Heisman Watch: Why Andre Williams of Boston College deserves the trophy

Heisman Watch: Why Andre Williams of Boston College deserves the trophy

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Before the official pitch for Boston College’s Andre Williams to win the Heisman Trophy begins, a few words about the entire Heisman race phenomenon. No award in all of sports, and certainly in college sports, gets more hype than the Heisman, and probably for all the wrong reasons and in all the wrong ways. The trophy has strayed from its original intent: honoring the year’s “outstanding football player,” as its mission states. From there it’s been an on-going evolution that’s included:

  • Honoring the best offensive player
  • Honoring the best upperclassman offensive player
  • Honoring the best upperclassman offensive player on a championship-contending team
  • Honoring , the best upperclassman quarterback for a championship-contending team.

Dec. 10, 2011 - New York, NY, USA - The Heisman Trophy is on display onstage after quarterback Robert Griffin III of Baylor University holds a press conference after winning the award at The New York Marriott Marquis. (Credit Image: © Mark Makela/ZUMAPRESNow, the Heisman is a campaign that begins in the summer driven by schools’ massive PR campaigns and networks’ preseason “Heisman Watch List.”

Andre Williams was never part of this universe, not as a running back for a so-so BC team in a basketball conference (the ACC).

In his three previous seasons, he ran for a total of less than 1,600 yards. BC was 2-10 last year. None of which, of course, is supposed to matter when deciding who wins the Heisman for a particular year – but it means everything in August when you’re putting together a Watch List.

Of course, Johnny Manziel wasn’t on last year’s Watch List. Nor was Robert Griffin III the year before. Or Cam Newton the year before that. All they did was play great once the season actually began.

Just like Williams this season.  On Saturday, he became the 16th player ever to run for 2,000 yards in a season.

And in the process on Saturday, he had his Heisman moment, literally. You know the iconic Heisman pose? You know how Desmond Howard struck it at the end of his famous punt return in 1991?

Williams struck it in the middle of an actual run, using a poor Maryland tackler as a prop. The pure stiff-arm that the Heisman Trophy made famous.

All Williams is missing is a leather helmet.

If there is justice in college football, and if the Heisman’s original mission still means anything, next month he won’t lack the trophy he deserves.