Sproles for Heisman

My media buds will likely even poke some good-natured fun at me for my vote, but I really don't care- Darren Sproles for Heisman.

I voted for the Heisman Trophy Monday, and my guy will not win it.

My media buds will likely even poke some good-natured fun at me for my vote, but I really don't care.

My 000417 ballot was decorated with Larry Fitzgerald of Pittsburgh as my No. 3 choice; Jason White of Oklahoma as my No. 2 choice; and ... Darren Sproles of Kansas State as my No. 1 choice.

That's how the Heisman folks do it with three points going to a first choice, two for a second and one for a third, which are all fed into the Deloitte & Touche accounting folks, who will spit out the winner on Saturday evening at the Downtown Athletic Club in New York City.

With the voting deadline on Wednesday, the Heisman will be decided by 145 media individuals in each of six sections in the United States, plus each past Heisman winner has a vote.
So why Sproles?

Watching Big 8/12 football for portions of five decades, I think he's as amazing of a talent as I've ever viewed.

He's provided more "oh my goodness gracious me oh my" runs ever; the full-speed 360s; the gliding runs; others as jagged, and sudden, as a lightning strike.

He's impossible to prepare for because he's impossible to duplicate. He provides so many questions of which there are no answers.

Barry Sanders once said, "I see the same things you see, I can just get there."

The same is true for Mr. Sproles.
Here are a few more reasons why the vote went to Sproles for Heisman.

•1,948 rushing yards (14 games), No. 1 in the nation by 300 yards over Northern Illinois' Michael Turner (12 games).

•139 yards per game, No. 2 in the nation behind Patrick Cobbs of North Texas at 159 per game.

•6.65 yards per carry, No. 1 in the nation for backs with at least 200 carries.

•17 touchdowns, No. 9 among true running backs.

•In all-purpose yardage, Sproles' average of 189 yards per game, ranking second only to Deangelo Williams of Memphis at 192. His yardage of 2,650 (14 games) was 504 more than UTEP's Howard Jackson (13 games).

It's not what decides Heisman Trophies, but consider what Mr. Sproles has done in just 33 football games as a Wildcat.

•Career rushing leader by 1,088 yards over Eric Hickson — 3,625-2,537.
•First and second in single-season rushing with 1,675 yards in 2002 and 1,948 in 2003.

•Career per game rushing leader at nearly 110 yards per game. As a starter as a sophomore and junior (27 games), Sproles averaged 127 yards per game.

•Career per-carry average of 6.5 yards, or 1.5 yards per carry more than any other Wildcat back.

•First and second in single-season per-carry average at 6.18 in 2002 and 6.65 in 2003.

•Career touchdowns for a true running back with 33, or two more than Josh Scobey.

What have you done for me lately?

In the last three games against a 9-victory Nebraska team (25 carries-141 yards), an 8-victory Missouri team (43-273) and a 12-victory Oklahoma team (22-235), Sproles has scooted the ball 90 times for 649 yards (7.2 yards per carry) with three touchdowns.

The Sooners had not allowed a "team" to rush for more than 171 yards on them. Sproles had 235 yards.

OU had been allowing just 94 rushing yards per game, 3.0 per carry; Sproles had 235 yards, 10.7 per carry.
With the national folks just realizing that Sproles exists, there's been a late push for Sproles to be invited to the Downtown Athletic Club as a finalist.

While he's deserving, it's a waste of time as not even Kansas State has promoted him as one of America's best.

But do you know what? Sproles couldn't care less.

As the story goes, in the late 1980s, Sanders asked his SID, Steve Buzzard, "What's that thing I have to go to tonight?"

Buzzard answered, "It's the Heisman presentation."

Even the attitudes are the same ... Sproles to Sanders.
One final thought on Mr. Sproles.

As the chant goes, ''One more year.''

Some agent is sure to be on the phone to mommy and daddy Sproles inquiring about the interest their son might have in playing in the NFL ... next year.

An NFL scout told me in early October when Sproles was posting only human-like numbers that he would be a likely third- or fourth-round draft choice.

Unquestionably, his stock is on the rise.

And if Sproles were my son, in all honesty, a hard look and an attentive ear would be given to what NFL teams say.

Sproles is not the type of kid who would return to win the Heisman, and the Wildcat record book has his name mentioned nearly as many times as God has his in the Bible.

No, Sproles would return for the right reasons. He would return to finish his degree in sports medicine and to complete his commitment to Kansas State.

If he does return, he should be applauded as if he had just made a 99-yard run; but if he goes, a standing ovation is also in order for the memories.

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