By this point, it’s pretty obvious Cam Newton is going to win the Heisman trophy when the award is presented this Saturday night. The real question will be by how much will he separate himself from the other three finalists in the voting.
Oh yeah, and will Cecil Newton show up? That would be pretty juicy.
But here’s something to consider: Newton has been the subject of the hottest college football scandal of the year and fellow finalist LaMichael James was suspended for one game this season after physically abusing his ex-girlfriend. There’s a great possibility they’ll finish first and second, respectively.
It’s become abundantly clear that as long as you win, your character off the field matters little. I’m not saying Newton and James are bad people, but Newton has a history, and I have no tolerance for anyone who harms a woman.
Thankfully, not every award ceremony is as tainted.
Texas senior DE Sam Acho won the William V. Campbell Trophy this evening, given to the top senior scholar-athlete. It is considered the Heisman of academic awards.
In an official release, National Football Foundation Chairman Archie Manning said “Sam Acho and the 2010 National Scholar-Athlete Class represents all that is right about college football. They have balanced practice with difficult majors like mechanical engineering and biology. They’ve also taken their passion for helping others beyond their local communities, taking medical and mission trips overseas to help those less fortunate than themselves. They are prime role models for future generations of young men in this country.”
Acho was one of 16 finalists who, in their own right, all deserve to get recognized. They are:
* Sam Acho – DE, University of Texas
* Anthony Castonzo – OT, Boston College
* Ben Chappell – QB, Indiana University
* Alex Gross – LB, Columbia University
* Owen Marecic – FB/LB, Stanford University
* Greg McElroy – QB, University of Alabama
* Mike Mohamed – LB, University of California
* Travis Nissley – LB, Bucknell University
* Isaac Odim – RB, University of Minnesota Duluth
* Christian Ponder – QB, Florida State University
* Derek Sherrod – OT, Mississippi State University
* Nate Solder – OT, University of Colorado
* Chris Stewart – OG, University of Notre Dame
* Scott Tolzien – QB, University of Wisconsin
* Ben Wartman – HB, University of Saint Thomas (Minn.)
* Stefen Wisniewski – OG, Pennsylvania State University
While tonight’s award will in no way gather anywhere near the attention that of the Heisman Trophy, it’s still a chance to recognize those who represent what is good about college football: student-athletes who make a difference in their community and who will likely continue to be a positive influence on others.
They don’t steal laptops. They don’t beat up their girlfriend. They do go to class and they do their best to make the most of the opportunities given to them.
I get it. College football is in the business of winning and, more often than not, winning comes to those who bend — or blatantly break — the rules.
Cam Newton will win the Heisman this weekend. He’ll probably get drafted pretty high when he decides to go to the NFL, too. Hell, he might even be lucky enough to have a good career at the next level.
But the value those 16 finalists will have on their communities after football will be much greater than the value Newton will have on the NFL.
If you want to put a number on it, I’d be willing to bet it’s more than $200,000.