Tag Archives | Mark Ingram

Heismandment No. 9 Strikes, Mark Ingram Out With Injury

Just as it did for Sam Bradford last year, and just as it has for every other returning Heisman winner–save one–for the past 76 years, Heismandment No. 9 has once again exacted its tribute.

Alabama will be without Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram for Saturday’s opener against San Jose State, and probably longer, after he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee Tuesday morning.

His return for the Penn State game looks to be unlikely.

This just illustrates how difficult it is to have consecutive healthy, productive and Heisman-worthy seasons, especially when you are a work-horse back like Ingram.

I don’t doubt that he will come back to put up some good production this year–Ingram’s a warrior with a big heart, after all.  But we can pretty much count him out for the Heisman in 2010 which, of course, is what I have written all along (to the consternation of so many of you).

In the meantime, here’s hoping his recovery goes well and he’s back out on the field soon.

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Ingram and the Second Heisman

Here’s a good story by the AP looking at Mark Ingram and the difficulties he’ll have as he tries to win a second Heisman.

“The thing that you face is you’re everyone’s target when line up on Saturday,” said Ware, who left Houston for the NFL after winning the Heisman as a junior in 1989. “Everyone wants to say, ‘I hit the Heisman Trophy winner.’ You become everyone’s claim to fame so to speak. So every weekend, because last year’s Heisman winner plays for Alabama, it’s ammunition enough but when you’ve got the Heisman winner on your team, everyone wants that shot to say that they beat the Heisman winner.”

Check it out.

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Top 10 Running Backs for 2010

HP’s preview of the 2010 season continues with a look at the top 10 running backs.  See the top 10 receivers here and the top 10 tight ends here.

1. Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech–It looks to me like Williams is the complete package.  He’s got size, speed, vision, toughness and a nose for the end zone.  He put up 1,655 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Hokies as a 2009 redshirt freshman.  He also caught 16 passes, including one for a score.  He played very well against good competition–71 yards, 5.5 ypc and 2 TDs in his debut vs. Alabama, 107 yards against Nebraska–and I expect him to keep improving in 2010 and possibly become a Heisman candidate.  I think there is a wide gap between him and teammate Darren Evans (talent-wise), so I do not expect for him to lose much in the way of production due to sharing carries.

2. Noel Devine, West Virginia–The most electrifying back in college football, the smurf-like Devine used his amazing speed and cutting ability to notch 1,465 yards and 13 scores on the ground in 2009.  He also caught 22 passes, including one touchdown reception.  His coach has expressed a desire to get him more carries as a senior and I think this will result in a monster season.  His only weakness is a lack of real power–he goes down fairly easily most of the time–but he’s in a perfect system to highlight his superb abilities in space.  Outside of Florida’s Jeff Demps, he might have the best breakaway speed of any back out there.

3. Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State–The diminutive Rodgers can do it all.  He piled up 1,440 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground last year, while also catching 78 passes for 522 yards and a score.  Oh, and he threw a touchdown pass, too.  He’s a legitimate Heisman candidate who is primed to break a bunch of Pac-10 records before he’s through with his career.  Not a burner, but as consistent and versatile as they come and a relentless competitor.

4. Donald Buckram, UTEP–A top-notch talent stuck on a bad team, Buckram has great speed to go with outstanding vision.  If he were on a major power, he’d be a Heisman candidate.  Last year, he rushed for 1,594 yards and 18 touchdowns and added another three scores on 30 catches for 453 yards.  Look for bigger and better in 2010.

5. Daniel Thomas, Kansas State–Not many people know about this guy, but I don’t think that will be the case after the 2010 season.  Thomas is perhaps the nation’s premier power back, but he’s not just a bulldozer out there as he is also fairly athletic and skilled.  Last year was his first year playing tailback and he responded with 1,265 yards and 11 touchdowns while also catching 25 balls.  He is really, really tough to bring down.  I predict a huge senior season for him and a bright NFL future.

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Could Ingram Be The First Heisman Winner to Fade into Obscurity While Still in School?

We’re knee-deep in a new Heisman age, with the last three winners coming from the sophomore class.

From the current vantage point, it appears the first two–Tim Tebow and Sam Bradford–stand a bit apart (categorically) from the most recent winner, Mark Ingram of Alabama.

