RG3 welcomed into the Heisman fraternity

Baylor QB wins 2011 trophy; LSU's dynamic defensive back Tyrann Mathieu finishes fifth in the voting after a dominant sophomore season.

NEW YORK – Robert Griffin III beat out pre-season favorite Andrew Luck for the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, dazzling voters with his ability to throw, run and lead Big 12 Conference doormat Baylor into the national rankings.

The junior quarterback known as RG3 became the first Heisman winner from Baylor by a comfortable cushion over the Stanford star, who was the runnerup for the second straight year.

Tyrann Mathieu: Garners 34 first-place votes to finish fifth

LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu finished fifth in the voting and garnered 34 first-place votes.

Griffin started the season on the fringe of the Heisman conversation, a talented and exciting player on a marginal team, while Luck was already being touted as a No. 1 NFL draft pick.

Draft day might very well still belong to Luck, but Griffin diverted the Heisman to Waco, Texas, to a school that has never had a player finish better than fourth in the voting – and that was 48 years ago.

Right before his name was called, Griffin took a deep breath. When it was announced he broke into a bright smile. Then it was hugs all around, for his coaches, his parents, his sister and his fiance.

He took a few long strides up to the stage and let out a laugh when he got there, making a joke about the Superman socks – complete with capes on the back – he was wearing.

'"This is unbelievably believable,"' he said. "It's unbelievable because in the moment we're all amazed when great things happen. But it's believable because great things don't happen without hard work.

"Everybody associated with Baylor has a reason to celebrate (Saturday)."

Griffin received 405 first-place votes and 1,687 points. Luck received 247 first-place votes and 1,407 points to become the fourth player to be Heisman runner-up in consecutive seasons.

"Very much well deserved," said Luck, who is likely to be a top-five NFL Draft pick next April.

Alabama running back Trent Richardson was third with 138 first-place votes and 978 points. Wisconsin running back Montee Ball (348 points) was fourth and Mathieu finished with 327 points.

Griffin's highlights were simply spectacular – his signature moment coming on a long, cross-field touchdown pass with 8 seconds left to beat Oklahoma – and he put up dizzying numbers, completing 72 percent of his passes for 3,998 yards with 36 touchdown passes and a nation-leading 192.3 efficiency rating.

More importantly, he lifted Baylor (9-3) to national prominence and one of the greatest seasons in school history. The 15th-ranked Bears won nine games for the first time in 25 years, beat the Sooners for the first time ever and went 4-0 in November.

He finished with a kick and shot up the Heisman charts on Nov. 19 when Baylor beat Oklahoma 45-38. Griffin passed for 479 yards and four touchdowns against the Sooners, including that sensational 34-yard, game-winner to Terrance Williams in the closing seconds.

He stated his case one last time – emphatically – on championship Saturday last week, capping his season with 320 yards passing and two TD passes and two touchdown runs in a 48-24 victory against Texas.

Baylor's 4-0 showing in November matched its win total of wins in the 11th month in the Bears' first 15 Big 12 seasons.

Luck was the frontrunner from the moment in January he surprised many by returning to Stanford for one more season instead of jumping to the NFL to become a millionaire. He didn't disappoint, with 3,170 yards receiving, 35 touchdown passes, a completion percentage of 70 percent and a QB rating of 167.5.

Landing Griffin, the son of two U.S. Army sergeants who settled in Central Texas, was a recruiting coup for Baylor, though it was something of a package deal.

Griffin had committed to Houston and Coach Art Briles, but when Baylor hired Briles away, Griffin switched up and followed the coach to a program that hadn't even played in a bowl game since 1994 until last season.

He started 11 games as an 18-year-old freshman in 2008 and tore a knee ligament three games into the 2009 season. Griffin returned last year as good as new and with a newfound commitment and love of football. He threw for 3,501 yards and led Baylor to a 7-6 record.

This season, his passing has improved and he's still a dangerous runner (644 yards and nine TDs). He has left little doubt that he's a pro prospect, though he's got one more game – the Alamo Bowl against Washington on Dec. 29 in San Antonio – to show his stuff.

An aspiring lawyer who is working on a master's degree in communications, he holds 46 school records and adoring Bears fans are praying he comes back for more.



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