Our #GreatestGatorEver bracket is set to continue tomorrow with the opening round of the 4 Regional. Let’s get to know that 4 Regional:
(Players are listed in order they appear on the bracket.)
(1) Emmitt Smith (football, RB- 1987-89). Second all time leading rusher in Florida history (3,928). Second all time at Florida with 36 rushing touchdowns). 1989 unanimous All-American and consensus first team All-American. Florida Ring of Honor member. First round NFL Draft pick (#17 overall). Fourteen year NFL career with Cowboys and Cardinals. 3X NFL Super Bowl champion: XXVII, XXVIII, XXX. Super Bowl XXVIII MVP. 8X NFL Pro Bowl selection: 1990–1995, 1998-99. NFL all time leading rusher (18,355 yards). NFL all time rushing touchdowns leader (164). First ballot NFL Hall of Famer.
(16) Savannah Jordan (soccer, F- 2013-16). 2013 National Freshman of the Year. 2015 first team All-American. 2015 SEC Offensive Player of the Year.
(8) Mike Stanley (baseball, C- 1982-85). Second all-time at Florida with .479 career on base percentage. Ninth all time with .350 career batting average. Tenth all time with 255 career hits. Fifteen year MLB career with five teams. 1993 MLB Silver Slugger Award winner. 1995 MLB All-Star Selection.
(9) Aubree Munro (softball, C- 2013-16). 2014 and 2015 national champion. 2014 and 2015 WCWS All-Tournament team. 2016 All-SEC. 2016 and 2018 WBSC World Championship gold medalist with Team USA.
(4) Bradley Beal (basketball, G- 2012). 2012 first team All-SEC. 2012 first round NBA Draft pick (#3 overall). Eight year NBA career with Wizards and counting. 2013 NBA All-Rookie first team. 2018 and 2019 NBA All-Star.
(13) Jason Odom (football, OT- 1992-95). 1994 All-American. 1995 unanimous first team All-American. 1994 and 1995 SEC Jacobs Blocking Award winner. Four year NFL career with Buccaneers.
(5) Grant Holloway (track, various events- 2017-19). 3X NCAA champion (team): 2017 outdoor, 2018 indoor, 2019 outdoor. 8X NCAA individual champion: 60m hurdles and 110m hurdles, 2017-19; 2019 60m dash and 60m hurdles. NCAA and American all time record holder in 60m hurdles (7.35s).
(12) Fred Weary (football, CB- 1994-97). 1996 national champion. 1997 consensus All-American. Florida’s all time career interceptions leader with 15. Six year NFL career with three teams.
(6) Maurkice Pouncey (football, C- 2007-09). 2008 national champion. 2009 consensus first team All-American. 2009 Rimington Award winner. 2010 first round NFL Draft pick (#18 overall). Ten year NFL career with Steelers and counting. 8X NFL Pro Bowl selection: 2010-12, 2014, 2016-19.
(11) Hamid Mirzadeh (tennis- 2002-05). First 5X All-American in Florida men’s tennis history: 2003, 2004 and 2005 in singles and 2004 and 2005 in doubles.
(3) Tracy Caulkins (swimming 1995-97). 1982 team NCAA champion. 16X individual NCAA champion. 3X Honda Sports Award winner; 1982-84. 1984 SEC Female Athlete of the Year. 3X 1984 Olympic (Los Angeles) gold medalist: 200m medley, 400m medley and 4×100m medley. 5X 1978 World Championship (Berlin) gold medalist: 200m butterfly, 200m medley, 400m medley, 4×100m freestyle, 4×100m medley.
(14) Dorian Finney-Smith (basketball, F- 2014-16). 2014 SEC Sixth Man of the Year. 2015 and 2016 All-SEC. Four year NBA career and counting with Mavericks.
(7) Vernon Hargreaves III (football, CB- 2013-2015). 2014 first team All-American. 2015 unanimous first team All-American. First round NFL Draft pick (#11 overall). Four year NFL career and counting with Buccaneers and Texans.
