Obvious/Not So Obvious - Heisman review

The Heritage Hall Heisman backfield is now complete. Only missing a quarterback, Heisman running backs Mike Garrett, O.J. Simpson, Charles White, and Marcus Allen now have a quarterback in their huddle as USC's Carson Palmer passed his way into Trojan immortality by becoming the 68th Heisman Trophy winner Saturday night in New York City.

The Obvious - The Heritage Hall Heisman backfield is now complete. Only missing a quarterback, Heisman running backs Mike Garrett, O.J. Simpson, Charles White, and Marcus Allen now have a quarterback in their huddle as USC's Carson Palmer passed his way into Trojan immortality by becoming the 68th Heisman Trophy winner Saturday night in New York City.

The Not So Obvious - Representing the excitement of all the living USC Heisman winners, Marcus Allen showed his support away from the Big Apple with reassuring phone calls to Carson Palmer before and after the presentation.

The Obvious - So shocked and overcome by his selection as the 2002 Heisman Trophy winner, Palmer humbly told a nation, " My heart's about to come out of my shirt."

The Not So Obvious - So touched by the announcement back in Southern California, Palmer's Santa Margarita High School coach Jim Haritgan said, "My heart kind of dropped. When you hear somebody's name you coached who went to your high school, it was an emotional time - for him, I'm sure, Santa Margarita High School, and I'm sure Southern California.

The Obvious - Upon the announcement, it seemed like Palmer's parents where also in a state of shock as they sort of went into a daze.

The Not So Obvious - Composing herself, Palmer's mother Danna said, "I can't believe it. My son won the Heisman. It will follow him. You win this, and you're forever."

The Obvious - One of the keys to Palmer having a great year was the return of the running game thanks to a vastly improved offensive line and senior running backs Justin Fargas, Sultan McCullough, and Malaefou MacKenzie.

The Not So Obvious - Just like quarterback Palmer needed help from his tailbacks, past USC running back Heisman winners were also helped by their quarterbacks. For O.J. Simpson, it was a little fellow named Steve Sogge. For Charles White, the Trojan quarterback was current USC radio colorman Paul McDonald. However, can you name the quarterbacks that helped Mike Garrett in 1965 and Marcus Allen 21 years ago?

The Obvious - Lost in the shuffle at winning the Heisman is the fact that Palmer is locking on to many All-America teams as the first-team quarterback.

The Not So Obvious - Palmer joins a select group of former Trojan All-America quarterbacks which includes Morley Drury (1927), Don Williams (1928) , Orv Mohler (1930), "Gus" Shaver (1931), "Cotton" Warburton (1933), "Grenny" Lansdell (1939), Paul McDonald (1979), and Rodney Peete (1988) .

The Obvious - With Palmer's Heisman win, the Trojans now have five winners and trail Ohio State (6), and leader Notre Dame (7).

The Not So Obvious - The Trojans have been very close over the years to jumping past the Buckeyes and the Fighting Irish. The Trojans have had four runners-up including O.J. Simpson in 1967, Anthony Davis in 1974, Ricky Bell in 1976, and Rodney Peete in 1988.

The Obvious - The second place finisher in this year's Heisman was Iowa's Brad Banks, who will have something to prove against SC in the Orange Bowl. Banks showed class following the ceremony by saying of Palmer, " In a way, I was expecting to win. I was hearing all the hype. But it went to a good person."

The Not So Obvious - Brad Banks' mother, Vida, was seated next to Palmer as he was announced.

The Obvious - Seating behind Palmer at the Yale Club was his wife-to-be Shaelyn Fernandes, whose hands went right to her face in shock as her future husband's name was announced.

The Not So Obvious - You might want to buy some stock in the future little Palmers as Fernandes is a stellar goalkeeper for the Trojans' women's soccer team. She attended San Jose Presentation High where she led her school to a 78-4-5 record and four league titles, not to mention two CIF Central Coast Section championships. She was a two-time All-CIF selection, whose father played baseball at Santa Clara.

The Obvious - It figures that Iowa will have a decided fan advantage over the Trojans in the Orange Bowl.

The Not So Obvious - Palmer acknowledged that the good folks from Hawkeyeland will be in quite a mood on Jan. 2 considering Carson beat out their quarterback on Saturday night. Carson said, " Iowa fans probably don't like me right now. I am definitely not going to be very popular at the Orange Bowl."

The Obvious - Members from both teams probably watched the announcement live in Iowa and Southern California, and the Iowa team certainly feels their man should have won despite the overwhelming voting for Palmer.

The Not So Obvious - A clue to Iowa's team's revenge was leaked when Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz said with a smirk after the ceremony, " I'm sure we've got some guys (on defense) who were watching back home."

The Obvious - The Rose Bowl committee probably felt even more depressed with Palmer's Heisman victory and the fact that Brad Banks came in second. The USC/Iowa matchup is rapidly taking on a life of its own across the country, despite the Fiesta Bowl between Miami and Ohio State for the BCS championship.

