Dorsey Heisman Finalist

The race for the national championship remains a bit shady, but the battle for the Heisman Trophy Award has been narrowed down. Four quarterbacks- including University of Miami junior Ken Dorsey – have been officially invited to Saturday night's Heisman presentation in New York City and will have the chance off walking away with the honor given to college football's premier player.

Dorsey, who has thrown for 2,652 yards and 23 touchdown passes this season, will be joined in the front row at the Marriot Marquis Hotel by Florida sophomore Rex Grossman, Nebraska senior Eric Crouch and Oregon senior Joey Harrington. A fifth candidate for the award may be added before Saturday.

"To say it's a thrill to be going to the Heisman Trophy presentation would be an understatement, but it's an incredible honor to be considered a contender for the award and to be invited to the presentation," said Dorsey, who has guided the Hurricanes to a 11-0 regular season and spot in the national championship Rose Bowl on Jan. 3.

The four finalist were selected based on 20 percent of the 923 ballots that were distributed with 870 of those going to the media and another 53 to past Heisman Trophy winners. Voters have until Friday, Dec. 7, to turn in their ballots.

Over 800 votes were still unaccounted for earlier this week, signaling that this year's winner might not be as obvious as in the past. Dorsey has completed 58 percent of his passes and has thrown just nine interceptions on the season. Dorsey already boosts some expressive credentials including leader in career touchdown passes (58) and second in passing yards (6.196) at the University of Miami.

Should he win Dorsey would become the third Hurricanes player in school history to capture the Heisman joining former quarterbacks Vinny Testaverde (1986) and Gino Toretta (1992). Toretta, who beat out San Diego State's Marshall Faulk and Georgia's Garrison Hearst, still ranks as the Hurricanes all-time leader in passing yards with 7,690. Testaverde become the first player in school history to capture the award after leading the Hurricanes to a perfect regular season, before throwing five interceptions in a 14-10 loss to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl.

But Dorsey isn't focused on winning the Heisman, instead the right-hander is gearing up for what he hopes will be the Hurricanes fifth national title in school history. He added that he wasn't the only player on the team deserving of the award.

"Winning the Heisman has never been a concern of mine, my main concern is going to the Rose Bowl and getting a victory," Dorsey said. "I also think guys like Ed Reed, Bryant McKinnie, Phillip Buchanon and Clinton Portis are all deserving of the award. Without them, we wouldn't be playing for the national championship." Dorsey will be hard-pressed to win the Heisman, himself.

Despite the Gators 34-32 loss to Tennessee, Grossman still has the most attractive numbers of all the finalists. Grossman has completed 66 percent of his passes for 3,896 yards, 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The Gators will likely end up in the Orange Bowl against Maryland. Crouch led Nebraska to a 11-1 regular season record and still could play face the Hurricanes in the national title game. Crouch passed for 1,510 yards and rushed for another 1,115. He is only the 13th player in the NCAA to ever thrown and run for 1,000 yards in a season.

Harrington guided the Ducks to a 10-1 record and Pac-10 Conference championship with 23 touchdown passes and 2,414 passing yards. He threw five interceptions.

UM head coach Larry Coker likes the chances of his guy.

"Ken's value to our team is obvious to anyone that watches Miami on a regular basis. We simply wouldn't nearly as effective without him at quarterback," said Coker. "I believe he's worthy of the Heisman because he's simply the best in the nation at leading an offense and probably the best quarterback I've ever seen at leading a team to victory. He always finds a way to win and he's done it so many different ways at Miami, both this season and throughout his career. It's no coincidence that we're 25-1 with Ken at quarterback."

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