Barrett Jones for Heisman? Part 3

Barrett Jones
Alabama’s versatile Barrett Jones could become the first offensive lineman to be a Heisman Trophy finalist since 1996

Talking about a beatdown!!! Sadly I saw my Hogs get beaten  52-0 to Bama and it seemed that the Tide liked running up the middle behind the center Barrett Jones, and I must say that  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 the people from Sports Illustrated had to say about the Heisman race this year:

Can we please just go ahead and fast forward to this time next week? Or better yet, next Thursday night?

Hey Stewart — I saw the video of you and Andy Staples SI Videodiscussing Heisman candidates. What is your recipe for dark horse candidates? Do you see anyone other than a QB or RB who will get enough votes to end up at the ceremony this year?
— Will, Hoboken, N.J.

Twice in the past three years a defensive player has reached New York, and both times the player was barely on the radar going into the last week. In 2009, Ndamukong Suh garnered a little bit of Heisman buzz during the season, but I’d guess 80 to 90 percent of the votes he got came from a dominating performance (12 tackles, 4.5 sacks) against Texas in a much-watched Big 12 title game. Last year, Tyrann Mathieu became a household name starting in Week 1 against Oregon, but most assumed he’d lost his shot at the Heisman following his one-game suspension midway through the year. But his game-turning punt returns in the SEC title game against Georgia (on the heels of another the week before against Arkansas) likely pushed him past idle Matt Barkley as the fifth finalist.

Last impressions are always powerful, but I’ve noticed the past few years that the first Saturday of December is carrying more and more weight in the Heisman race. I suppose that shouldn’t be surprising in today’s media climate; on Twitter, guys win, lose, then re-win the Heisman with each drive of each game. It’s not like a player can be a complete nobody the first 13 weeks and then win with a huge final performance, but RGIII doesn’t win last year without the strong finish against Texas. Ditto Mark Ingram against Florida in 2009. Unless a guy completely blows away the rest of the field, a la Cam Newton two years ago or Tim Tebow in 2007, that last game takes on paramount importance. And that in turn can benefit a so-called dark horse candidate who makes a strong last impression.

As for this year, if ever an offensive lineman was going to make it to New York (for the first time since Ohio State’s Orlando Pace in 1996), you would think Andy’s favorite guy, Alabama center Barrett Jones, would be the one. He’s been around so long and received so much acclaim that he’s got to be the most recognizable offensive lineman in many years. Considering Tide quarterback AJ McCarron isn’t likely to put up Heisman-type numbers, Jones or one of the Tide’s other preseason All-America O-linemen (tackle D.J. Fluker and guard Chance Warmack) might be that team’s best bet. But it would likely require both ‘Bama reaching the SEC title game and Gary Danielson spending at least a quarter dissecting isolation shots of the Tide’s blocking techniques.

A quarterback or running back will still win the thing.

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