Loyola Phoenix

Up and Adam: The Heisman Trophy Shouldn’t Be All About Talent

The “Heisman pose” is something all aspiring football players love to strike when they goof around during a pickup game with their friends. The pose matches that of the football player on the Heisman trophy, the trophy awarded each year to the most outstanding college football player.

Other than an Olympic gold medal, the Heisman Trophy is arguably the most coveted individual award in sports. Speculation and heated debates occur year-round as fans and the media try to predict which player is worthy of receiving the hardware. The media regularly scrutinizes the talent and play of each candidate, trying to find a “Heisman moment” — one play that shows why a certain player should win.

The Heisman brings so much attention and fanfare to the world of college football that it warrants a nationally televised presentation at the end of the college football regular season in December. Upon accepting the trophy, the player is inducted into both the Heisman brotherhood and the lore of college football. The player then gives a speech filled with appreciation for his family, friends, coaches and teammates.

It sounds like there are big shoes for each Heisman candidate to fill, right?  Yes, but for a player to actually win a Heisman, he has to fill even bigger shoes. Right now, the trophy just goes to the most outstanding player, but it really should go to the player who also possesses the most outstanding integrity and humility.

Let’s take a look at the recent Heisman winners. Three of the past five Heisman winners — Jameis Winston, Johnny Manziel and Cam Newton — finished their college careers with huge question marks surrounding their character. They were amazing on the field by most accounts, but off the field their actions were defined by one controversy after another.

Winston was accused of yelling a misogynistic phrase while standing on a table during a student government meeting at Florida State University in 2014. He also received a citation earlier that year for stealing crab legs from a supermarket. Manziel, who thrives off negative publicity, was accused of selling sports merchandise with his autograph on it, a practice banned by the NCAA. And Newton, a former Heisman-winning quarterback at Auburn University, was arrested in 2008 after stealing a laptop that belonged to a fellow student.

That’s three of the past five winners showcasing anything but integrity and humility. What’s disappointing is that so many kids look up to Heisman winners as role models. They strike the pose for a reason — to emulate their favorite Heisman winner.

Kids need a role model who is great on the field and even greater off the field. This is why Texas Christian University’s Trevone Boykin deserves the Heisman this year. Before playing Iowa State University, Boykin was photographed talking to Abby Faber — a young girl diagnosed with spastic diplegia — at midfield. On his Instagram, Boykin said that helping children is “bigger than the game.” If this does not scream role model, I do not know what does.

Boykin remains a close second behind front-runner Leonard Fournette, the running back for Louisiana State University, with less than one month left to go in the season. Fournette loves to dazzle with his superior running ability. Nevertheless, Boykin will continue to make it a tight race as he continues to dominate on and off the field.

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