Heisman finalists announced

BY foxsports • December 8, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Tim
Tebow added another Heisman first to his long list of accomplishments
just by being selected a finalist for this year's trophy.


Tebow became the first player to be invited to the Heisman Trophy
presentation ceremony three times when the Florida quarterback -- along
with Colt McCoy, Mark Ingram, Toby Gerhart and Ndamukong Suh -- was
named a finalist Monday for college football's most prestigious player
of the year award.

"Having the chance to go
back to New York means a lot to me," Tebow said in a statement. "It is
a special honor but it wouldn't be possible for me to have this
opportunity without my teammates and coaches."


The Heisman Trophy will be awarded Saturday in Manhattan. The
presentation ceremony has been televised since 1981 and since 1982 at
least three players have been invited to attend.

The last time as many as five players were invited to New York was 2004, when USC quarterback Matt Leinart won the award.


Tebow, who was the first sophomore to win the Heisman in 2007, is
trying to become the second two-time Heisman winner, joining Ohio
State's Archie Griffin. Tebow finished third in the voting last year,
while getting the most first-place votes.


He's also the first player to finish in the top five of the Heisman
voting three times since Georgia tailback Herschel Walker did it in the
early 1980s.

McCoy was the runner-up last
season to Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and has led No. 2 Texas to the BCS
national championship game this season.

Ingram has rushed for 1,542 yards and scored 15 touchdowns for No. 1 Alabama.

Stanford's Gerhart, meanwhile, has run for more yards (1,736) and scored more touchdowns (26) than any player in the nation.


And Nebraska's Suh had 4 sacks in an attention-grabbing performance
against Texas in the Big 12 title game. He is the first defensive
player to be a finalist since 1997, when Michigan cornerback Charles
Woodson became the first full-time defensive player to win the Heisman.


Tebow and McCoy entered this season as heavy Heisman favorites, but
neither has been as productive this season as last and neither will go
into Saturday's presentation as the front-runner.


Tebow returned for his senior season to try and lead the Gators to a
third national title in four seasons, but he won't reach that goal.
After being No. 1 almost all season, Florida lost to Alabama 32-13 in
the Southeastern Conference title game on Saturday and was knocked out
of the national championship race.

The
loss likely damaged Tebow's chances at a second Heisman, too. He has
passed for 2,413 yards and rushed for 859 yards this year.


Like Tebow, McCoy also returned for his senior season to make a
championship run. He has Texas a victory away from its first national
title since 2005, but his numbers also have fallen off compared to '08.


McCoy has passed for 3,512 yards with 27 touchdowns and 12
interceptions. He also nearly threw away the Longhorns' national
championship hopes on the second-to-last play of the Nebraska game,
coming within a second of letting the clock run out before Texas could
attempt the winning field goal in a 13-12 victory.

McCoy could become the first player to win the Heisman the season after finishing second since Walker did it in 1982.

If there is a favorite, it seems to be Ingram.


Hesimanpundit.com, which polls 13 voters throughout the season, had
Ingram on top of it's latest results, just ahead of Gerhart.


Ingram could become Alabama's first Heisman Trophy winner. He gave his
Heisman campaign a late boost by running for 113 yards and scoring
three touchdowns in the SEC title game against Florida.


"I'm looking forward to the experience and appreciate the opportunity
to represent our team at the Heisman ceremony," Ingram said in a
statement.

Gerhart also ended his season
with a flourish, running for 205 yards and three touchdowns and
throwing a touchdown pass in a victory against Notre Dame.


"I am most pleased that my efforts along with those of so many others
this year have put Stanford Football back on the national map," Gerhart
said.

Nobody finished stronger than Suh,
who put together one of the most dominant defensive games in recent
college football history in Nebraska's near-upset of Texas. He finished
the season with 12 sacks.

"It is good to
see that the Heisman voters have recognized the true impact a dominant
defensive lineman like Suh can have on a football game," Nebraska coach
Bo Pelini said.

Among the top players who
didn't make the cut were Clemson's versatile tailback C.J. Spiller and
Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore.


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