- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 13, 2009

TAKE YOUR PICK WILL A DEFENSIVE PLAYER WIN THE HEISMAN TROPHY FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1997?

Yes - You could make a strong argument that college football’s three best players are all on the defensive side of the ball. Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, Tennessee safety Eric Berry and Southern Cal safety Taylor Mays are all can’t-miss stars at the next level who dominate college games.

Mays is a 6-foot-3, 205-pound strong safety who runs a legitimate 4.25 in the 40-yard dash. A headhunter who excels against the run, Mays leads the Trojans with 28 tackles.

Though he lacks gaudy numbers, Berry boasts arguably the best pure football instincts of any defender in the nation. The Tennessee junior needs just 16 yards to break Terrell Buckley’s NCAA record for career interception return yardage.

Nebraska’s Suh has been unblockable this season. Not only does he lead the Cornhuskers in tackles (32), Suh has seven tackles for loss, three sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and seven pass deflections.

No - There’s no way that a defensive player wins the Heisman. Michigan’s Charles Woodson took the stiff-arming statue as a starting defensive player in 1997 for two reasons: 1. He was the best player on the best team; 2. He returned punts and played some snaps at wideout for the Wolverines. No defense-only player has won the Heisman in the platoon era.

Our take - If ever there was a season to break with tradition, this is it. Every preseason Heisman favorite has been underwhelming or injured or both, while these defensive stars have glowed each week. Yet the voters again will fall at the feet of offensive players, giving the award to the quarterback who finishes the season strongest among the trio of Florida’s Tim Tebow, Texas’ Colt McCoy and Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen.

HE SAID WHAT?

“Obviously in the end, I would like to play on the PGA Tour and be able to play with the guys that I played with this week.”

- Eighteen-year-old Japanese sensation Ryo Ishikawa after finishing 3-2 in the Presidents Cup


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