TAMPA - Gator Nation, the mystery is solved. It was Plant High tight end Orson Charles who broke your 2006 BCS National Championship trophy Friday in Gainesville.
It was, of course, an accident. And Charles said he is genuinely sorry for knocking the handcrafted Waterford crystal off a coffee table and onto the ground, where, just outside of Coach Urban Meyer's office, it shattered.
While in Gainesville competing in a Nike training camp, Charles said he and another prep player were touring the football stadium. That's where the BCS trophy, along with Gators quarterback Tim Tebow's Heisman Trophy, were on display. While leaning over to take a photo of the Heisman, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Charles said he bumped into the BCS trophy - he thinks with his backside - and knocked it to the ground.
"If you were outside the stadium, it was so loud, I think you would've heard it shatter," Charles said. "Nobody said anything for 10 minutes, then Florida assistant Coach John Hevesy said, 'What do I do? Who do I call? Did you know that was $35,000!'
"I just stood there with this baby look and said, 'Sorry.' Then he joked and said, 'You've got to commit to Florida now.'"
Charles, who will be a senior at Plant next season, has 16 Division I offers. He ranks Miami first on his list, but shortly after breaking the crystal he said Meyer joked about the mishap by asking, "How does it feel to be a Gator?" Charles said Meyer assured him insurance will replace the trophy.
Before Charles broke the trophy, Plant coach Robert Weiner said Meyer asked him to describe Charles. Weiner told Meyer that Charles was a "physical specimen" but sometimes a "bull in a china shop."
"After what happened," Weiner said, "I'm sure Urban now thinks I'm an excellent evaluator of talent."