While Vince Young didn’t win the Heisman Trophy in 2005, he did finish second–and by all accounts was the popular revisionist choice following his incredible performance against USC in that year’s BCS title game.
But Young’s ’05 campaign was kicked off by his heroics against Michigan in the 2005 Rose Bowl following the 2004 season. His deadly run-pass combination against the Wolverines signaled what was to come in ’05 and showed that he had matured as a player and leader.
While his stats weren’t quite as impressive, we might be seeing the same transformation happening with Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor.
Like Young, he led his team to a Rose Bowl win as a sophomore (albeit a second-year one–Young had the benfit of a redshirt season), crushing the will of his opponent through the air and on the ground. Pryor threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns on 23 of 37 passing and he added another 72 yards rushing, with many of those yards of the back-breaking variety. And he did it all on a partially torn knee ligament.
Bowl season often serves as a harbinger of things to come. Without a doubt, Pryor’s Rose Bowl MVP performance puts him on the short list of 2010 Heisman contenders.