Alabama’s McCarron keeps pledge with Heisman trip

AJ McCarron has helped Alabama reach several prime destinations,

from New Orleans to Miami and Southern California.

Now the third-ranked Crimson Tide’s quarterback, known for

national titles and winning 12 times for every loss, gets to see

New York for the first time – just the way he wanted.

”I’m a huge Yankees fan, and I said I would never go to New

York unless I was invited for the Heisman or for draft day,”

McCarron said. ”So one of those dreams came true. It’s just a cool

moment to be a part of.”

The NFL draft remains months away, but McCarron is one of six

Heisman Trophy finalists invited to Saturday night’s ceremony.

McCarron will be joined by fellow quarterbacks Jameis Winston of

Florida State, Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and Jordan Lynch of

Northern Illinois. Auburn tailback Tre Mason and Boston College

tailback Andre Williams are also finalists.

McCarron is the one candidate largely judged by a career that

stands as perhaps the best among Alabama quarterbacks, a group that

includes Joe Namath, Bart Starr and Ken Stabler.

McCarron is 36-3 with two national titles as a starter and three

during his five years on campus. He holds Alabama’s career marks

for passing touchdowns and yards and total offense.

”I don’t think I need to state my own case,” McCarron said.

”I think if you look at my play over three years, I feel like no

quarterback in the SEC or the country has played as consistent as I

have. I think the numbers do the talking. When you look at my stats

against Top 10-ranked teams, I don’t think anybody’s stats compare

to mine. I just let my stats and play do the talking and sit by the

side. I guess.”

As a senior, McCarron has thrown for 2,676 yards with 26

touchdowns against five interceptions, while completing a

career-best 67.6 percent of his passes. He won the Johnny Unitas

Award as the nation’s top senior quarterback.

McCarron and the Tide fell short of another title shot with a

34-28 loss to Auburn in the Iron Bowl on Chris Davis’ 109-yard,

last-play return of a missed field goal. He’ll finish his career in

the Sugar Bowl against Oklahoma instead of a return trip to

Pasadena, Calif.

McCarron isn’t fretting over the way the regular season

ended.

”I know this state and the South itself is a little crazy about

football, but I feel like I keep it in a good perspective. It’s a

game,” he said. “When it’s over and done with, I know what I left

out on the field and I feel like I played one of my hardest games.

We just fell short. Nothing you can do. You’ve got to move on and

live life and be happy, because life’s way too short to sit back

and think about what you should have done and be mad about

it.”

He’s at least New York bound, along with his parents, girlfriend

Katherine Webb, younger brother and teammate Corey and an uncle and

cousin.

Pretty much the usual crew that are there to greet him after

every game, win or, less often, lose. McCarron said he’d have

someday gone to New York otherwise, but only when he could foot his

own bill.

McCarron said he just smiled when he found out he was invited to

the Heisman ceremony. Parents Dee Dee Bonner and Tony McCarron were

more emotional.

”They were pretty ecstatic,” McCarron said. ”Mom and Dad were

both crying. Just happy. It’s a dream come true for them. That’s

the best part for me, that’s the most fulfilling part is watching

my little brother and everybody live their dreams through me.

That’s what I like most. I could care less about myself.”

He hasn’t spent much time watching football since the regular

season finale. McCarron said he saw much of the first half of the

Southeastern Conference championship game between Missouri and

Auburn, before heading to the mall with Webb for Christmas

shopping.

He said the only time he has seen Winston, the Heisman

front-runner, play was when Corey McCarron’s Spanish Fort team beat

Hueytown in the 2010 state quarterfinals.

”I hate watching football, to be honest with you, unless I’m

getting ready to play, watching film on somebody,” McCarron said.

”All it does is it really ticks you off and makes you want to go

get better, really.”

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