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ON SPORTS: Heisman Trophy vote as simple as RG3

Dec. 10, 2011 at 6:10 a.m.
Updated Dec. 11, 2011 at 6:11 a.m.

Robert Griffin III addresses those in attendance at the Heisman Trophy presentation on Saturday night. He became the first player from Baylor to win the award.

Heisman Trophy Ballot

  1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
  2. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
  3. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

The first time I saw Robert Griffin III was at the 2007 state track and field meet in Austin.

Griffin was a junior at Copperas Cove and won the 110- and 300-meter hurdles in state-record time, while missing the national record in the 300 hurdles by one-hundredth of a second.

I was looking forward to watching him at the state meet as a senior.

Griffin wasn't at Mike A. Myers Stadium in 2008 because he graduated from high school at midterm and enrolled at Baylor so he could participate in spring football practice.

I was disappointed at the time, but Griffin's decision has proven to be the correct one.

He became the nation's youngest starting quarterback as a true freshman, took a redshirt after getting hurt three games into his second season, and was named the Big 12's offensive player of the year and comeback player of the year his sophomore season.

Griffin caught the nation's attention this season when he passed for 3,998 yards and 36 touchdowns with six interceptions, and rushed for 655 yards and seven touchdowns to lead Baylor to its first nine-win season since 1986.

The Bears are headed to the Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio to play Washington.

Griffin will be going as the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner.

Griffin didn't appear to be much more than an afterthought for the award when the season began.

Even a marketing campaign by the Baylor sports information department featuring RGIII trading cards wasn't likely to convince many voters.

Some college football analysts said a Baylor player couldn't win the award.

But Griffin III didn't need to say anything. All voters had to do was watch him play.

I was uncertain about my vote until I watched the Bears defeat Oklahoma for the first time.

Griffin threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Terrence Williams with 8 seconds left in the fourth quarter for the decisive points.

Griffin had to scramble to his left on the play before throwing the ball across the field to the back of the end zone.

"That play," Baylor coach Art Briles said in something of an understatement, was "not the way we drew it up."

Griffin missed the second half of Baylor's win over Texas Tech with a concussion before solidifying his selection by returning to lead the Bears to a convincing win over Texas.

My second selection was Alabama running back Trent Richardson, and Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck got my third-place vote.

Richardson did everything within his power to merit winning the award.

He was not to blame for Alabama's loss to LSU, and he may still help the Crimson Tide capture the national championship.

Luck had an outstanding season at Stanford, and is almost certain to be the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

But no one had a bigger impact on his team and the game than Griffin, who has put Baylor back on the college football map.

I didn't get to watch Griffin run at the state track and field meet a second time.

I am looking forward to watching him play football on television on Sundays.

Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361- 580-6588 or mforman@vicad.com, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.

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