Here’s why: Both Tebow and Bradford won the Heisman relatively comfortably while putting up earth-shattering statistics from the quarterback position.  Ingram, however, took home the trophy in the closest race in Heisman history while producing very good, though not ground-breaking, numbers as a running back.  Neither Tebow nor Bradford shared significant playing time with their backups, as Ingram did with true freshman Trent Richardson (145 carries, 751 yards, 8 TDS).  The result was that at no time during their Heisman-winning seasons was an observer able to credibly suppose that their backups might at least be comparable in talent, as was the case when watching Ingram and Richardson perform.  Obviously, this comparison was possible due to the different natures of the quarterback and running back positions.  Star signal callers rarely come out of a game when it matters, while even the best running backs need a breather once in a while.  As a result, we were able to see a top recruit like Richardson acquit himself quite well in several games.

We are all familiar with past Heisman winners who have flopped or fallen off the map post-college on their way to becoming the butt of jokes.  But Ingram’s situation raises the possibility that he could be the first Heisman winner to dramatically decline in productivity and status while still in school.  Not because of anything he will have done wrong, but because the guy emerging behind him is really talented and might be given a fair shot at being just as productive (if not more so).

Obviously, this is not a fait accompli.  A lot could happen in the next two years.  Ingram could keep improving and build upon his outstanding sophomore season with two more excellent efforts and go down as one of the more prolific backs of the last two decades.  Heck, maybe he’ll win two Heismans. 

But no other returning Heisman winner–much less one with two years remaining in his career–has ever had his primacy challenged to the degree that Ingram has by Richardson.   Increasingly, it looks like the two are operating as a tandem, with neither holding the upper hand in the carry department. 

If Ingram finishes his career in a steady-though-not-spectacular fashion due to the emergence of Richardson, we might have a hard time remembering that he won the Heisman in the first place.  Especially if Richardson wins the Heisman in his own right.

It’s not a bad problem for Alabama to have.  If Ingram keeps getting better and rises to the challenge, then he could be a factor in Heisman races to come.  But if Richardson fulfills his promise, he’ll also be smack-dab in that same conversation.  Or, both could end up being major stars and Heisman candidates, churning out thousands of yards between them, a la LenDale White and Reggie Bush at USC.  Again, not a bad problem for the Tide.

So I think the answer to the question of this post’s title is:  Not probable, but certainly an interesting possibility. 

Will Trent Richardson spoil Mark Ingram’s Heisman image?

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Mark Ingram, 2009 Heisman Winner

Ingram Heisman

In the closest race in Heisman history, Mark Ingram, sophomore running back from Alabama, has won the 2009 Heisman Trophy.

Ingram edged Stanford’s Toby Gerhart by just 28 total points, 1,304 to 1,276.   He’s the first Crimson Tide player–and the third-straight sophomore–to win the the trophy.

“I’m a little overwhelmed right now,” said Ingram upon receiving the award.  “I’m honored to be Alabama’s first Heisman winner.”

Ingram won four of the six Heisman regions:  the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic, the South and the Midwest (where he was born).  Gerhart won the West, while Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh won the Southwest.

Stay tuned to HeismanPundit.com for more coverage from the 2009 Heisman ceremony.

Final Order of Finish, with total points

1. Mark Ingram, 1,304 points

2. Toby Gerhart, 1,276 points

3. Colt McCoy, 1,145 points

4. Ndamukong Suh, 815 points

5. Tim Tebow, 390 points

6. C.J. Spiller, 223 points

7. Kellen Moore, 100 points

8. Case Keenum, 37 points

9. Mardy Gilyard, 23 points

10. Golden Tate, 21 points

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Heisman Eve with Mark Ingram

We caught up with Mark Ingram on Friday afternoon in New York City:

ingram presser

On the whole Heisman experience:

“It’s been really fun, really exciting, getting to know the guys, spending time with them and developing relationships.  We talked a little bit about the upcoming games, but we mostly just were trying to get to know each other and learn about each other.

“It hasn’t really hit me that I’m a Heisman Trophy finalist.  It’ll probably hit me pretty hard tomorrow.  Right now I’m just enjoying the time, enjoying being around the guys. 

“I think every football player dreams of winning the Heisman when they’re younger.  The fact that this is a reality right now is just overwhelming .

