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Heisman Trophy Awards Show 7 p.m. Saturday (ESPN)
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Texas states its case
Lone Star State schools have produced 10 Heisman winners — from Davey to RG3
Aggies and the Heisman
The last time a Texas A&M player finished among the Heisman’s top 10, Johnny Manziel had just marked his first birthday. Quarterback Bucky Richardson finished 10th in the 1991 race, won by Michigan receiver Desmond Howard. In a remarkable twist, Richardson received nearly as many first-place votes (six) as he had touchdown passes (eight.) Manziel will also become only the fifth Aggie to finish among the Heisman leaders. Texas tops state universities with 17 players among the leaders through the years. SMU, TCU and Texas Tech all have had seven players among Heisman leaders. A&M leads Baylor (three), Houston (three) and Rice (one.) Running back John Kimbrough, known as the “Haskell Hurricane,” was the first Aggie to receive JOHN significant Heisman supDAVID CROW port. A crushing inside runner, Kimbrough finished second to Michigan running back Tom Harmon in 1940. Kimbrough ran for 611 yards and also had five interceptions. No Aggie was among the leaders for the next 16 years. Running back John David Crow ended the drought with the school’s only Heisman, in 1957. Post-Crow, the Aggies went into a longer absence from the Heisman. They did not put a another player among the Heisman leaders until 1990, when running back Darren Lewis of Carter High School tied Miami quarterback Craig Erickson for eighth. Lewis was the nation’s leading rusher at 1,795 yards, with 20 touchdowns.
By GERRY FRALEY
Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
The Heisman Trophy began in 1935 as an East-centric award. It was officially labeled the Downtown Athletic Club’s Trophy to the Outstanding College Football Player East of the Mis-
sissippi River. The DAC, based in New York City, was the first to hit upon the concept of “flyover country.” A TCU quarterback opened the DAC’s eyes. In 1938, with the award renamed in honor of innovator John Heisman, ‘‘Little Davey” O’Brien became the first player from west of the Big
Muddy to win the Heisman. From there, the Heisman became a nationwide event, with Texas players regularly in contention. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel could become the 11th player with deep roots in the state to win the award. Only California (13) and Ohio (12) have had more
Heisman winners who played high school or college football in that state. A look at the ties between Texas and the Heisman Trophy:
Follow Gerry Fraley on Twitter at @gfraley
Doak Walker: The golden boy
Doak Walker, from SMU and Highland Park, shares a distinction with players ranging from Florida quarterback Tim Tebow to Army’s World War II backfield of Doc “Mr. Inside” Blanchard and Glenn “Mr. Outside” Davis. They are among a select group of 15 players in Heisman history to receive votes in three different seasons. Walker returned from DOAK service in the Merchant WALKER Marine to finish third in 1947. He won the Heisman in 1948 and finished third again in ’49. Davis and Georgia running back Herschel Walker are the only other players to finish among the top three in three different seasons. Doak Walker was a graceful and deceptive runner who did everything on the field. In 1948, he ran for 14 touchdowns, threw for six touchdowns and scored three more touchdowns on receptions. He also kicked, returned kicks and played in the secondary. Walker became the national golden boy, his picture plastered on the cover of magazines. The Cotton Bowl added about 30,000 seats to meet the demand for SMU games.
File 1987/The Associated Press
Former Woodrow Wilson and Notre Dame star Tim Brown poses with the Heisman Trophy after winning the award in 1987. Most of his impact came as a kick returner.
Texas and California: A Heisman connection
Only two high schools have produced multiple Heisman winners: Woodrow Wilson with O’Brien and Notre Dame wide receiver Tim Brown; and Mater Dei of Santa Ana, Calif., with quarterbacks John Huarte of Notre Dame in 1964 and Matt Leinart of USC in 2004. The schools come from opposite ends of the spectrum. Wilson is a public school that opened in East Dallas in 1928. The makeup of the school has changed as the neighborhood has changed. Mater Dei, in wealthy Orange County, is one of the largest private Catholic high schools in the country. In 2008, Sports Illustrated listed Mater Dei as the second-best high school athletic program in the country. Matei Dei had not opened when O’Brien, all 5-7 and 118 pounds of him, played for Wilson. At TCU, O’Brien backed up future Hall of Famer Slingin’ Sammy Baugh before becoming the starter in 1937. In 1938, O’Brien, beefed up to 150 pounds, set an NCAA record for most rushing and passing plays combined at 291 for 1,847 yards in total offense. O’Brien became the first player to win the Heisman, Maxwell and Walter Camp trophies in the same season. New Yorkers were curious about the kid from Dallas. Perhaps thinking the wild west was still in effect in Texas, they gave O’Brien a stagecoach ride to City Hall to meet Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. A New York Times headline proclaimed “New York Honors Southwest Player.” Brown had a more turbulent visit in 1987. He became an early leader by returning two punts for touchdowns against Michigan State but finished with two bad games. Playing despite an injured shoulder, Brown had only 25 yards in total offense in a loss at Penn State and dropped three passes during a shutout loss to Miami. Brown joined Nebraska’s Johnny Rodgers as the only flanker-kick returners to win the Heisman. Brown averaged 13.6 yards per offensive play, but he handled the ball only 73 times as a runner and a receiver. Pittsburgh running back Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, who finished fifth, said Brown “won it in the off-season” because of the Notre Dame public-relations machine. Heyward also sneered at flankers overall, saying they “played hide and seek.”