The Not So Obvious - How excited the Orange Bowl committee must have felt aftr the Heisman balloting, especially the ticket scalpers in Miami who couldn't have asked for a better scenario.

The Obvious - Palmer believed that the big push for his Heisman victory probably came at the expense of Notre Dame on national television. Carson said, " I think it was the Notre Dame game. If anybody else was playing that game, maybe they would have won it."

The Not So Obvious - It also didn't hurt that Keith Jackson gave his stamp of approval along with Sports Illustrated. Ironically, Palmer was told by the Irish to retake his SAT test and raise his score to be admitted. Palmer felt he was being snubbed by Notre Dame, turned his attention to the Trojans, and the rest is history.

The Obvious - Miami quarter Ken Dorsey once was recruited by the Trojans, but decided not to come south from Northern California because he didn't want to compete with Palmer.

The Not So Obvious - At the time, Paul Hackett was the Trojans' coach, and Hackett was an alum of Dorsey's high school.

The Obvious - Many across the country would like to have seen a USC/Miami title game, but the Trojans were lacking one extra-point against Washington State and a couple of dropped passes against Kansas State from doing so.

The Not So Obvious - After the ceremony, Dorsey showed some pain from coming in last in the voting by snipping, " It's good for Willis (McGahee) and myself not to have that added pressure (of winning the Heisman) going into a bowl game. Even though I finished dead last, the last time I looked, we're still going to the Fiesta Bowl."

The Obvious - Palmer is the first player to win the trophy since USC's Marcus Allen did it 22 years ago.

The Not So Obvious - Palmer's win doesn't prove there isn't an East Coast if another 22 years goes by before a West Coast player wins the award.

The Obvious - It is hard to believe at one time there were some that wanted Jason Thomas to be the Trojans' quarterback over Carson Palmer.

The Not So Obvious - Maybe deep down Thomas could see the future and bailed for UNLV and John Robinson. Wonder what Thomas was doing and thinking at the time of Heisman announcement.

The Obvious - Pete Carroll says the the game plan for the Iowa game will be complete by December 23rd.

The Not So Obvious - Some wonder where the coach and Norm Chow were and why they were not in New York City. Well, USC football practice was still going on, but both left on Sunday for the formal Heisman dinner presentation Monday night in New York City.

The Obvious - Orange County is considered one of the regions premier recruiting grounds for top prep talent.

The Not So Obvious - Palmer is the second Heisman winner from Orange County after Notre Dame quarterback John Huarte, a Mater Dei grad, won the award in 1964.

The Obvious - By winning the Heisman, Palmer is now able to vote in the coming years along with the four other Trojan Heisman victors.

The Not So Obvious - Well, when Pete Carroll goes out amongst the talent across the nation, he can always say he can almost guarantee at least five Trojan Heisman votes. With Palmer as USC's first Heisman qarterback, do you think that Carroll and Chow might mention that to quarterback recruit Chris Leak?

The Obvious - There were some in the media that thought that Penn State running back Larry Johnson was going to take home the hardware to Happy Valley and JoPa.

The Not So Obvious - After coming off as a gracious winner on previous awards presentations, Johnson showed some of his underbelly by saying, "I got my fair share (awards). If you add up all my awards, they almost equal a Heisman Trophy. So, I guess I can't be too greedy."

The Obvious - While Palmer was in New York, recruiting was still in full spin as more players were turning their attention to the Trojans.

The Not So Obvious - One player that still has the Trojans amongst his top three is defensive tackle Sedric Ellis of Chino. While SC is right there with the star tackle, Ellis is said to be leaning to a school in the southeast section of the country, and these lips are sealed.

The Obvious - It was a shame that former Edison High running back Darryl Poston was forced to end his brief Trojan career due to a spinal problem.

The Not So Obvious - This is probably the reason that the Trojan coaching staff is looking to bring in at least three backs if not four backs. While many are looking at Lendale White of Colorado as one of the big backs, Concord De La Salle's Maurice Drew should be considered as important as any. Drew could be the Mike Garrett of the new millennium.

The Obvious - USC has widened its recruiting base across the country to take advantage of this year's season.

The Not So Obvious - There are a host of teams that are looking at Texas defensive tackle Xavier Lawson-Kennedy. The Trojans are hoping for a visit, but Lawson-Kennedy's coach was quoted in a local paper as saying that the distance from home may be a factor working against the Trojans.

The Obvious - When asked how he was going to get the Heisman home, Carson Palmer informed, "I'm not carrying it on the plane. That thing must weigh 55-60 pounds."

The Not So Obvious - Carson, that's why a USC Heisman quarterback hands off to workhorse USC Heisman tailback. Athletic director Mike Garrett will be more than happy to have just one more carry for the Trojans.


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