Florida QB Tebow becomes first Sophomore to win Heisman Trophy
Saturday, December 08, 2007
For that, Tebow was thankful. Very thankful.
During a speech that lasted less than three minutes, Tebow said the word "thank" 22 times—one for every touchdown he rushed for this year.
Tebow thanked his coaches, his teammates, his parents, his strength coach, his siblings, his brothers-in-law, his athletic director and his school's president. He thanked God twice and also thanked his fellow Heisman finalists—"Colt, Chase and Run DMC."
Even before Saturday night, Tim Tebow was one of a kind — a quarterback who runs over linebackers with the force of a tank, a heartthrob whose first love is God.
Now Tebow is unique in a more tangible way: He's the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy.
The Florida quarterback beat out Arkansas' Darren McFadden in a reasonably close contest. Tebow finished with 1,957 points to McFadden's 1,703, but the discrepancy in first-place votes (462 to 291) was dramatic.
Hawaii's Colt Brennan finished third (632), Missouri's Chase Daniel came in fourth (425), Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon was fifth (178) and West Virginia quarterback Pat White took sixth (150).
Florida's coach, Urban Meyer, is thankful Tebow chose to become a Gator. Meyer said Tebow is such a perfectionist, he spends 8-10 hours each Sunday preparing for his next foe.
"You're a better coach when you're around him," Meyer said during ESPN's telecast. "You're a better football player. You're a better human. He has an electricity to him that is very rare."
So much about Tebow is rare, and it goes well beyond his being left-handed.
He was born in the Philippines, where his parents operate a Christian mission and orphanage and where he returns nearly every year to preach.
Tebow was home-schooled and emerged as a top recruit by playing at Nease High School near his boyhood home in Jacksonville.
Tebow's 177.9 pass efficiency is the highest among Heisman winners, but it's his running ability that draws raves.
His 22 rushing touchdowns set a single-season record in the SEC, which has seen such legendary ballcarriers as Herschel Walker, Bo Jackson and Emmitt Smith.
His combined 51 touchdowns outpaced the offenses of 86 Division I teams. Notre Dame's entire offense produced 23 touchdowns.
Detractors point out that 16 of Tebow's 22 rushing touchdowns came from inside the 5-yard line. But the 6-foot-3-inch, 235-pounder didn't merely earn the glamor yards.
He carried the ball an average of 16 times per game, rarely looking to slide or duck out to a sideline.
"Larry Csonka with an arm," the Miami Herald called him.
Tebow, the 73rd Heisman winner, joined Steve Spurrier (1966) and Danny Wuerffel (1996) as victorious Florida quarterbacks. Only Notre Dame (Angelo Bertelli, John Lujack, Paul Hornung and John Huarte) has more winners from the position.
Tebow won five of the six regions, with McFadden taking the Southwest. McFadden became just the third player in history with back-to-back runner-up finishes.
While McFadden is expected to turn pro, Tebow will try to join Ohio State's Archie Griffin as the only two-time Heisman winner.
Or maybe he'll shoot for something truly unique—three Heismans.