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August 6, 2008

Heisman hopefuls can come in pairs

MORE: Bowden sorts out the candidates | Olin's Top 10

Noah had it easier than Chad Moller.

Noah only had to collect two tigers for his Ark.

Moller, Missouri's sports information director, had to pick one Tiger to promote for the Heisman Trophy.

And verily it came to pass that quarterback Chase Daniel, who invariably comes to pass, was the chosen one. He of modest stature but magnificent stats was featured on flyers touting his Heisman Trophy credentials before last season's game at Kansas State.

Yet he was upstaged by then-freshman wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who scored three touchdowns (two by reception, one by return) and broke an NCAA freshman single-season record for all-purpose yardage during Missouri's 49-32 victory.

"That was the week that we had decided to throw our hat in the ring officially with Chase and say, 'Here's our guy,' " Moller said. "We had a great year as a team, and designed some color flyers and brochures and mailed them out to as many voters as we could find and national media types. And we handed them out in the press box.

"Chase had a great game and threw for four touchdowns, but Maclin was just all over the place. He caught a touchdown pass, then he returned a kickoff for a touchdown, which was our first since 1982. Then, in the second half, he caught another long touchdown pass from Chase. I remember a couple of writers turning around to me and saying, 'OK, when are you launching the Jeremy Maclin Heisman campaign?' "

This year, perhaps? Maybe not.

"We're not going to put that pressure on Jeremy," Moller said. "Chase has earned his stripes there, in my opinion. We'll approach Jeremy the way we approached Chase last year. Going into last year, Chase was on some people's lists and still had to play his way into it. Fortunately, things went well, like we hoped, and we were there to follow up with some promotional supplements.

"That's the game plan for Jeremy this year. He's on some lists and some say he's a dark horse, and we think he's worthy of mention. We'll focus on Chase initially, and if Jeremy is in a position for us to do some things for him toward the middle of the year, we certainly will do it."

That's probably the right approach. Usually, the "two-starting quarterback rule" also applies to Heisman hopefuls. You know, if you've got two, you've got none.

Of course, there are exceptions. USC clearly had two legitimate candidates with Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart in 2005, as did Oklahoma with Adrian Peterson and Jason White in 2004.

This season, several teams could have two legitimate candidates, including Texas Tech with quarterback Graham Harrell and wide receiver Michael Crabtree; Florida with quarterback Tim Tebow and wide receiver Percy Harvin; Georgia with quarterback Matthew Stafford and running back Knowshon Moreno; Oklahoma with quarterback Sam Bradford and running back DeMarco Murray; Ohio State with running back Chris Wells and linebacker James Laurinaitis; and Missouri with Daniel and Maclin.

But keep in mind that in the past 60 years of Heisman voting, only six times have two players from the same team finished among the top four in the same season (see accompanying chart). Just three times was one awarded the trophy Bush in '05, Nebraska's Mike Rozier in '83 and Nebraska's Johnny Rodgers in '72.

That history might make some SIDs feel the need to choose one to hype. But Texas Tech sports information director Chris Cook said that would be like asking a parent to choose between two children. Thus, Tech plans to vigorously campaign for Harrell, who could become the first quarterback to pass for 6,000 yards in a season, and Crabtree - who last season led the nation in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

TWO BY TWO
Here's a look at teammates who have finished among the top four in the Heisman Trophy voting in the past 60 years.
YearSchool: Players Heisman winner
1956 Oklahoma: Tommy McDonald (3rd), Gerry Tubbs (4th) Paul Hornung, Notre Dame
1972 Nebraska: Johnny Rodgers (1st), Rich Glover (3rd) Rodgers
1983 Nebraska: Mike Rozier (1st), Turner Gill (4th) Rozier
1994 Penn State: Ki-Jana Carter (2nd), Kerry Collins (4th) Rashaan Salaam, Colorado
2004 Oklahoma: Adrian Peterson (2nd), Jason White (3rd) Matt Leinart, USC
2005 USC: Reggie Bush (1st), Matt Leinart (3rd) Bush
"We've got some ideas that we're throwing around right now," Cook said. "Everybody knows these guys, so we're not looking for awareness now. But we do have some ideas we've been tossing around, and one is very clever. It's a way to get both of them out there at the same time without choosing one over the other."

So what is the clever idea? Cook won't reveal the campaign.

Some schools have gone to great measures to trumpet their candidates. Memphis distributed thousands of dye-cast model race cars to promote running back DeAngelo Williams. BYU sent out neckties to boost quarterback Ty Detmer. Washington State mailed out envelopes containing a leaf to support quarterback Ryan Leaf.

Texas Tech could send out graham crackers to promote Harrell. But where would that leave Crabtree?

"I guess we could send out crab spread," Cook said. "But that probably wouldn't keep."

Yeah, that's probably not a good idea.

