OK, one more comment about the Heisman Trophy presentation and I’ll be done.
I’ve been reading since Saturday night’s ceremony honoring University of Oregon All-Universe quarterback Marcus Mariota about the young man’s character.
It is exemplary. And it is made even more so in light of three of the past four Heisman Trophy winners’ own character.
College football needed someone like Mariota to win the Heisman Trophy.
His athletic exploits are — to borrow a term he’s used in recent days to describe his Heisman experience — utterly “surreal.” Football experts and casual fans of the game understand what he’s done on the field.
It’s the off-the-field stuff he does and things he does when no one’s looking that seems to matter more.
Auburn’s Cam Newton won the honor in 2010 amid a recruiting scandal; Johnny “Football” Manziel at Texas A&M won the honor two years later and has behaved in a less-than-gentlemanly manner all too often; Florida State’s Jameis Winston has those sexual abuse charges hanging over his head. In the middle of that Heisman sequence is Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, another fine young man.
Marcus Mariota? Well, he got a ticket for speeding several weeks ago. He paid the fine and apologized for messing up.
In truth, the other two finalists for the Heisman — Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon and Alabama receiver Amari Cooper — also fit the Boy Scout mode. Everyone’s a winner, as the presenter said immediately before announcing Marcus Mariota’s name.
I’m obviously glad for Mariota. I’m proud that a football program from my home state of Oregon can boast about one of its athletes’ high honor. I also am glad for college football, which has awarded its best-player-in-the-country trophy to a young man who’s a role model — and is proud of it.