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Step Aside Sam Bradford, Daryll Clark Deserves a Seat at the Table

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 06:  Quarterback Daryll Clark #17 of the Penn State Nittany Lions during play against the Oregon State Beavers at Beaver Stadium on September 6, 2008 in State College, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Pete DymeckAnalyst ISeptember 7, 2009

The 2009 Heisman Trophy race was expected to be a three man race between Florida's Tim Tebow, Texas's Colt McCoy, and Oklahoma's Sam Bradford.

After injuring his shoulder in a loss versus Brigham Young, and with no definitive timetable for his return, Sam Bradford, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, has all but dropped out of the race.

The seat left vacant by Bradford should be reserved for Penn State's Daryll Clark.

Since 2000, eight of the nine Heisman Trophy winners have been quarterbacks.

As it appears right now, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner will be a quarterback, whether it is Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, or somebody else.

Daryll Clark is the heart and soul of the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Backed by a strong rushing attack and a good defense, Clarkled Penn State to an 11-2 record in 2008, his first year as the starter.

He passed for 2,597 yards while accounting for a total of 29 touchdowns for the Nittany Lions.

Daryll Clark was just 82 yards short of breaking the all-time record for passing yards in a single season at Penn State, set by Kerry Collins in 1994. Collins was invited to the Heisman Trophy Ceremony as a nominee then.

Still, those numbers may pale in comparison to Tim Tebow or Colt McCoy's a year ago, but the winds of change are starting to blow in from the east.

This past Saturday, at home versus Akron, Clark threw his name into the Heisman discussion with a great performance in basically one half of play.

He completed 72.5% of his passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns.

He was 46 yards shy of breaking Penn State's all-time record of passing yards in a single game (Zack Mills vs. Iowa, September 28, 2002).

With a soft non-conference schedule against schools without a lot of help defensively, Clark could be on his way to breaking records at Penn State.

Clark's dependence on Heisman recognition will come with Penn State's success on the gridiron.

If Clark can lead Penn State to an undefeated season in 2009 and break a record or two, there will be no reason to leave him out of New York City when the Heisman Trophy is presented this December.

Of course, other players are going to compete with Clark to takeover Sam Bradford's seat at the Heisman table, namely Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead and California running back Jahvid Best.

The x-factor for Clark will be that he made himself a candidate for the Heisman Trophy with a fresh crop of wide receivers that entered 2009 with very limited experience on Saturdays.

The bottom line is that the void left by Sam Bradford, after an untimely injury, should be filled by none other than Daryll Clark.

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