And Cook has no idea whether Harrell or Crabtree will emerge as Tech's primary contender.

"It's for the voters to decide," he said. "They have to look and say, 'This kid caught this many touchdowns but this kid threw them.' What is going to sway people more? What's going to dazzle people?

"We're not going to pick sides. Our campaign will show that."

TRIVIA QUESTION

Name the sets of Heisman Trophy recipients to share the same surname. (Hint: There are four, and George Rogers and Johnny Rodgers do not count.) (Answer at the end of the column.)

OLD SCHOOL

Name the school or schools attended by these brother combinations.

1. Ty and Koy Detmer

2. Steve and Tinker Owens

3. Michael Dean and William Perry

4. Bob and Mike Golic

5. Clay and Bruce Matthews

6. Merlin and Phil Olsen

7. Walter and Eddie Payton

8. John and Charlie Hannah

9. Carson and Jordan Palmer

10. Raghib and Qadry Ismail

QUICK HITTERS

Washington got a break (maybe a bad choice of words) with oft-injured center Juan Garcia making a swift recovery from joint and ligament displacement in his left foot. Garcia, who was injured during the spring, was available when the Huskies began camp. But the Huskies suffered a blow when linebacker E.J. Savannah was declared academically ineligible.

Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning, who both learned at the knee of David Cutcliffe, paid a recent visit to their old coach. Blue Devils quarterback Thaddeus Lewis took advantage of the opportunity to ask for tips. Their advice? Do what the coach says.

Texas Tech senior L.A. Reed has moved from wide receiver to safety to cornerback. He opened camp at cornerback because coaches feel he has a good chance to win a starting job there.

Nebraska coach Bo Pelini dismissed backup defensive tackle Kevin Dixon, a senior, for violating team rules.

Former heralded defensive line prospect Andre Jones, who was arrested on robbery charges and dismissed from Texas, reportedly will play for UTEP. Jones attended Andress High School in El Paso.

Texas apparently will seek a sixth year of eligibility for senior wide receiver Jordan Shipley, who sat out the 2004 and '05 seasons with injuries. Also, redshirt freshman safety Earl Thomas has drawn praise from defensive coordinator Will Muschamp for his ability to cover slot receivers and blitz.

JaJuan Spillman, dismissed from Louisville after being arrested on drug and gun charges in July, has transferred to Division I-AA Tennessee State.

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said the quarterback competition between Steven Threet, Nick Sheridan and Justin Feagin could extend into the season. "I hope we have at least two that we can win with," Rodriguez said. "That's the goal. Not so much finding a starter as two we can win with." Meanwhile, Rodriguez said Wolverines tailback Kevin Grady remains suspended but is allowed to practice. Grady was suspended after an arrest on a suspicion of driving while intoxicated charge in July. Rodriguez said he's earned a place on the team, but has not done enough penance to earn playing time. Grady missed all of last season with a torn ACL.

Travis Dixon, expected to be UNLV's backup quarterback, has moved to safety. Dixon, who started nine games last season, adds depth to the secondary. Omar Clayton will start at quarterback for the Rebels.

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy indicated he hopes to determine by next week whether sophomore Alex Cate or redshirt freshman Brandon Weeden will be the No. 2 quarterback behind Zac Robinson. Gundy also hopes to decide by then whether he or co-offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer will call plays. Brewer is the son of former Ole Miss coach Billy Brewer.

Alabama redshirt freshman nose tackle Josh Chapman has practiced with the first-team defense. Chapman, who benches a team-best 480-pounds, had been behind returning starter Lorenzo Washington.

Georgia coach Mark Richt suspended backup linebacker Darius Dewberry for the first two games of the season. Dewberry broke a parking lot control arm barrier with his hands while visiting teammates at a Athens, Ga., hospital. Dewberry is the sixth player dismissed or suspended from the team in the offseason. Richt indefinitely suspended long snapper Jeff Henson and safety Donavon Baldwin last weekend. Henson was involved in an alcohol-related arrest, and Baldwin was hurt in a fight.

Kentucky starting cornerback Paul Warford is ineligible for this season. In addition, backup quarterback Curtis Pulley was dismissed from the team for violation of team rules.

OLD SCHOOL ANSWERS

1. BYU and Colorado

2. Oklahoma

3. Clemson

4. Notre Dame

5. USC

6. Utah State

7. Jackson State

8. Alabama

9. USC and UTEP

10. Notre Dame and Syracuse

TRIVIA ANSWER

Minnesota HB Bruce Smith (1941) and Ohio State QB Troy Smith (2006); Army HB Glenn Davis (1946) and Syracuse HB Ernie Davis (1961); SMU HB Doak Walker (1948) and Georgia TB Herschel Walker (1982); USC TB Charles White (1979) and Oklahoma QB Jason White (2003).

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



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