Theoretically, every collegiate football player in the land is “a Heisman Trophy candidate.” But we tend to attach that label to a player only when the player’s school first attaches it. And Georgia Tech, being practiced in the lost art of understatement, hasn’t gone wild over Jonathan Dwyer just yet.
He’s billed on the cover of Tech’s media guide not as an “HTC” but as something a tad more tangible — the ACC player of the year. Which he was in 2008, and which he was just voted by the league’s media, assembled in Greensboro, N.C., to be again this season. And that if that doesn’t make someone an HTC … well, my name’s not George P. Burdell.
In Sporting News Today, Matt Crossman noted that Dwyer met the media in Greensboro from the seat “previously occupied by C.J. Spiller, the blazing-fast Clemson running back. Clemson brought with it life-sized posters of Spiller to hype his Heisman candidacy, a perfectly valid endeavor. But Dwyer will thrust himself into that conversation before long.”
Before long? Spiller rushed and caught passes for 1,065 total yards in 2008. Dwyer’s total yardage last season — 1,604. I’d say he’s there already. (Clemson, as we know, has never been shy about tooting its players’ horns. This is the school that, in 1982, sent out cereal boxes boosting Terry “Special K” Kinard.)
Dwyer might get cast as “a system back,” but he’s no more a product of Paul Johnson’s system than Tim Tebow is of Urban Meyer’s. They’re both tremendous college players. And I’m not suggesting Dwyer is going to win the Heisman — quarterbacks always have the inherent edge, and there are two previous winners (Tebow and Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford) still playing as amateurs — but I will say this:
If Jonny Dwyer — that’s what Paul Johnson calls him — doesn’t finish in the top five, I’ll be surprised. And if C.J. Spiller finishes ahead of him, I’ll sit myself down and eat a bowl of Special K.