Barrett Jones for Heisman? Part 1

I saw him play in person at the 52-0 Bama victory over my Hogs in Fayetteville a few weeks ago and I must say that Barrett Jones is deserving of consideration of the Heisman Trophy. This is not the first time I have written about this subject. Jones grew up at the same church I went to in Memphis growing up (Bellevue Baptist) and he graduated from the same high school that I did (Evangelical Christian School). I wrote an article last year about Barrett and I just wrote a few weeks ago and they both were published in the Saline Courier and can be found on that website. 

Here is what a Florida columnist thinks below:

David Jones: Is Alabama lineman Barrett Jones Heisman-worthy?

Crimson Tide senior is one of college football’s best

Western Kentucky v Alabama

Alabama lineman Barrett Jones looks for someone to block against Western Kentucky earlier this season. / Getty Images

Maybe the time, finally, has come?

A lot of Heisman Trophy voters may be thinking that way come December, especially if some of the early favorites stumble — like Southern Cal quarterback Matt Barkley did in the Trojans’ 21-14 loss to Stanford last week.

Barrett Jones probably won’t carry the football, throw it or catch a pass in 2012. But he very well could be the best player in college football during the past few years.

But is that Heisman worthy? Give this a quick thought. If not Jones, then who deserves consideration more?

This could be the year when the voters will have to change their thinking, especially if Alabama is knocking on the door of another national title — which would be the third in Jones’ four seasons — and another Tide running back is also contending for a 1,000-yard season.

Mark Ingram won the Heisman in 2009 with Jones blocking for him. Trent Richardson was a finalist in 2011 with Jones, again, leading the way for him.

Finally, it might be time to admit, the Heisman Trophy should be an award that goes to someone other than a skill position player. Jones will go down in college football history as one of the greatest offensive linemen the game has known. He’s made All-American the past three seasons. He won the Outland Trophy as the top lineman in the nation last fall.

Jones began 2012 with 36 starts — 25 at guard, 11 at tackle. And this season, he once again showed his unselfishness by moving to center. The 300-pounder could end up being one of the top three picks in the next NFL Draft. And he’s shown his overall talents by also making Academic All-American three straight years.

A model citizen, a team leader, a huge talent. If he was a quarterback, college experts would be comparing him to Tim Tebow or Herschel Walker. But instead of running through holes, he’s been the one making them.

His move to center was as unselfish as Tebow moving to fullback or Walker becoming a wide receiver to help strengthen the team where depth was lacking.

“It just becomes second nature to you,” Jones said of sliding to center. “It just takes a lot of practice. It’s like anything else; it takes a lot of practice to where you’re not even thinking about it.”

After crushing Michigan in the season opener, the Tide jumped back atop the AP poll again this fall, leaping over Southern Cal and prompting a lot of experts to gush over ’Bama’s deep backfield and talented line.

Did they just forget Jones was there? Actually, most are stunned he still is.

“I prayed about it and I just felt like I would have an opportunity to do things like share my faith, to get a chance to speak at some cool places, to have some influence over kids and over other people,” Jones said of why he put the NFL off for one more year. “I just knew it would be a unique opportunity that I might never get again. That’s a big reason why I came back.”

His brother, Harrison, also joined the program — which made the decision even more unique.

The running game is already crushing opponents and making others wonder if perhaps the Tide will just run over the rest of college football. It almost seems like anyone can gain five yards behind the incredibly talented linemen.

“We do feel like whoever you plug in there (at running back) we’re going to have success,” Jones said. “We’re confident, we have four guys coming back and we feel really, really good about what we’re doing up front and our communication, which is so key.

“I think sometimes the best offensive lines aren’t the ones who are the most talented, they’re the ones who communicate the best and I feel like this year we have a ton of talent. Combine that with communication, and we’ll have hopefully the best offensive line I’ve been a part of.”

Regardless of whether Jones gets another national title ring, he already realizes he has been a part of something very special in college football with two championships in his career. He took the time to watch the game tape of both prior national title game wins before this season started.

“It is so, so different to get 85 players to come together and accomplish something like win a national championship,” Jones said. “That’s why you remember it, it’s so hard, there are so many good teams out there and when you accomplish something like that with a good group of guys, that’s something that sticks with you for a long time.”

So what about one more national title before living Tuscaloosa?

“We don’t talk about repeat. We just talk about going and playing every game to the best of our ability,” Jones said.

In 2010, he felt the team got complacent as the defending national champions. He vowed that won’t happen this time around. And if the Crimson Tide are contenders in December? How do you not invite him to New York for the Heisman ceremony? After all, he led the way for two other finalists for the award.

Forget he’s a lineman, forget he has no stats to compare to other offensive stars. If Alabama wins the SEC, it could be his turn to check out Times Square.

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