Oklahoma’s Billy Sims (20) won the Heisman as a junior in 1978, but fell short to USC’s Charles White in ’79.
Sims versus White
Like Doak Walker, Oklahoma running back Billy Sims of Hooks, Texas, won the Heisman as a junior. A “Heisman moment” kept Sims from repeating. Sims and USC running back Charles White, who finished fourth a year earlier, began the 1979 season as co-favorites for the award. Sims’ chances ended in October. White used the platform of a nationally televised game against Notre Dame to pull away from the field. He had 44 runs for 261 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-23 victory at South Bend, Ind. White finished with 1,941 yards in total offense, 18 touchdowns and a Heisman. Sims had 1,548 yards in total offense, 22 touchdowns and finished second by 922 points. A year earlier, when he had 1,797 yards in total offense and 20 touchdowns, Sims beat White by 473 points. “Charles White had a great year,” Sims said after the 1979 vote. “I wasn’t disappointed at all. I was very thankful to win it my junior year. All the stars fell in line.”
File 1989/Staff photo
Houston quarterback Andre Ware threw for more than 4,500 yards in his Heisman season in 1989.
Ware was no passing fancy
This has become the state of quarterbacks. Johnny Manziel could become the fourth Heisman-winning quarterback out of a Texas high school in the last 24 years. The march began with Houston’s Andre Ware, out of Dickinson, in 1989. Ty Detmer of San Antonio Southwest, who played at Brigham Young, followed a year later. Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, from Copperas Cove, took the Heisman last season. In this period, seven other states have had Heisman-winning quarterbacks out of their high schools. California is second to Texas with three, followed by Georgia, Florida and Oklahoma with two. Minnesota, Nebraska and Ohio had one each. Ware was the trail-blazer. He wanted to play quarterback and turned down Texas, which planned on putting him in the secondary, in favor of Houston. Ware became the first black quarterback to win the Heisman. “This is the only way to do it,” Ware said during the award ceremony. “A lot of kids get stereotyped. It just shows there are a lot who are overlooked.” Ware performed in relative anonymity. No Houston game was televised in 1989 because the Cougars were on probation for infractions from a decade earlier. That could explain why Ware was not listed on 246 of the 743 ballots. Ware threw 46 touchdowns in 12 games. In truth, Ware played in the equivalent of 10 games. Houston coach Jack Pardee held him out of eight quarters because of overwhelming leads.
The Texas Heisman winners
Player Davey O’Brien Doak Walker John David Crow Earl Campbell Billy Sims Tim Brown Andre Ware Ty Detmer Ricky Williams Robert Griffin III Pos. QB RB RB RB RB WR QB QB RB QB Hometown Dallas Highland Park Springhill, La. Tyler Hooks Dallas Dickinson San Antonio San Diego Copperas Cove College TCU 1938 SMU 1948 Texas A&M 1957 Texas 1977 Oklahoma 1978 Notre Dame 1987 Houston 1989 Brigham Young 1990 Texas 1998 Baylor 2011 Comment Led Frogs to first undefeated season 3 interceptions to go with 17 TDs Limited to 7 games by injuries 11 consecutive 100-yard games Leading rusher at 160.1 yards per game Returned 3 punts for touchdowns Threw for 4,699 yards 300-plus yards passing in every game 200-plus yards rushing in 5 games Record 192.3 passer rating
Crow, Williams aren’t Texas-bred
Of the 10 Heisman winners from Texas universities, only two developed at an out-of-state high school: Texas A&M running back John David Crow and Texas running back Ricky Williams. Crow came out of Springhill, La., a lumber town on the Arkansas border. He picked A&M over Oklahoma and LSU because of a relationship with Aggies assistant coach Elmer Smith. He had coached Crow’s older brother, Ray, at Southern (Ark.) State College. Crow became the only Heisman winner in coach Bear Bryant’s career. In the Heisman season of 1957, Crow did not have eye-popping numbers. He ran for 562 yards, more than 100 fewer yards than Southwest Conference champion Jim Shofner of TCU. Crow’s strength was in his all-around ability. On offense, he also served as a receiver and a passer. He was a sure tackler at safety and a capable kick returner. Bryant had the school come up with a statistic to highlight Crow’s play: “Players Run Over.” “If John David doesn’t win the Heisman, they Williams, from San Diego Patrick Henry, was the best of the group. He turned down UCLA, which wanted him to play linebacker, USC and San Diego State. The attraction was Earl Campbell, the powerhouse runner from Tyler who became the Longhorns’ first Heisman winner in 1977. Upon arrival in Austin, Williams took on the nickname “Little Earl.” The inference was Williams would be the next Earl Campbell, the next Longhorn icon to win a Heisman. Williams finished fifth as a junior in 1997 and was a runaway winner as a senior. In that season, Williams ran for a career-high 2,124 yards to surpass Tony Dorsett as the NCAA’s all-time rushing leader. In April, UT unveiled a statue of Williams. It stands next to a statue of Campbell, on a plaza outside Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. “Having a statue is something I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams when I came here from San Diego,” Williams said when it was announced that he would get a statue.
File 1998/The Associated Press
Texas’ Ricky Williams finished fifth in the Heisman voting in 1997 but won big in ’98.
might as well quit presenting it,” Bryant said. As Texas coach from 1992-95, John Mackovic showed more interest in recruiting California than his home base. That dearly cost Mackovic in the long run but brought in talent from southern California.
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