GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Tim Tebow became the sixth player to join the Florida Ring of Honor on Saturday, as the crowd inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium chanted, "Tebow! Tebow!"
Tebow, who won the Heisman Trophy and two national championships as Florida's quarterback from 2006 to 2009, was honored after the first quarter in No. 22 Florida's 27-19 home victory over No. 5 LSU.
A Tebow highlights package played on the video screens as he stood near the 20-yard line. When his name was unveiled, the crowd gave him a standing ovation and chanted his name. Tebow then took the microphone and had a message for the fans.
"I want to thank my mom and dad for making me a Gator on Day 1," he said. "I want to thank all of my teammates and coaches for having my back through thick and thin. I love you guys. And Gator Nation, I love you guys. Thank you.
"I was born a Gator. I played as a Gator. And I'll die a Gator."
Tebow then left the field and hugged his parents, who stood on the sideline.
Earlier in the week, Tebow said the honor was particularly meaningful because he would have his parents with him at the game.
Tebow, now an analyst for ESPN and a minor league baseball player, went 35-6 in his four seasons with the Gators. He left Florida with 28 school records, 14 conference records and five NCAA records.
The 2008 national championship team that Tebow led also was honored at the game.
"He was here, and we were able to find a way to win the game," Gators coach Dan Mullen, who was Tebow's offensive coordinator at Florida, said after Saturday's contest. "I didn't want to let him down that way, so it's a great honor having him here. I know how big and important that is to him and what being a Florida Gator means to him and for us to get the win.
"I know it's a night he'll never forget, but I know winning the game was a little cherry on top to make sure it was all smiles."
Tebow addressed the team prior to the matchup.
"He told us before the game it was going to be a hard game," Florida defensive tackle Kyree Campbell said. "He told us we couldn't back down. We had to show them who we were."
Mullen offered more insight on Tebow.
"Tim was ready to go. He was ready to buckle it up," Mullen said. "He had that look in his eye. He was ready to play."
Tight end Lucas Krull, who threw a pass to quarterback Feleipe Franks on Florida's winning drive, stopped Tebow after the game and asked for a picture. Tebow told Krull he made a great throw; it just so happens both are left-handed.