Multiple Heismans No Sure Thing

Ever since Tim Tebow won the top honor in college sports, there has been speculation as to whether or not the Florida quarterback could match Archie Griffin's accomplishment of winning back-to-back Heisman Trophies. And if you take it to the ultimate extreme, why not three Heisman statues for the Gators' one-man wrecking crew?

I see three significant obstacles to Tebow repeating as the Heisman winner.

Percy Harvin --- This is similar to the Matt Leinart/Reggie Bush situation two years ago. With a Heisman in hand, Tebow will try to deflect attention to his teammate. Plus, Harvin averages 8.6 yards per run and 15.6 per reception and if he stays healthy he is bound to get more touches than the 120 he got last year.

Emmanuel Moody --- Tebow ran for 22 touchdowns last year in part because of the fact that he was the Gators' most reliable ball carrier. He never fumbled in 194 carries while Kestahn Moore fumbles were key factors in two Gator losses. If Moody plays to the level he has shown his teammates on the practice field, Florida will be more comfortable letting a true running back get those final few yards. If that's the case, Tebow's stats will come way down.

Strong competition --- Looking over the college football landscape, there are a ton of players coming off superb seasons that are pretty well positioned to garner Heisman consideration. The larger the field, the more players there are with a chance to keep Tebow from a repeat performance. Some of the top candidates may yet elect to turn pro (I'm assuming Darren McFadden is long gone). But let's take a look at the top threats.

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Felix Jones, Arkansas ---
If Bobby Petrino can convince Jones to return as the featured back he could have a big year. Petrino is a superb offensive coach and his scheme has helped other running backs put up huge numbers. Jones will gain yards as a runner, receiver and return man.

Sam Bradford, Oklahoma --- Now that there's no barrier to a sophomore winning the award look out for the Sooners' quarterback. Bradford led the nation in passing efficiency and threw 34 touchdown passes. Oklahoma should be a highly ranked team all season long as well.

Chase Daniel, Missouri --- Daniel might have swiped the Heisman from Tebow if he had performed in the Big 12 Title game. Could next year's game be a Bradford/Daniel Heisman showdown?

Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech --- This receiver is an amazing talent who might be able to generate a lot of buzz. Last year Crabtree may have had the greatest season any receiver has ever had (125, 1,861, 14.9, 21). Yes he's in an offense that lends itself to great stats, but not like those stats.

Ray Rice, Rutgers --- Third in the NCAA in rushing last year, Rice will get plenty of pub heading into his senior season. With so many top QB candidates a big year from a runner gets extra attention.

We could go on for a while and add Kevin Smith, Pat White, Graham Harrell, Jonathan Stewart, Chris Wells, P.J. Hill and so on. The 2008 college football season will have more proven performers heading into the year than we see most seasons. As a result it won't be easy for Tim Tebow to make history. Then again, it never is, is it?

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel


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