Dear Andre

Dear Andre,

You didn’t win the Heisman, and I don’t think anyone is that surprised, not even you. Now, there are going to be plenty of people who will say that Jameis Winston was the obvious choice all along, but I’m not sure that I agree with them. At the same time, there are bound to be Boston College fans chiming in, saying that you deserved that award, and I don’t think I really agree with them either.

Sure, you did what you could. You grounded and pounded your name into national recognition, without so much national TV time, with your consistent efforts that were, week in and week out, painful to watch in the best way—viewers could almost feel the lactic acid building up in their own legs as your carries kept coming.

You rushed for 2,102 yards—and not many can say that they’ve matched that. You won the Doak Walker award, and did so while maintaining outstanding humility and character. The Heisman Trophy was never yours to take, though.

Over the last few years, as I have developed an awareness of the goings-on in college football, and I have experienced a loss of innocence that allows me to see the Heisman in a new light. At this point, I think a name change is appropriate: “The BCS Top-25 Most Valuable Quarterback Trophy” seems about right. I’m sorry, Andre, but you satisfy none of those qualifications.

You were in a pool of impressive candidates. From last year’s winner, Johnny Manziel, who made history as the first redshirt freshman to take the trophy home, to the charismatic, animated Jameis Winston, the eventual winner, who broke records at Florida State and for the ACC in passing touchdowns (38) and the national freshman record for passing yards (3,820).

Tre Mason, the only other running back in contention, came from the nation’s No. 2 team after bursting into national recognition during the high-profile SEC Championship game, and Jordan Lynch rushed for just over 200 fewer yards than you did—from the quarterback position.

So Andre, the award was never going to be yours. The other players were on national television week after week, with voters following the story lines of the top-caliber teams that they played for faithfully. BC’s record of 7-5, while a huge turnaround from last year, doesn’t hold up, especially when you consider the fact that seven of BC’s games didn’t make national television. These individuals propelled their teams to BCS Bowls, even the National Championship. In this case, the AdvoCare V100 Bowl isn’t going to cut it. Just ask Ka’Deem Carey.

When people say that you deserved the Heisman Trophy, Andre, they’ll be talking about a different aspect of it, one that I’m not sure has its place on the award mission statement.

Does the award go to the most outstanding player in college football? If so, my vote would go to Winston. He had me convinced with his last second Hail Mary against BC at the end of the first half. Ironic, when we’re talking about a Heisman winner’s defining moment? I think Doug Flutie will forgive me.

But there is a line in the mission statement of the award that distracts from its purpose.

“The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.”

So, Andre: pursuit of excellence with integrity? In that case, my vote goes to you. No distractions, no flare, just 2,102 yards and stiff-arm here and there, not to mention a degree from a top university in 3.5 years.

You didn’t get the votes, though. Why? Because the award is in place to celebrate the best player in college football, regardless of what fluff they choose to put in the mission statement, and that I fully support.

Thank you, though, for setting an example. Thank you for taking a BC program that many had forgotten about and putting it back on the map, even if your graduation came too early to help the team make the complete turnaround.

Thank you for believing in virtue and humility in a sport crowded with egos. While you may not have been the perfect Heisman candidate, you showed the nation a player who is soft-spoken and mellow off the field can be a powerful force on the field, and stand with the best of them.

December 14, 2013