MANATEE -- Mariah Radabaugh, 18, doesn't care that former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow's NFL resume to date includes being traded by Denver and cut by the Jets, Patriots and Eagles.
She doesn't care that Tebow doesn't take snaps from center for any NFL team now, and the closest he gets to a football field is as an ESPN college football analyst.
To Radabaugh, a Bradenton Christian School student, Tebow is a superstar today, tomorrow, next year and forever because of his faith.
"He doesn't let the world push him around," Radabaugh said Sunday of Tebow, who led the Gators to the national championship in 2008 and now earns his living on TV and speaking around the world. "He keeps trying. God shines through him. He's really inspiring."
Radabaugh, along with her sister, Jenna, 12, her mother, Laurie and friends Chris and Haley Foster, joined an estimated crowd of 4,000 at five locations of Bayside Community Church to hear the Christian gentleman Tebow share his message of faith.
Judging by the packed parking lot at the Bayside's East Bradenton campus on State Road 64 Sunday and the number of people wearing Gator orange and blue, there seem to be a lot of people who stand with Radabaugh.
"I grew up reading his book and listening to the way he speaks and the authority he has," Haley Foster said. "It's just his convictions."
"We just think he is a great role model for everyone," said Chris Foster, a friend of the Radabaughs. "We have a niece with Down Syndrome. When we see Tim working with people with special needs we just think he is a wonderful person."
Tebow preached on Saturday night and three times on Sunday, said Angela Moore, a Bayside Community Church spokeswoman.
Tebow is not just an athlete who can preach, he is a man of faith first, said the Rev. Burnard Scott of Bayside Community Church's East Campus.
"He is the real deal," Scott said. "He is very authoritative, very genuine, what you see is what you get."
Tebow told the church a story of visiting prisoners. One was on suicide watch. He had killed a fellow inmate. He was in a special jacket so he couldn't kill himself, Tebow said. Tebow told the man that God loves him and that despite everything he had done, he could be forgiven.
They fell on the floor crying because he told Tebow he had just a few minutes before reached the bottom of his life and asked God to give him one sign that God cared. A moment later Tebow stood before him.
"Very powerful story," Scott said. "What comes to my mind is how many people care enough to go out and reach out? The need is great. So many are hurting. So many need God in their lives. Tim knows it."
Richard Dymond, Bradenton Herald, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter@RichardDymond.com.