Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 12/21/11

People.com had an exclusive with a man who knew Tim Tebow quite well during his college football days. Here’s an excerpt:

As far as college classes go, Melvin Thomas wasn’t looking forward to biology lab. The University of Florida student would rather take a humanities course or an economics course or something more reading-intensive. Science, not so much.

But his biology lab would prove to be one of the more memorable courses of his college career.

His appreciation for his weekly lab started on the first day of class: the day Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow walked into the room, nodded in his direction and sat down in the empty chair at his desk.

“Hi, I’m Melvin.”

“Hi,” Tebow, then the quarterback for the Florida Gators, replied. “I’m Tim.”

They exchanged phone numbers.

An Unassuming Presence

“It was surprising,” Thomas tells PEOPLE of the moment Tebow – whose six-week winning streak came to an end Sunday night in a game against the New England Patriots – walked into his class, prompting the room to fall into a hush of college students “playing it cool.” He adds: “He honestly didn’t assume anything.”

It was January 2009, and the UF athlete superstar had just returned to Gainesville, Fla., in glory from a victory BCS National Championship game in Miami. He had already announced he would spend his senior year as a Gator instead of entering the NFL Draft. He was recovering from shoulder surgery.

Thomas says the two worked together nearly every week on assignments for the lab, which was geared toward non-science majors. (Tebow graduated from UF in 2010 with a degree in family, youth and community sciences.)

When the class was working on a lesson about evolution, Thomas says Tebow “never argued or generated conflict” about the course material. “He did whatever he had to do for school,” he says.

Thomas says Tebow, an evangelical Christian, believes in microevolution (as opposed to macroevolution, which refers to large-scale evolutionary changes).

“The Busiest Person”

 

As far as star-sightings go in north-central Florida, he was “as much as a celebrity as any student could ever be.” Even in a charming college town with a population just less than 125,000, Tebow and Thomas had to plan their study locales wisely.

So the library was off-limits.

The two would often work in Thomas’s dorm room. Study breaks meant playing NCAA Football on Thomas’s Xbox.

“He was really chill – down to earth,” Thomas says. “He’s probably the busiest person I have ever met in my life at all times – aways doing something.”

“Doing something” often meant doing good for Tebow, who was no stranger to charity work even in college. (His Tim Tebow Foundation is now helping build a children’s hospital in the Philippines.)

But sometimes doing good meant making a fan smile.

Thomas remembers going to the Florida Museum of Natural History on campus with Tebow to complete a lab assignment. They filed through the museum, filling out a worksheet about the evolution of stingrays and various creatures. There was a class of local students there, too, on a field trip.

“Half the time Tim had to hide because if a bus full of kids saw him, we’d never get our assignments done,” he says.

They slipped out the back entrance – just not before Tebow signed a few autographs for his young admirers.

For the whole article go here

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Michael Bennett wants a sit-down with Donald Trump

Report: Dwyane Wade nearing deal with Cavaliers

John Mara ‘very unhappy’ with Odell Beckham’s TD celebration

Four NCAA BB assistants arrested in alleged fraud scheme involving Adidas

Brent Musburger not impressed with Tony Romo as broadcaster

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

LeBron, Steph featured on SI ‘A Nation Divided, Sports United’ cover

If you don't appreciate Aaron Judge yet, there's still time

Tom Brady on Aaron Hernandez: ‘I don’t think about him very often’

Jim Harbaugh wants Big Ten to address ‘unsportsmanlike’ opposing locker rooms

Yasiel Puig to play Tuesday after being benched two games

Patriots apologize for charging fans $5 for tap water

The 'Nonexistent MLB Rookie of the Year races' quiz

MLB teams with the most at stake this postseason

After Carmelo Anthony trade, the Western Conference looks completely different

Veterans who need to prove they still belong in the NHL

The 'Celebrations are afoot in Philadelphia' quiz

Getaway Day: Closing time on 2017 regular season

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mayor Garcetti rolls back the NFL red carpet

The 'Greatest Show temporarily not on turf' quiz

Separating MLS playoff contenders from pretenders

WNBA Finals preview: Lynx look for revenge against Sparks

The 'Chris Sale joins an elite club' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: The home runs just keep on coming

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

MLB teams with the most at stake this postseason

The 'Nonexistent MLB Rookie of the Year races' quiz

After Melo trade, the West looks completely different

The 'Celebrations are afoot in Philadelphia' quiz

Getaway Day: Closing time on 2017 regular season

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mayor Garcetti rolls back the NFL red carpet

The 'Greatest Show temporarily not on turf' quiz

Separating MLS playoff contenders from pretenders

WNBA Finals preview: Lynx look for revenge against Sparks

Three Up, Three Down: The home runs just keep on coming

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker