I had him coming to UF from Duke just when we needed him, in the middle of that whole punishment-mess, with (now that I think about it) his "pro"-stint at Tampa Bay coming between the two college gigs and WHILE Galen Hall dug our program a DEEPER "procedural violations" hole with the NCAA.
    It's the middle of the night, and while I probably owe ya the follow-up research right here and now, I'm just not really up to it at the moment. If I'm wrong in the specific timing details, I apologize: But the events themselves, their evident intent and the way they affected our team, fans and program at the time, were certainly "true in spirit". OK, OK: in the name of strict accuracy maybe that's a lame excuse--but it is honest, heartfelt...and all I got for ya now.
    If it all wasn't QUITE as "neat" as I remembered it, well, I apologize for the whole "never let the facts stand in the way of a good story" I come off like I'm espousing now. FOR now, I'm assuming you're right, but with the following qualification/caveat: It SHOULD have gone that way--and still damn near did. Let's face it, Spurrier did all he could and HAD to to get back to us, WANTED to be here for us, and ultimately still was when we needed him here. He then proceeded to change the whole NATURE of our program, the vibe around it, in the process effectively changed our HISTORY. If powerful boosters and "biz as usual" foolishness of those times delayed its realization, well, again: I apologize for remembering it wrong and thank you for keeping it straight and honest.
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