To some, the term "outstanding" as related to the Heisman Trophy is primarily about on-field performance, to others it is about the impact an indivdual has on his team and to others it is about the intangibles (for example: leadership, determination, courage and class).
In terms of football, though, there are a few elements that can qualify a player as "outstanding" and set them apart from their counterparts in the sport. Although the Heisman is a subjective award, there are several areas a voter can logically look at to help determine which way to cast their vote. In most cases a voter likely has a mental algorithm which weighs this criteria set to determine their vote outcome.
Among the areas that most seem to consider are:
Statistics: Nothing compares two individual players better than a head-to-head statistical breakdown. Although there are several factors that can impact statistics — for example: competition, weather, surrounding talent, coaching, etc. — it is the most tangible method available to compare players and their impact on the game of football.
Several Heisman winners have won the award primarily on statistics, like Marcus Allen, Mike Rozier, Barry Sanders and Rashaan Salaam, all of whom gained 2,000 yards in a season, a feat which catapulted them to the honor.
Impact: The pure impact an indivdual player has on their team can play a major role in a player winning the Heisman. What would Nebraska have been like in 2001 without their "do everything" quarterback Eric Crouch?
The importance a player has on their team throughout the course of a stellar season can also help them live up to the billing of "outstanding player."
Intangibles: These can be wide in scope and variety and include traits like leadership, poise, confidence, sportsmanship and versatility, among others.
For example, Charles Woodson could seemingly play any position for Michigan in 1997 and excel at it. His versatility as an athlete set him apart as an "outstanding player" and helped him win the Heisman that year.
Having laid out the primary selection factors many voters tend to consider for the Heisman Trophy, Penn State's senior quarterback Michael Robinson, absolutely deserves not only the most careful of consideration for the award, but also an invitation to the ceremony in December.
Statistics: A pure dual-threat quarterback, Robinson's numbers in 2005 have been impressive:
Robinson's statisitics are amazingly similar to leading Heisman candidate Vince Young:
Impact: It is arguable that no other individual player has had a greater impact on their team than Michael Robinson, transforming a four-win, bowless team in 2004 to a 10 win, BCS bound, Big Ten championship squad ranked in the top three of the BCS standings.
This was a player who was doubted by the vast majority of the college football world. A player questioned and critcized by the media. The Big Ten conference felt that Penn State could do no better than six with Robinson at the helm.
Among many of the major game-changing and season-defining impacts he has had on the Nittany Lions this year:
Intangibles: When you look at the entire package of Michael Robinson, his intangibles may state the loudest case for him as an "oustanding player."
Galen Hall, who has coached at programs like Oklahoma, Florida and the Dallas Cowboys, called Robinson the most complete quarterback he has ever worked with — pointing to his athletic ability and his mental sharpness and toughness on the field.
He has excelled at every position he has been asked to play. He has shown that he may actually be "the best player in college football," as Joe Paterno has called him.
He has led the greatest comeback story of the season and perhaps the decade, bringing a team which had a total of seven wins in 2003 and 2004 to ten wins in 2005. A feat very few leaders can do in such a short span in today's game.
He embodies class and represents what is great about college football.
So, if you look at entire picture of Michael Robinson with careful consideration you will see he is an "outstanding" player and person in every sense of the word.
To deny him an invitation to the Heisman ceremony would not only be doing a disservice to the honor, but would be denying the true purpose of the award.
The Nittany Lions are going bowling this year. Want to be a part of the Fight On State bowl package, where you will receive the most travel bang for your buck and have a chance to spend time with folks from the best Penn State site on the Internet?