Tim Tebow started to walk off stage, then called an audible. The Florida quarterback turned around, grabbed the microphone and told teammates, coaches and fans exactly what they wanted to hear.
"Oh, by the way, let's do it again," Tebow said. "I'm coming back."
Tebow thrilled more than 40,000 at the school's national championship celebration yesterday by announcing plans to return for his senior season, with hopes of leading the Gators to their first undefeated season and fourth national title.
"Overall, I just felt loyal to this place," Tebow said. "I feel like I'm a role model, and a lot of times people start things and don't finish them. I didn't want to be like that."
Tebow threw 32 touchdown passes in 2007, ran for 23 more scores and became the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy. He did less this season but accomplished more by leading Florida to its second national title in three years.
Tebow completed 64 percent of his passes for 2,746 yards and 30 touchdowns with four interceptions. He also led the team in rushing, gaining 673 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns.
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound left-hander was 18-for-30 passing for 231 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions in Thursday's 24-14 victory over Oklahoma in the Bowl Championship Series title game. He also ran for 109 yards.
There was speculation he might head to the NFL, especially because he has talked about wanting a bigger platform to share his religious message and expand his community work, but Tebow said he never strongly considered leaving early.
Coach Urban Meyer set him up with several NFL coaches to talk about his pro prospects. Although Tebow said he got mixed feedback, nothing he heard swayed his decision. He told Meyer of his decision to stay Saturday.
Wide receiver Percy Harvin and linebacker Brandon Spikes, fellow juniors considering turning pro, didn't address their futures yesterday.
BCS: : Utah's attorney general is using his personal blog to answer criticism that he's wasting state resources by investigating whether the BCS violates federal antitrust laws.
Mark Shurtleff contends the BCS unfairly puts Utah, and schools in other conferences like the Mountain West that don't get an automatic bid to a BCS bowl, at a competitive and financial disadvantage. For the second time in five years, Utah finished the season undefeated and was shut out of playing in the BCS national title game.
Utah finished the season ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press poll.