Who am I?
- As a quarterback, I had the most rushing touchdowns last season, 27, of any player who returns in 2010. (That just happens to a record for quarterbacks, by the way.)
- I didn’t throw the ball too often last year, with fewer than 10 pass attempts per game. When I did, though, I made it count, passing for 9.8 yards per throw with an efficiency rating of 148.96.
- I went over 1,000 yards in both passing and rushing last year while leading my team to a 10-4 record. Did all that while essentially missing two games.
- I saved some of my best performances for my team’s biggest games in 2009: a near upset of Ohio State, an actual upset of Notre Dame and a Texas Bowl blowout of Missouri.
Answer: Navy’s star signal caller Ricky Dobbs. If you’ve never heard of him, you’re probably not even close to being alone. And that’s a damn shame.
Dobbs just happens to be the best quarterback to darken the U.S. Naval Academy’s door since the immortal Roger Staubach was doing his thing back in the 1960s. More importantly, he has been named Blatant Homerism’s Favorite Non-Sooner in College Football.
Even with that ringing endorsement, you won’t see Dobbs’ name on many preseason Heisman Trophy lists this summer. He is probably the most valuable player in college football. Yet, he’s going to be so far behind guys like Mark Ingram and Terrelle Pryor in the early straw polls that you almost want to tell Navy not to even bother with the seemingly obligatory “Dobbs-for-Heisman” publicity campaign.
(Vegas isn’t even offering odds on Dobbs winning at this point.)
Every year, we hear the same debate about what the Heisman is all about. It has reached the point where precedent has shoehorned our interpretation of the Heisman Trust’s notoriously ambiguous criteria — “the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity” — to identify the candidates who fit best with past winners. HeismanPundit.com has even gone so far as to build a prominent college football blog surrounding the award and the de facto rules dictating candidacy.
We’re still months away from the start of the season, but the big guys have already started the media blitzes pimping the obvious candidates. Without even playing a down, the Jake Lockers and Christian Ponders are already a step ahead of the competition.
I’d like to think the Heisman is awarded based on actual achievement, and I doubt that I’m alone on that. Unfortunately, it has become painfully clear that plenty of deserving candidates start way too far behind the eight ball in terms of publicity and tradition to have a legitimate shot at the trophy.
This is the everyday fan’s chance to inject a little equity into the process through a time-honored American tradition: the grassroots campaign. And what better candidate to back than Ricky Dobbs? Who in major college football could better represent “the pursuit of excellence with integrity” than Dobbs, whose accomplishments have even been lauded by the commander in chief?
I’m not proposing that Dobbs should just be some token nominee thrown into the mix to strike a blow for the little guy. There are plenty of great players out there from non-BCS schools to pick from if that were the case.
Don’t mistake this for some sympathy shtick for the guy in uniform, either. The fact that Dobbs is at Navy is a part of his story, but it’s not the story with him.
Take a look at the numbers. Check out the game film from last season.
Of all players returning for the 2010 season, you won’t find one who was as instrumental in his team’s success last year as Dobbs was for Navy.
So join me in support of Navy QB Ricky Dobbs as the people’s candidate for college football’s most prestigious award.
(Follow the Completely Unofficial Ricky Dobbs Heisman Campaign on Twitter at @DobbsForHeisman.)