McFadden's Next NYC Trip

NEW YORK — Darren McFadden had never been to Manhattan until last December when he was invited as a Heisman Trophy finalist.

The only impression the Arkansas running back had of the city was of what he saw in movies: Tall buildings, crowded streets and bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Nothing has changed, as McFadden noticed this past weekend during his second trip to New York City.

"It's still pretty much the same to me because traffic is still moving fast, same old buildings," McFadden said, sitting in a hotel suite only a few blocks from Times Square.

After two trips to the Heisman ceremony, there is a good chance that the next time McFadden returns to the Big Apple will be in April for the NFL Draft.

McFadden has not said publicly whether he'll leave Arkansas after his junior season. And he stated again after Saturday night's Heisman ceremony that he'll make a decision about his future after the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1.

But the popular perception is that McFadden won't be back next season to make a third run at the Heisman, an award that has already alluded him twice.

"Well, for me, it's just something I'm going to sit down with my family and the (Arkansas) coaching staff and just see what's best for my future," McFadden said.

Does the fact that he'd be considered among the early favorites to win next year's Heisman play into his decision on whether to return for his senior season or leave early for the NFL?

"Nah, that's something I haven't thought about," McFadden said.

For the second consecutive year, the Little Rock native missed out on becoming the first Arkansas player to win college football's most prestigious individual award.

Florida quarterback Tim Tebow became the first sophomore to win the Heisman, edging out McFadden by a margin of 1,957 points to 1,703.

Tebow received 462 first-place votes to McFadden's 291. The double-threat quarterback also finished ahead of McFadden in all but one of the nation's six Heisman-voting regions.

Not surprisingly, McFadden won the Southwest region, which includes Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.

"He's the most dynamic football player I've ever seen in college football," former Ohio State running back and Heisman winner Eddie George said of McFadden.

NFL executives will no doubt be interested in McFadden's decision whether to stay or leave Arkansas after this season.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound tailback has a rare combination of explosive speed and raw strength, allowing him to either run around defenders or simply run over them.

Scout Inc. has McFadden rated as the top prospect in the 2008 NFL Draft, ahead of LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey or Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan.

And several other draft experts have predicted that McFadden would be a top 10 pick, perhaps among the top 5, if he decided to turn pro after his junior season.

"He can do it all. Not only is he a running back, but he can also throw the ball (and) line up at receiver," George said. "He's multi-dimensional, explosive."

For now, though, McFadden is not saying much about his future plans. But he might have offered a hint when he said following the Heisman ceremony that his "quarterbacking days are about to come to a halt."

McFadden still has time before he must make a decision. Either way, though, he can expect another trip to New York City — either for the NFL Draft or for a third go-around at the Heisman.

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