There has been everlasting talk of Cam Newton, arguably the best player in the nation, a singular superjock with godlike cleats for polishing as the greatest candidate for any award on the collegiate level, currently an adorable Heisman hopeful on Saturday when the prestigious stiffed-armed trophy is expected to be distributed in his favor.
On Tuesday night in Lake Buena Vista on the Boardwalk in Disney World, he realized that dreams come true at a magical locale, sporting a tailor-made black suit along with an orange tie and sauntered onto the stage in front of thousands.
The speculation of a distinguished star that was born in Auburn turns immense, after he was named the recipient of the Maxwell Award and Davey O'Brien Award, an indicator of which it could have been a preview of another gratifying evening.
If there's one way to relight romance in such a turbulent season, such as erasing the gloom of madness swirling around his image, it would be to win the Heisman in a landslide.
It's too often, in a sense, that an athlete's allegations or poor judgment away from the field is misguided. It's too often, in a way, that we ignore an athlete's accomplished feats on the field, as the disappointing missteps creates a ruckus to stain believability or even the university's reputation.
In the thrust of his scandal, he's not the most likable player, considering that the NCAA eligibility ruling relieved much uncertainty and enriched his Heisman status, allowing him to play without the system inflicting a severe sanction. It's easy to assume we can vote for the junior quarterback, the respected superstar and cornerstone at Auburn University, known as the famous legend in a town where fans lift signs that read "YES WE CAM!!"
The palatability of this annual voting is that fans have either rallied behind Newton or disregarded the sensational player, once the criticism of the NCAA's ruling left most of the nation in angst or disgust. Just this week, as we want to believe that Newton is beyond any infractions and instead an immaculate individual, he received 203 first-place votes, roughly 62.2 percent.
But the saddest issue of this special acknowledgement is that he was overlooked by 17.4 percent of voters, scorned dearly of his troubles to which he hardly bared a shred of specifics, given that skeptics had grudges and denounced his incredible breakthrough blinded by the negative publicity which could cost him the noble award. Yet increasingly, it's still imaginable that he acquires much commendation for such a monstrous season.
In the next month, when USC seeks relief for the penalties levied following the Reggie Bush investigation, the university won't ponder demanding an explanation for why Auburn quarterback was allowed a free pass or wasn't hit with sanctions. But from his success, he is expected to join the list of iconic legends in the past, even if cues from the NCAA present that Newton's father, Cecil, auctioned his son for money.
As an intense Heisman Watch so incredibly grabs our attention, it reminds us of the three other candidates anyway. Such are Oregon's explosive tailback LaMichael James, who recently just led the Ducks to an improbable BCS National Championship game; Stanford's Andrew Luck; and Boise State's Kellen Moore.
And, not surprisingly, James had been named the new Doak Walker Award winner. But he's really humbled for a greater opportunity, on the same stage in honor of the most glorified trophy and he gladly arrived to New York on Friday afternoon, filled with excitement and self-belief. With the Ducks appearance in the national setting on Jan. 10, millions of casual fans and observers will be introduced to James if they haven't already been aware of his rushing capacity, leading the nation in rushing yards.
"It means everything to the program, to the community," James said at a brief conference at the Marriott at Times Square. "We're going to the national championship. I think that means more."
Is he the fastest guy in the Heisman conversation? I'd like to think so.
Every so often, he's regarded as the foreign of college football, but it's hard to deny that he's a gifted runner. And the only thing in his way is Newton or Luck, despite that he set a school record for total touchdowns in a season (22), and led the Ducks to an undefeated season. Even as one of the nation's best, he's exactly embracing this moment with a modest attitude, willing to give the nod to Newton gracefully and thoughtfully.
"I don't care what happens off the field. Whatever that situation was, to me he's still the best player in the country," James said Wednesday at the College Football Awards media conference. "I would vote for him."
Even in a place like New York, where the media outlets are critical as well as most inquisitive reporters, are curious to ask Newton troublesome questions, such as details in relations to his veiling scandal. For once, his merit of worthiness for the prize that represents integrity veered when the investigation ended. Asked how he feels without his father in attendance:
"It hurts," Newton said. "That's the decision he made, he's doing it for the betterment of me, his son. I think that's a good thing. Whatever his decision is, I'm all for it."
He's as much an admirer of his father, even if Newton's father shamefully tried selling his own son as the most popular football star these days, acknowledged that he was unaware and had no ties or even communicated with any universities. Despite all of this commotion, he repeatedly alluded to that he loves his father, but more importantly, he wasn't distraught of his father's involvement of breaking the rules just to pocket money.
And again, in all genuineness, his father, Cecil, announced that he's not attending the ceremony as a way to reduce a distraction or worse a media frenzy on the night his son could celebrate a memorable moment in bliss if he is named the next Heisman winner. The festivities of this weekend, for all four players, is inexplicably highlighted by their outstanding performances to shine the spotlight on their schools, as Newton led the Tigers to one of its historical finishes in school history.
Not in recent memory, amid so much turmoil, has an admonishing quarterback from Auburn maintained the mentality or unflappability to lead the Tigers to an inconceivable 13-0 finish. As overwhelming as it seems that he's the frontrunner to claim college football's most prestigious award, ever since he was reinstated the eligibility, the suspense minimized vastly with Newton, a 6-foot-6, 250-pound player who has excellent stamina and agility.
This is important, on all levels, because of his nonpareil efficiency and versatility, proficient of making a defender miss in the open field. If so, from there, he's almost untouchable and becomes a force to be reckoned with. Better yet, he's a nimble pocket passer, always hitting a receiver downfield and certainly has been one of the most charismatic quarterbacks with strength to deliver in a prevailing pass attack.
In fact, as it happened, he leads the nation in passing efficiency, but is ranked 15th overall in the rushing department. And now, as Newton elevates his Heisman hopes to engrave a shred of history and hopefully put aside the burdens, he has run for a mere 1,409 yards and 20 touchdowns and has thrown for 2,589 yards and 28 touchdowns.
It was truly a season filled with a lot of disruptions surrounding Newton's status, but he played aggressively and energized the Tigers to clinch a berth in the grandest game in college football.
"I think he's the greatest one-year quarterback that I've seen in college football," said former Georgia coach Vince Dooley.
All over football, for some, Luck is the essence of an NFL-ready quarterback, but he's not projected to steal the Heisman, even if he's in the running for fascinating Stanford's vertical passing game. This is because, obviously, Luck is a factor as coach Jim Harbaugh elaborated on, flattered of his mobility and precision, all the essentials an NFL franchise takes a liking to.
This from a man who is eligible for the 2011 NFL Draft, nonetheless, he could potentially spend his junior year at Stanford if the NFL unravels and is afflicted by an ugly lockout. Almost as nice as it felt to witness a gunslinger, Luck is seventh in the nation in passing efficiency and he threw for 3,051 yards, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Newton, one of the many quarterbacks on a unique level who is a proper candidate to place money on the table in a sporting bet, is the feel-good story which I believe the voters prefer a feel-good story.