Heisman hype builds

The Heisman Trophy will be awarded Dec. 9 on ESPN
The Heisman Trophy will be awarded Dec. 9 on ESPN

The Heisman Trophy, annually handed out to the greatest of the great college football players, may be the most coveted individual award in all of sports. Only baseball’s Cy Young award, given to  the top pitchers in each league, notably award individual achievement in the name of sports legend. The NHL’s Stanley Cup and the Super Bowl’s Vince Lombardi Trophy are team awards.

The Heisman Trophy is named after John Heisman. The award was created in 1935 by the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City, of which Heisman was the director. That first year it simply was awarded to the most outstanding college football player. A year later, after Heisman’s passing, it was changed to honor his legacy.

Heisman coached football at Auburn, Clemson and Georgia Tech, among other schools and his National Championship for G-Tech in 1917 was the first for a southern school. He also coached baseball and basketball. Along with the coveted trophy, his legacy is known for a number of quotes and embellish the theme of sports competition. Here are a few:

“When you find your opponent’s weak spot, hammer it.”
“Don’t cuss. Don’t argue with the officials. And don’t lose the game.”
“Gentlemen, it is better to have died as a small boy than to fumble this football.”
“When in doubt, punt!”

Once again on Saturday, December 9 the eyes of the sports world will turn to New York City where another deserving young athlete will take home the Heisman Trophy. Last year it was Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, who is once again a candidate this year. Should he be so fortunate  enough to win again Jackson would be only the second player to win the award twice. The only other is Ohio State running back Archery Griffin who won the Heisman in both 1975 and 1976,

Many are betting on Penn State junior running back Saquon Barkley to win the trophy. Barkley’s stock fell in late October when he was held to 44 yards rushing in a loss to Ohio State, but he remains the front-runner. In that same game Buckeye’s senior quarterback J.T. Barrett showed his own potential as the Heisman winner and emerged as a candidate himself. Oklahoma senior quarterback Baker Mayfield along with junior running backs Josh Adams out of Notre Dame and Bryce Love of Stanford are also viable candidates.

On Saturday night the candidates will line up. Their coaches and families will be present and highlight reels will solidify the reasons why they are in New York. But only one name will be called and that young man will have his life and career changed positively forever and earn the greatest achievement in college football.

Dan Ladd

Dan Ladd

Dan Ladd is a freelance sports writer who works out of Gracenote’s Queensbury, NY office.

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