Robert Griffin III Wins The 2011 Heisman
2011 Heisman Winner, Robert Griffin III
In a year of awful stories, RGIII is a bright spot for college football.
Robert Griffin III Wins
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Mark Ingram Wins Bama's First Heisman
Sam Bradford Wins A Nailbiter
Tim Tebow Becomes 1st Sophomore To Win
Troy Smith Wins In A Landslide
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2011 Heisman Finish
1. Robert Griffin, BU 1,687
2. Andrew Luck, St. 1,407
3. T. Richardson, Al 978
4. Montee Ball, UW, 348
5. Ty Mathieu, LSU 327
6. Matt Barkley, USC 153
7. Case Keenum, UH 123
8. Kellen Moore, BSU 90
There might not have been a Cam Newton-like no-brainer Heisman choice this season, but there were a whole bunch of great options to choose from. In the end, Baylor junior quarterback Robert Griffin III turned out to be the best of all the options.
In a strange way, it could be argued that Griffin wasn’t even the second-best quarterback in his own conference this season – Collin Klein did more with less at Kansas State, Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden led his team to the cusp of a national title, and both beat Griffin – but no player in college football managed to combine all his skills and all the positives that make up what the Heisman Trophy is all about better than the Baylor star.
Ultra-consistent, like Wisconsin’s Montee Ball, Griffin threw for 250 yards or more in every game but two. He was knocked out of the Texas Tech game, and he ran for 107 yards and a score in the blowout win over Iowa State. Like Ball, who was an afterthought in last year’s offense but rallied from adversity, Griffin showed he could improve off a disaster, changing his game up a bit after suffering a knee injury two years ago.
Timely, like LSU’s Tyrann Mathieu, Griffin’s classic, Heisman-sealing drive in the final moments shocked Oklahoma and changed around the 2011 season on a national scale. His performance in the season-opener against TCU – completing 21-of-27 passes for 359 yards and five scores, while running for 38 yards, wasn’t bad, either.
A physical freak of nature, like Alabama’s Trent Richardson, Griffin might be the fastest quarterback in college football and is certainly among the most athletic. While his 644 rushing yards and nine scores might seem pedestrian compared to the top running quarterbacks, Griffin used his speed when he had to. Great at utilizing all the weapons around him, he managed to come up with explosive plays by making the right decisions needed to put everyone around him in a position to succeed. But when it was time to make something happen, his pure athletic skill took over.
And like Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Griffin is as smart off the field as he is on it. Extremely thoughtful, he has proven to be a perfect ambassador for Baylor as well as for all of college football. He’s what programs dream about when it comes to a leader and a face for a program with just the right mix of confidence, swagger, and self-promotion, to go along with the ability to make it about the team as well as himself.
But this year, Robert Griffin III won the Heisman because he was spectacular.
Griffin led the nation in passing efficiency with one of the greatest passing seasons of all-time, finishing with a 192.31 rating averaging an unheard of 10.83 yards per attempt hitting 72% of his passes for 3,998 yards and 36 touchdowns and six picks. By comparison, Boise State’s Kellen Moore led the nation last year with a 182.63 rating – Cam Newton was second at 182.05 – and Tim Tebow was the 2009 leader with a 164.17 rating.
This was a special season from a special player.
After all the
ugliness of the
the Penn State
is what’s good
Terrific job, Heisman committee. You nailed one of the most difficult votes in years.
This competition could have gone in a very different direction. Trent Richardson, Andrew Luck, Montee Ball and Tyrann Mathieu would all have been good choices. Robert Griffin III, however, was the best one. College football pined in November for a dance partner to LSU in the chase for the national championship. It never happened, as the ranks of the unbeaten completely disappeared.
The result? We’ll have a rematch a month from now. The game also yearned for someone to step up and capture the Heisman Trophy, which seemed to be the domain of Luck and Richardson for the longest time. No one, not even Mathieu, did just that better than RG3.
Griffin’s candidacy had it all this year, from the gaudy numbers and signature late-season moments to the elevation of a program that wins nine games about once every generation. Fortunately, the memorable moments resonated with the voters; engineering an incredible fourth-quarter comeback over Kansas, the epic last-minute touchdown pass to Terrance Williams to upset Oklahoma and the regular season-ending, historic blowout of Texas. While the Lucks and the Richardsons of the competition were their usual fantastic selves in 2011, RG3 actually raised the bar to a higher level … to a Heisman level.
