The first Heismandment is a very important one. It stipulates that the winner of the Heisman must be a quarterback, a running back or a multi-threat athlete.
This is key because every year you will see preseason Heisman lists that include defensive ends, tight ends, offensive linemen, cornerbacks or linebackers on them. A random columnist might whisper “Is this the year a center wins the award?” This kind of talk is merely fodder for a writer who doesn’t have much to write about.
The sad fact is that the Heisman DOES discriminate. The best player in the country may WELL be a tight end. But the award is handed out by a select group of voters and they have without fail awarded the trophy to a quarterback, a running back or a multi-threat athlete.
One good example of the propensity to put non-candidates on the list was ESPN’s 2004 pre Heisman watch list. It included, among the legitimate candidates, Georgia defensive end David Pollack and LSU cornerback Corey Webster.
I’m sorry, but David Pollack should never have been on that list. Besides the fact that he was not even be the best defensive lineman in the country, much less a Heisman candidate, it did him a disservice to be on there since he had zero chance of actually winning. Hugh Green, the great end from Pitt, finished second in the voting in 1980. Pollack was no Hugh Green.
Webster’s chances to win the Heisman, as a cornerback who didn’t also return punts and kicks or play some snaps on offense, were about as good as our chances to win a Pulitzer.
There is an award for defensive ends. It’s called the Hendricks Award. There is an award for defensive backs. It’s called the Thorpe. Both Webster and Pollack made fine candidates–for those two awards, NOT the Heisman.