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12-09-07, 09:45 AM #1
Florida sophomore quarterback Tim Tebow wins the Heisman Trophy
Florida sophomore quarterback Tim Tebow was the recipient of the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, making history for the second time in his second season.
Already the first player in NCAA history to reach 20 touchdowns rushing and 20 passing in the same season, Tebow became the first sophomore to win college football's highest individual honor.
"A lot of great players had great seasons as freshmen and sophomores," Tebow said after thanking his teammates, coaches, high school coaches and family members. "It's an honor to be the first to accomplish that."
Tebow received 462 first-place votes and 1,957 total points. Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden finished second for the second season in a row; he received 291 first-place votes and 1,702 points.
Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan received 54 first-place votes and 632 points to finish third, and Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel was fourth with 25 first-place votes and 425 points.
Tebow is the third Florida quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy, joining Steve Spurrier and Danny Wuerffel. He's also the first Southeastern Conference player to win the Heisman since Wuerffel in 1996.
"That means a lot," Tebow said. "When I was young, my family was looking for a good role model and we found Danny Wuerffel. He was a great role model for me and I thank for him that."
Tebow, primarily a runner in a backup role on the Gators' 2006 national-championship team, entered his first season as a starter facing doubts about his passing prowess. He more than proved himself in that area by completing 68.5 percent of his attempts for 3,132 yards and 29 touchdowns with just six interceptions in leading the Gators to a 9-3 record.
He also re-established himself as a tremendous running threat by rushing for a team-leading 838 yards with 22 touchdowns.
Detractors said his touchdown total was deceiving because 16 of his rushing scores came on runs that covered 5 yards or less and there was some question about whether he should win the trophy because he's a sophomore.
But any doubts based on Tebow's classification were, well, sophomoric, and makes as much sense as Georgia running back Herschel Walker being denied the 1980 Heisman mainly because he was a freshman. Walker, who rushed for more than 1,600 yards and led the Bulldogs to the national championship that year, finished third in the voting.
Tebow accounted for at least two touchdowns (rushing and/or passing) in every game this season and accounted for at least four scores in nine games, including seven (five rushing, two passing) in a 51-31 triumph over South Carolina.
Even more impressive is that Tebow compiled such gaudy numbers against a respectable schedule. Florida's 12 opponents this season were a combined 88-58.
The other finalists appeared to have an easier road. McFadden rushed for 1,725 yards and 15 touchdowns and also was a receiving and pass threat, but the Arkansas schedule consisted of opponents that were a combined 70-75 and that included Division I-AA Chattanooga. Daniel passed for 4,170 yards, with 33 touchdowns with 10 interceptions against opponents that were a combined 77-67. That included Division I-AA Illinois State. Brennan passed for 4,174 yards, with 38 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. But Hawaii's opponents were a combined 53-82 and two were Division I-AA teams, although Brennan did not play against Charleston Southern.
Tebow, who leads Florida into the Outback Bowl against Michigan, will be looking to make history again next season. He'll be trying to join Ohio State's Archie Griffin as the only two-time Heisman recipient. Tebow and the Gators open the 2008 season against Hawaii, which will have a new quarterback.
Florida's Heisman winners have something in common other than playing the same position. Spurrier's dad was a preacher, Wuerffel's an Air Force chaplain and Tebow's a missionary.
Yep, I called this one. Here is the Top 3 vote total:
1. Tim Tebow, Florida 1,9572.
2. Darren McFadden, Arkansas 1,703. (2nd year in a row he's come in 2nd place)
3. Colt Brennan, Hawaii 632
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