The Heisman is earmarked for college football’s most outstanding player. This year, the Downtown Athletic Club also honored one of the game’s most outstanding people .
In yet another cycle that brimmed with disturbing off-field news and unsavory characters, Griffin has provided a reminder why so many of us gravitate to college football in the first place. Phenomenal all-around playmaker, yes, but he also earned his degree in Waco in three years, and is a member of the AFCA Good Works Team for his volunteer work with Friends for Life, a Waco daycare for mentally-challenged adults and teens, and One Book One Waco, a community-wide reading program that encourages the pursuit of literacy.
Maybe it wasn’t the intent of the voters to champion an outstanding young man, who just happens to be an elite amateur athlete.
Count me as one individual who’s pleased it happened to turn out that way.
Harrison: What will happen in the Heisman world now?
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
Another Heisman ceremony in the books, and this time around we have a school with its first member in Baylor’s Robert Griffin III. There’s always the fallout after the award and the antithesis of who should have won, and of course the bias from certain media members and parts of the country.
So what happens now?
Sure there will be some playing Monday morning quarterback, but this year the Heisman Trust seems to have gotten it right. Could this be the year that the usual mode is broken, and the player that deserved it actually won? Robert Griffin was certainly a worthy candidate, but how did we get here?
It would have been easy to give the award to the best player on one of the best teams again. Certainly if Trent Richardson or or Honey Badger would have won, there would have been the usual second guessing, but everyone would have gotten over it and moved on once one of the two teams waltzed away with the crystal trophy.
If everyone’s pre-season favorite, and poster boy quarterback Andrew Luck would have been handed the bronze statue, it would have been another case of the stereotypical QB on a very good team carrying the momentum from being the favorite right through to the end. There would have been questions, but in the end, they would have been stiff-armed by what felt right.
But now this feels right, and not only did RG3 win the Heisman, he carried the vote in the heart of SEC country as well. Nobody can really know who is the absolute best player in the country, but Griffin III has won despite being on a Baylor team without the pedigree, without the massive wins, and without the one defining moment. He simply flat out won, because he should have with dynamic play, leadership, and freakish athleticism.
This time around, instead of hearing piercing murmurs, second guessing, and tales of wrongdoing, you’ll likely hear nothing buy collective applause for the man in the superman socks and humble attitude.
That is--until one of the other Heisman finalists leads his team to a national championship on prime-time television. Then, let the second guessing begin.
By Terry Johnson
Please follow me on Twitter @TPJCollFootball
Unlike other decisions this year, the voters got it right this time.
The Heisman Trophy went to the nation’s most outstanding player for 2011, as Baylor QB Robert Griffin III won college football’s most coveted trophy.
In recent seasons, the voters tended to vote for the best offensive player on the highest ranked team. While several entities had projected Griffin as the winner, the prevailing conventional wisdom held that since Baylor had three losses, he had little chance to win.
However, Griffin’s play this season forced the voters to take a long look at his entire body of work. Griffin led the nation in passing efficiency and ranked second in total offense. He threw for 3,998 yards, rushed for 644 more, and had an amazing 36 TDs against only 6 interceptions.
Of course there is more to Griffin than just statistics. He engineered two critical fourth quarter scoring drives to defeat TCU and Oklahoma. In addition, Griffin’s late-game heroics enabled the Bears to finish the season on a 5-game winning streak, which vaulted them to 12th in the final BCS Standings. More impressively, his leadership and field presence led Baylor to its first 9-win season since 1986.
That last fact alone speaks volumes about exactly how outstanding Griffin’s performance was this season.
Now that Griffin has hoisted the trophy, perhaps the trend of giving the award to the best offensive player on the best team will cease. Several schools, most notably USC with Matt Barkley, failed to promoted their players for the Heisman Trophy this season, thinking that the team would have to be national title contender in order for their guy to win the award. Griffin’s coronation should change that going forward.
Regardless of whether Griffin’s win opens up the race in future seasons, it does present one of the most important questions for the 2012 season.
Will Robert Griffin III return next season to become only the second man in history to win the Heisman Trophy in back-to-back seasons?