Heisman Caliber

Nov. 20, 2010, 1:40 a.m.

Luck capable of winning prestigious trophy

The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding college football player, and, for the second year in a row, a Stanford player is among the top contenders. Redshirt sophomore Andrew Luck is one of the nation’s top quarterbacks, and while his performance this season has made him eligible for college football’s most esteemed prize, his competition is fierce.

Heisman Caliber
(SIMON WARBY/The Stanford Daily)

Luck, quarterback of the No. 6 Stanford football team, is definitely in the race to win the Heisman. However, according to football analysts, the road ahead is steep. Over the course of the 2010 season, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore and Oregon tailback LaMichael James have distinguished themselves and are currently the leading candidates for the Heisman.

“You have the top three, and (Luck) is probably at the top of the second tier,” said Chris Huston on his website, HeismanPundit.com.

Stats play a major role in determining the skill of a player, and, though Luck’s stats are impressive, they are not phenomenal. Luck has thrown 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions on the season, but he is in fourth place because his numbers lack the “wow” effect.

Currently at the top of the Heisman trophy race is Newton, the leader of No. 2 Auburn. At 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, Newton is arguably the most talented and dangerous player in college football, although allegations of impropriety during his recruitment out of junior college may take him out of the running. For now, he remains the leader of the pack.

Also atop the Heisman race are James and Moore. James is the nation’s leading rusher and an explosive tailback for top-ranked Oregon. Moore, the top-rated passer in the country and the leader of No. 4 Boise State, has gained great recognition for his precision and poise on the playing field.

But Luck’s contribution to the Stanford football team is just as noteworthy. Leading the Cardinal to a record of 17-5 in games he has started over the past two years, Luck is the main reason for his team’s success. Luck, without the help of star player and former Stanford running back Toby Gerhart, has led Stanford to its best start and highest ranking in almost half a century.

“None of this is happening without Andrew Luck,” said head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Making the jump to the first tier is not impossible. If Stanford wins its final two games and Luck plays his best football, then the opportunity to bring home the Heisman would appear tangible. He is in a tough position and will have to deliver flawless and remarkable performances over the next two weeks in order to contend for the Heisman Trophy, but the undertaking is doable.

“He’s not having the most Heisman-worthy season statistically,” ESPN analyst Rece Davis told ESPN.com. “But, that doesn’t change my belief that he’s the most complete quarterback in college football.”

Andrew Luck deserves accolades for his achievements this season. His chance of winning the Heisman Trophy is slim, but he is certainly worthy of remaining in the conversation for college football’s most prestigious award.

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