‘Tis the most wonderful (Heisman) time of the year

‘Tis the most wonderful (Heisman) time of the year

You can tell it’s coming, there’s a chill in the air, kids are figuring out if they’re on the naughty or nice list and college football journalists, like any family at this time of year, are arguing ‘til they are blue in the face as to who should be this year’ Heisman winner.

The Heisman award, created by the Downtown Athletic Club of New York, is the most prestigious award for individuals in College, possibly American Football. Almost exclusively awarded to the glamour positions of the game, read quarterbacks and running backs, the Heisman awards are nearly as showy as the Oscars.

This year’s trophy winner, Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma University, “the Sooners”, like a few bad boys before him comes with baggage and a checkered past. An individual who wears his heart on his sleeve, those who laud Mayfield say he plays on the edge. Those less admiring suggest there might be a loose wire somewhere.

A dual threat quarterback, Mayfield’s stats are off the charts this season. However in the month of September, when Heisman front runners are making their names – Mayfield was really nowhere to be seen, quietly going about his business. At that point Saquon Barkley of Penn State, arguably the most talented footballer in the College game right now was a shoe-in for Heisman. This season Barkley has broken most if not all running back records, being compared by anyone who is anyone to the great Barry Sanders. High praise indeed for a conference which just unleashed Zeke Elliott on to the NFL. However, the Heisman like most things in life is not about how well you start rather how you finish. Post the hype of winning the lot, Penn State embarked on a poor run of form mid-season dashing their college playoff dreams and with it Barkley’s Heisman hopes.

Barkley and Nick Chubb of Georgia, another star running back, will continue their superstar status on to the NFL, of that there is no doubt, albeit Chubb has had a difficult season following a terrible injury in 2016. However expect both to be high draft picks in 2018.

So, this year’s shortlist was Lamar Jackson of Louisville, Bryce Love of Stanford and Baker Mayfield.

Last year’s Heisman winner, Lamar Jackson, the incredibly talented Louisville Quarterback made it again onto the final shortlist for Heisman, but only as a result of a late season flurry by the Cardinals. In September, Jackson was labelled as washed up. Yes, even in College Sports, folks have a short memory.

Most impressive effort goes to Bryce Love, running back for Stanford. West coast players are often hindered in the voting process as their games are played late East coast time meaning less prime time viewing and playing when voters are mostly tucked up in bed.

Early in the season Love suffered a nasty high ankle sprain. Such is his tenacity and his team’s need he played on in that game. And the next and the next. In fact Love played every game after that. There were times he was literally being carried off the field such was the pain but he just went back on again. Bryce Love broke Stanford rushing records this year. Heisman only knows what he would have done fit. Love would have got my vote, except I don’t have one.

But Baker Mayfield got the vote and no-one can take that away from him. Like Manziel before him, Mayfield will continue to divide opinion. He is a hugely talented QB, of that there is no doubt. He has hauled a good but not great Oklahoma team in to the Play-off’s as number 3 seed, something not many, including me predicted. Is he good enough to play in the NFL? In this quarterback needy NFL, someone absolutely will take a chance on him (Browns anyone?). He does not have the same mechanics as USC’s Sam Darnold (who really needs to stay in College for another year, but more of that in another article), but is reminiscent of a gunslinger – a Brett Favre if you will. However, it seems that it is his attitude that needs the most work and the pressure cooker of the NFL does not seem ideal for his hot headed talents. Discussions in NFL draft war rooms should be interesting.

Ladies and Gentlemen your 2017 Heisman Award winner, Baker Mayfield.

This guest piece was written by George Somerville who supports the Green Bay Packers and college team Alabama. You can follow George on @geosomerville.

One thought on “‘Tis the most wonderful (Heisman) time of the year

  1. I see Mayfield going down the same root as Manzel. There seems to be this “type” of player that just get too full of themselves, and can’t hold it back when they get to the NFL, crashing and burning spectacularly.
    I thought Winston was heading that way too, still could to be honest, only time will tell I guess. There seems to be endless line of these talented players just aching for the chance to throw it all away for fame, notoriety and be “Jonny hotshot” for 5 months !!
    Good Article!

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