It’s time to play (Insert Michigan player here) for Heisman. In just three weeks time, two Michigan players have already been mentioned as top Heisman Trophy contenders.
So here’s how the game works. John Navarre and Chris Perry are not acceptable answers, but basically anyone else will work, as long as you can justify it.
Let’s start with Pierre Rembert. The third-string running back gets limited playing time toward the ends of games, but he’s a touchdown machine. He’s already run for three scores on just 12 carries, giving him the best carry-to-touchdown ratio in the nation. Eat your heart out, Perry (ratio of more than 11). Strike the pose, Pierre. Strike the pose.
What about Andy Mignery? He doesn’t have any catches yet this season, but anybody who makes a transition from quarterback to tight end should be up for the Heisman.
The receiving corps also may have some Heisman hopefuls. While the passing game has struggled a bit, the play of Jason Avant and Carl Tabb against Notre Dame was encouraging. Both had success on the play action, and it seems as though Navarre is looking to get the ball to them, as well as his main target Braylon Edwards.
And special teams has drastically improved from last season and has been a big part of Michigan’s success so far. Steve Breaston has brought excitement to the Big House. Although he hasn’t quite taken it to the house yet, he came close against Notre Dame and is on the verge of doing it any game now. He should be up for the Heisman this year. Forget that whole “before he graduates” idea.
Now although they haven’t been tested, corners Jeremy LeSueur and Markus Curry should be up for the Heisman. With Marlin Jackson now playing safety, these two have really begun to bear down and improve their man-to-man coverage. Curry even came away with an acrobatic interception against the Irish.
Moving on, we can’t overlook the play of Michigan’s linebackers. Pierre Woods, Carl Diggs and Lawrence Reid should all be Heisman candidates. Every time you look up, one of them is around the ball – they’ve been relentless in their pursuits. Houston only had 74 yards on the ground, and Notre Dame could only manage 49. Much of that is due to the linebackers.
The success of Navarre and Perry is largely due to the players blocking for them – who should all be up for the Heisman. The offensive line has annihilated whoever comes in its way, so Tony Pape, David Baas, Dave Pearson, Adam Stenavich and Matt Lentz for Heisman. “The Casanova line” has overpowered opponents with not only its size and strength, but also its superior technique and ability to help each other out.
Since Jackson and Ernest Shazor made their return against Houston, the defense has been as sharp and fast as ever. Just ask Houston wide receiver Vincent Marshall, who was laid out by these two guys and fumbled the ball in the first quarter of the game. I bet Marshall thinks one of them should take home the trophy.
The point is, it’s still early in the season, and everyone is playing up to potential right now. If this is to be the dream season that every Michigan football player wants, they have to continue playing at this high level.
Although there is no chance for most of these players to win the Heisman – or even be considered a candidate for that matter – they do have a chance to do something special as a unit.
And bringing that championship trophy back to Ann Arbor probably matters more to each one than bringing home the Heisman.
Naweed Sikora is putting himself up for the Heisman, too, after two solid weeks of football coverage. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.