2011 Heisman Finalists Announced

The finalists for the 2011 Heisman Trophy ceremony were just announced and here they are, as announced by 1995 winner Eddie George on ESPN:

Robert Griffin III

Andrew Luck

Trent Richardson

Montee Ball

Tyrann Mathieu

I’m surprised there are five finalists this year and especially by the inclusion of Tyrann Mathieu. I think when the vote is revealed, both Ball and Mathieu will be well behind the other three, but sometimes the Heisman Trust likes to spice thing up a bit at the ceremony. What better way to do so than to include a guy with the best nickname in college football?  And the fact he is playing in the BCS title game doesn’t hurt either.

It’s just the third time in the last 21 years that five finalists have been invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony.

I’ll have full thoughts on this and my final call for the race on Tuesday morning, but here is the official press release from the Heisman Trust below:

New York, New York – December 5, 2011 – On behalf of the Heisman Trophy Trust, 1995 Heisman Trophy Winner Eddie George announced this evening the finalists for the 77th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy on ESPN’s 6pm EST edition of SportsCenter.  The five finalists for this year’s award are University of Wisconsin running back Montee Ball, Baylor University quarterback Robert Griffin III, Stanford University quarterback Andrew Luck, Louisiana State University cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, and University of Alabama running back Trent Richardson.

All five finalists will be invited to New York for the live Heisman Trophy announcement this Saturday, December 10, which will air on ESPN at 8pm EST presented by Nissan North America.

For the fourth straight year, two Heisman finalists will face each other in the BCS National Championship Game as Tyrann Mathieu will go up against Trent Richardson on January 9, 2012.

Montee Ball is leading the nation with 1,759 rushing yards as well as 32 rushing touchdowns for Wisconsin.  He holds second place all-time at UW with 60 career touchdowns and 54 career rushing touchdowns.  He has the opportunity to join two other Badgers in this elite fraternity: Ron Dayne (1999) and Alan Ameche (1954).

Robert Griffin III has the opportunity to be the first player from Baylor to receive The Heisman Memorial Trophy. The junior quarterback is ranked second in the nation in total offense with 387 yards per game.  This season he threw 36 touchdowns and passed for 3,998 yards.  Griffin and former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow are two of four players in major college history with at least 9,000 yards passing and 2,000 yards rushing in a career.

Andrew Luck is looking to be the second Cardinal to take home The Heisman Trophy after Jim Plunkett won in 1970.  The red-shirt junior passed for 3,170 yards and 35 touchdowns this season.  Luck leads the Pac-12 in passing efficiency with 167.5 and broke Stanford’s records for career touchdown passes and single-season touchdown passes.  While leading the Cardinals to an 11-1 record, he rushed for 153 yards and scored 2 touchdowns.

Tyrann Mathieu is looking to be the second LSU Tiger to win The Heisman Memorial Trophy after Billy Cannon won in 1959. The sophomore had 71 tackles, 5 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions this year.  He also gained 420 yards and 2 touchdowns in punt returns during LSU’s 13-0 season.  If Mathieu wins, he will be the second cornerback to be inducted into this group of outstanding college football players joining Charles Woodson (1997).

Trent Richardson rushed for 1,583 yards and had 20 touchdowns this season for Alabama.  In nine of his twelve games, the running back rushed for over 100 yards for the 11-1 Crimson Tide.  If awarded the Heisman, Richardson will only be the second player from Alabama to receive the trophy after 2009 winner, Mark Ingram, Jr.

“Prevailing out of one of the deepest and most highly contested fields in recent history, we would like to congratulate this year’s Heisman finalists for their outstanding season,” said Robert Whalen,Executive Director of the Heisman Trophy Trust. “We look forward to December 10, when the winner is announced.”

The Heisman Trophy is given to the most outstanding college football player in the United States. The voters include 870 media representatives from six regions across the country, every living Heisman winner, and one overall fan vote through a partnership with Nissan North America.

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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2 Responses to 2011 Heisman Finalists Announced

  1. DJ Drummond December 5, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    Wish it was Saturday, hate to wait!

  2. OskarsDrum December 6, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    It should be Ball, Griffin, or Mathieu. There is NO good argument for Richardson or Luck, and I think it would be ridiculous if either of them win it. Alabama has not faced meaningfully tougher defenses this year by any means. Of course, people make that argument and then when that is proven to be completely illusory they then say, ‘well Richardson is the featured member of that offense, so defenses concentrate on him more.’ Of course the flip side, that the offense is built around Richardson and that he doesn’t have to share offensive opportunities with an all-star quarterback’s abilities is ignored. When your stats are that much lower, and you aren’t knocking on the door of Barry Sander’s record, which NO ONE has come close to before, why should you win the Heisman? It makes no sense.

    As for Luck, it’s simply stupid to give the award to a hyped-up player because he didn’t drastically fail to meet expectations this year. He played decent for Luck—which is extremely good—but that is it. If no other quarterback had outplayed him this year, I’d still say don’t give it to him, other players have excelled at their position in a much more impressive way than he has. Let the NFL scouts and the draft decide who is a future star, and leave the Heisman to college players who were extraordinary this year. Like RG3. I mean seriously, this guy is off the charts and doing fascinating things at the position of quarterback.

    And what Mathieu has done this year is unbelievable as well. It is so hard to compare that to quarterbacks and running backs, and its hard to know what to do with that. It seems so clear to me that Ball and RG3 are better than TR and Luck, but between the two of them and Mathieu, I don’t know. I REALLY hope it’s one of those three though. TR and Luck had wonderful years—just like many other players in college football. They did not have Heisman years and there is no way around it.