September 16, 2009

Forcier may be next freshman in Heisman debate

VOTE: Tell us who you would vote for this week

In the nearly 75-year history of the Heisman Trophy, a freshman never has won - though Georgia's Herschel Walker in 1980 and Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson in 2004 were deserving candidates.

Freshmen seem to be the only group excluded from the exclusive award. Yet after last week, the question has to be asked: Could the final frontier be conquered by Forcier?

Michigan freshman quarterback Tate Forcier was absolutely remarkable in leading the Wolverines to a 38-34 upset of Notre Dame. He passed for 240 yards and rushed for 70 while accounting for three touchdowns, including the game-winner in the waning seconds after he weaved through the Irish rush and found Greg Mathews for a 5-yard touchdown pass.

"Everybody kept saying a freshman can't do it," Forcier said after the game. "And I did it."

History says a freshman can't win the Heisman. Perhaps Forcier can prove that wrong, too. Still, freshmen can be frustratingly inconsistent, so Forcier figures to have some struggles, too. Besides, several players had amazing performances a week ago that should earn them inclusion in the Heisman race.

West Virginia quarterback Jarrett Brown has passed for 577 yards and four touchdowns. Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd is averaging more than 29 yards on 11 catches. Purdue running back Ralph Bolden leads the nation with 357 rushing yards. Cincinnati wide receiver Mardy Gilyard already has scored touchdowns via a reception, a run and a return.

Capturing the Heisman requires consistent excellence throughout of the season. Therefore, the leading candidates remain players who have proven themselves over the long haul. And none are freshmen.

Olin Buchanan is the senior college football writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at olin@rivals.com.




 

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