January 13, 2012 at 4:26 AM EST - Updated June 26 at 7:13 AM
WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Tim Tebow's accomplishments on the football field and in the classroom at the University of Florida have inspired many fans, but a new, more spiritual group may now be feeling his influence, as well.
"Tebow was exemplary regarding his character. He came in with a reputation for being pious. He came with a reputation for being exceptional, and he lived it out at the University of Florida. It was something to see," said Doctor Wes Jamison, an Associate Professor of Communication at Palm Beach Atlantic University.
From 2006 to 2009 Jamison was on the faculty in Gainesville, a campus with a severe case of Tebow-mania. "You certainly saw an increase in attendance in class, particularly among the female students," said Jamison.
Jamison believes Tebow's behavior is a rallying cry for the faithful among us. "You see, we can do exactly what the world does and do it better. He is our banner, He is our hero," said Jamison.
But he acknowledges that a hero to the faithful, can sometimes alienate those with a more secular worldview. "If you're an atheist or someone who can't stand public displays of faith, he grates you the wrong way, you hate him," said Jamison.
Both sides of the debate can surely agree however, that Tebow has at the very least brought the topic of the place of faith in public to the forefront of the American consciousness.
"It would be very interesting to watch if we had a devout Muslim, who got out a compass, bowed to Mecca and prayed three times during a game. It would be interesting to see the response, and whether or not we would be quite as amenable to his display of faith," said Jamison.