(10) Darren O’Day (baseball, P- 2003-06). Fifth all time at Florida with 20 career saves. Thirteen year MLB career and counting with five teams. 2015 MLB All-Star.
(2) Amanda Lorenz (softball, OF- 2016-19). 4X All-American, 2016-19; 3X first team (2017-19). 2016 National Freshman of the Year. 2017 WCWS All-Tournament team. 2018 SEC Player of the Year. 2018 Honda Sports Award finalist. Florida all time career leader in batting average (.407) and on base percentage (.549). Second all time at Florida with 507 career total bases, fourth all time with 196 career RBI and sixth all time with 41 career home runs. One year pro softball career and counting with USSSA Pride.
(15) Rhamat Alhassan (volleyball, middle blocker- 2014-17). 4X All-American, 2014-17. 2017 Honda Sports Award winner. 2017 SEC Player of the Year. Florida’s all time leader in career total blocks (674) and block assists (584). Tenth all time at Florida with 1,278 career kills.
(Note: “national champion” labels are only attributed to starters or critical backups/role players on the team.)
The favorite: (1)Emmitt Smith
Smith is, if you believe statistics, the greatest running back in the history of the NFL. Plain and simple. Barry Sanders’ highlight tape may be more exciting, but Smith was able to maintain his level of excellence longer and there’s definitely something to be said for that. His Florida career was excellent, too; it just paled in comparison to his NFL career, which spanned a dozen years and ended with him being elected to Canton immediately upon becoming eligible. He’ll probably get some pushback from Lorenz in the Regional final, but he’s the clear cut favorite to advance out of this bracket.
The second favorite: (2)Amanda Lorenz
Full transparency: both Lorenz and Kelly Barnhill were two wins against Oklahoma in the 2017 WCWS Finals away from each being top eight overall seeds in the entire 256 player field. The lack of a national title stung them both, and dropped Lorenz to the middle of the #2 seed line (#22 overall, if you’re curious). But everything else is there for her: she’s Florida’s all time batting average and on base percentage queen, one of two Gator softball players to ever earn four All-American honors, and assuming COVID-19 doesn’t financially break professional softball’s legs, she’s almost certainly going to enjoy a long pro career as well. Lorenz vs. Smith in the Round of 32 is going to be a fascinating Regional final if they can both get there- which will be much harder for Lorenz than Smith.
The sleeper: (3)Tracy Caulkins
Right up there in the conversation with Dara Torres (the #2 seed in the 16 Regional, and the #17 overall seed) for the greatest female swimmer in Florida history, Caulkins boasts hat tricks of Olympic gold medals and Honda Sports Awards. She’ll have a very difficult time with Lorenz in the Regional semifinals, since Lorenz has the recentism factor and the more popular sport factor working for her, but their credentials match up pretty evenly. If Caulkins can first get to and then beat Lorenz in the Round of 64, she could give Smith a fight in the Regional final.
The dark horse: (6)Maurkice Pouncey
Perhaps no Regional #6 seed is as dangerous as Maurkice Pouncey, who’s only seeded as low as he is because of the lack of tangible statistics for linemen. And it wouldn’t be fair to seed him higher than all the other Gators who are career leaders in certain categories or Olympic gold medalists. But Pouncey is going to be a nightmare for both Caulkins and Lorenz to deal with: he played the most popular sport, he’s got a national championship ring and he’s got eight NFL pro Bowl appearances. And counting. It’s hard to imagine him taking down Emmitt Smith in the Regional final, but it wouldn’t stun me to see him get there.
The Cinderella candidate: (15)Rhamat Alhassan
Admittedly, Alhassan got a terrible draw (she’d be seeded much higher if she were either born about four years earlier and had lifted off the ground with her pro career or had won a national title at Florida). But she was dynamite for the Gators and could frighten Lorenz in the opening round. If she pulls the shocker, she could easily make it further than just the ensuing round.