On his father, Mark Ingram, Sr., who is serving time in prison for money laundering

“My dad’s sharing this with me.  He’s here in spirit.  I love my dad to death and he loves me, too.  He’s here in my heart and that’s all that matters.

On his competition

“All the candidates have helped their team and all of  them are deserving of the award.  It’s an honor to be mentioned in the same breath as them. 

On what it means to possibly become Alabama’s first Heisman winner

“It’d be really special, really important to represent my family, my friends, my teammates and all of the Alabama family.  To bring them back the Heisman would be special and important.

“It’s kind of crazy to me that no Alabama player has ever won the Heisman. 

What he’s looking forward to on Saturday

“I’m excited to meet all the winners.  It’s incredible that I have a chance to share this with them.  I’m really looking forward to meeting all of them.

On whether he wrote an acceptance speech yet

“Nah.  I might jot some stuff down just in case, but I don’t have anything yet. 

On whether he sees himself as the frontrunner

“I think it’s a coin toss.  Some say I’m going to win.  It’s going to be really close.  I’ll be supporting of whoever wins.  I’m just really excited and honored to be here.”

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The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll–Final Call!

drudge siren

The final HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll of the season is in and Alabama running back Mark Ingram is the leader following his 113-yard rushing performance against No. 1 Florida in the SEC title game.

Ingram grabbed four first-place votes and totaled 46 points to retake the top spot back from Texas quarterback Colt McCoy.

“I moved Ingram to the top of my ballot around mid-season, and nothing has made me change my mind,” said one voter. “What he did Saturday against a quality Florida defense was my final validation.”

The vote by the weekly panel of 13 Heisman voters was hardly a slam dunk for the sophomore running back, however, and the race appears to be very muddled going into Saturday’s Heisman ceremony.  Stanford’s Toby Gerhart (43 points, 2 first-place votes), Texas’ McCoy (36 points, 1 first-place vote) and Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh (36 points, 4 first-place votes) all garnered significant support.  A total of six different players received first-place votes, tying the poll’s season high.

Voter commentary reflected the split:

“It’s long past time Heisman voters abandon their traditional, restrictive criteria and award the “most outstanding player,” regardless of position. Suh was hands down the most dominant player in the country on either side of the ball, and his performance in the Big 12 title game firmly solidified his stature. ”

“C.J. Spiller may be more exciting and Toby Gerhart more punishing, but no running back has been more effective against a tougher schedule than Ingram.”

“Golden Tate is as outstanding as he is underrated. Why he isn’t getting more Heisman love is beyond me.  He should not be penalized because his team stunk.”

“Toby Gerhart was consistently excellent this season. He never had a bad game. Stanford’s four losses or his lack of playing on the final weekend should not be held against him.”

Since ultimately you can’t take a cash advance to buy more votes, some sort of history is sure to be made on Saturday.  Ingram could become Alabama’s first Heisman winner or runner up, while McCoy could become the first Heisman runner up to come back and win the award since Herschel Walker did it in 1982.  Meanwhile, Gerhart would be the first non-USC winner from the Pac-10 since 1970 and Suh would be the first pure defensive player to win.

About the Poll
The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll is made up of 13 Heisman voters from across the country. They vote for five players each week. Tabulations are made on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis, with five points awarded for a first-place vote, four points for a second-place vote and so on.  Last year’s final Heismanpundit poll was the most accurate in the country, picking five of the top six finishers in the Heisman vote, including the winner.

Members of the panel include: Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, Teddy Greenstein and Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune, Olin Buchanan and Tom Dienhart of Rivals.com, Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman, Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com, J.B. Morris of ESPN the Magazine, Austin Murphy, B.J. Schecter and Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated, plus Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News.

Chris Huston of HeismanPundit.com coordinates and also votes in the poll.

The Final HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll, 12/7/09
Total points, with first place votes in parantheses

1. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama–46 (4)

2. Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford–43 (2)

3. Colt McCoy, QB, Texas–36 (1)

    Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska–36 (4)

5. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State–11 (1)

6. Tim Tebow, QB, Florida–7

    C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson–7

8. Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame–5 (1)

9. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon–2

10. Case Keenum, QB, Houston–1

     Jeremiah Masoli, QB, Oregon–1

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