A freshman is probably going to win the Heisman. I know there's a massive bias against freshmen winning the award and I kind of subscribe to the belief that if Herschel Walker couldn't get it as a freshman, no one should. But times change, and more importantly, there are no other viable candidates.
I mean, the biggest threat to Johnny Manziel winning the Heisman is a defensive player, Manti Te'o. And if there's one thing Heisman voters hate more than freshmen, it's defensive players. So really, this is all Collin Klein's fault for laying an egg against Baylor.
So as long as we're looking at the year of the non-traditional Heisman candidate, let's go whole hog. Why not an offensive lineman?
Barrett Jones has quite literally no chance of winning the Heisman. Hell, he would be lucky to collect a vote. But in a year in which we are completely re-evaluating the unwritten rules of Heisman voting, why shouldn't we consider the best offensive lineman in the country? Can't he at least get an invite to New York?
Barrett Jones is the defending Outland Trophy winner and was a unanimous first-team All-American last season from just about every voting body you can imagine: the AP, ESPN, Walter Camp, FWAA, Rivals, and SI. So let's just admit the guy is good.
And since there is nothing award voters love more than a narrative, Jones turned down the NFL money last offseason and decided to come back for his senior year. He was rewarded by being asked to move from left tackle to center, which is a dramatic transition. It's also reminiscent of Kevin Mawae's move from left tackle to center for his senior for LSU, and Mawae is only my favorite LSU Tiger ever. Any player that reminds me of Mawae is worthy of praise in my book.
Jones thrived in his position and is, once again, a finalist for the Outland Trophy. He's also a finalist for the Lombardi Award, which he has earned for anchoring one of the nation's top offensive lines. He also deserves all of the bonus points in the world for coming back for his senior year and learning a new position.
The Heisman has often been derided as an award that just goes to the best offensive player on one of the nation's top teams. Usually, it's limited to the offensive backfield, but why not the rest of the offense? Barrett Jones is Alabama's best player and here is the Tide again, with one loss and one win away from playing for a national title. If Alabama wins this weekend, Jones will be the best offensive player on a team playing for the national title.
That's usually been good enough to at least be a Heisman finalist. Why not now? There are other players other than quarterbacks. You try and find a good team with a bad offensive line, it is the very foundation of winning football. Jones is simply the best lineman on the best line in the nation. He is a key cog on a team that is a hair away from back to back national titles. Let's recognize the guys up front.
Barrett Jones for the Heisman.