Before I launch into my Heisman Trophy hopeful nominee, here’s an indictment of the whole “whittle down the Heisman list in August” movement, despite the fact that we here at TSD are proudly contributing to the problem.
When I was younger I used to think the Heisman Trophy was truly the award for the best player in college football. As I’ve gotten older, the award seems to have morphed into the trophy generally given to the best player who was on national TV a lot, had a highlight reel play, and was mercilessly promoted by ESPN’s studio personnel. Given all that, if I’m going to add to the commentary and noise surrounding a trophy awarded four months from now, I’m going to submit a deserving underdog candidate to all of our loyal readers.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce Noel Devine, senior running back from West Virginia University.
Serious college football fans are aware of Devine’s talent, but he has yet to achieve national notoriety despite his aggressive, highlight-creating running style and speed. Part of this may be intentional on Devine’s part given the distinct lack of publicity surrounding his recruitment. While recruiting analysts waxed poetic about his talents and a wide variety of YouTube videos displayed his jaw-dropping abilities for the denizens, Devine and those around him were generally people of few (or no) words. In my view, this is refreshing given the publicity hounds that seem to populate the high school football recruiting world. Unfortunately, this lack of self-promotion makes it difficult to mount a Heisman campaign. That is why I would like to help him out. I’m sure that the power of this post will be worth dozens of Heisman votes when all is said and done, in the same way that I would handily defeat Mr. Devine in a foot race. Hey, maybe I’ll at least win the poll for this debate!
Now that I’ve given you the personal reasons why I think he should win, let’s get to his statistics. His statistics alone make him deserving of a trip to New York this December. First, Devine had a dazzling 2009 season that largely flew under the radar. He rushed for 1,465 yards on 241 carries, an average of 6.1 yards per carry. He also racked up 13 touchdowns on the ground. Beyond his notable rushing production, Devine took care of the football. He did not lose a fumble during the 2009 season despite those 241 carries. In fact, Devine has not lost a fumble during this three-year career at West Virginia. Noel, I hope I didn’t jinx you for this year by mentioning that statistic!
The good news for Devine is that there are high hopes for the Mountaineers this season. If they achieve the predicted level of success there will be plenty of national opportunities for Devine to make his case to the Heisman voters. Additionally, he is expected to be the featured component of the customarily potent West Virginia offense.
If Devine stays healthy this season I sincerely hope the voters recognize a player who lets his production do his talking rather than his sideline antics or his grace in front of the cameras. If that is the case, no couch may be safe in Morgantown this December.