The 10 Most Heisman Worthy Georgia Tech Players of the Decade
Over the past 10 years, there have been some high quality Georgia Tech football players that just never seem to get the attention they deserve.
High profile schools such as USC, Texas, and Florida always dominate the Heisman Hopeful charts, while Georgia Tech always plays second fiddle with many times superior players.
Here is a list of all the guys that we wish would have won these past 10 years.
I'm not saying that they deserved it over the actual winners, but how cool would it have been to actually have had these guys win?
10. P.J. Daniels, RB
How cool would it be to set the NCAA bowl game rushing record (307 yards and four touchdowns against Tulsa in 2003,) walk-on in 2002 and start the next year, and be named Prince?
P.J. sure was a blast to watch back in the day. A two-time all ACC running-back and is the fourth-leading rusher in Tech history, P.J. managed 16 100 yard games and 23 touchdowns.
Besides the aforementioned monstrous bowl game performance, P.J. had an outstanding performance against the Auburn Tigers in 2005, leading Tech to an upset victory.
9. Morgan Burnett, S
Not only does Burnett greatly resemble Green Bay Packers corner-back Al Harris, he was also just drafted by the same team in the third round.
Burnett, however, was an irreplaceable factor for the Yellow Jackets the past three seasons.
He had his breakout season in 2008, with seven interceptions, one being a key pick-six against Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford that set up a 45-42 comeback win over the Bulldogs.
In 2009, with the defense capable of breaking down at any moment, it seemed as if Morgan was there to save everybody's mistakes.
Watching every game, it looked like he should have had at least 500 tackles. The guy was everywhere, and was definitely Heisman worthy.
8. Durant Brooks, P
Durant Brooks was by far the best punter in Tech history. He won the Ray Guy award for punters in 2007, and was simply a beast.
We Tech fans had to rely on him to get us out of every sticky situation that Taylor Bennett put us in. Key punt: 77-yard boot against UNC out of his own end-zone.
He was drafted by the Redskins, where he probably was the best player on the team. Thank goodness he doesn't play on the team anymore—Paul Johnson's formula for success? Never punt the ball and it works, but good thing Durant had his time to shine when he did.
Should he have won the Heisman? Most definitely.
7. Michael Johnson, DE
Whenever I watched Michael Johnson play, I was confused many times between a ridiculously large human being and a giraffe.
His neck almost needed a helmet for itself! However, watching him block field goal after field goal, intercept passes, and make a fool out of running-backs and offensive lineman made Johnson one of the most prolific defensive ends Georgia Tech has ever seen.
I know most people would put Derrick Morgan here, but frankly, Johnson was just too large and in charge to not have been put on this list. And who could honestly forget that wingspan?
6. George Godsey, QB
Remember this guy? He was the predecessor to the great Joe Hamilton back in 2000.
He might have had large shoes to fill, and he might have looked goofy, but this guy was a great quarterback who was overshadowed by Hamilton's previous success.
He led Tech to be preseason contenders for the National Championship in 2001. He set Tech's career completion percentage (.633), and is third behind Shaun Jones and Joe Hamilton in virtually every other category.
He might not have been Heisman material compared to Hamilton, but give the guy credit where credit is due—being highly ranked in ACC annals is good enough for the trophy, right?
However, he didn't do so hot in the NFL, as he is currently an assistant to George O'Leary at UCF.
5. Philip Wheeler, LB
Notice that guy on the Colts running around tackling everybody in the Super Bowl this year? Yep, that was Philip Wheeler, one of the all-time best linebackers out of Georgia Tech.
This guy had Heisman written all over him. In 2007, he was on the watch list for the Bednarik, Nagurski, and Lombardi awards, and anytime this guy blitzed, it was sianara quarterback!
He is now a starter for the Colts, who are probably wondering the same question we are: where was this guy's Heisman?
4. Tashard Choice, RB
Where would we Yellow Jackets have been in 2006 and 2007 without Tashard?
Besides his awesome name, he was listed as a preseason Heisman candidate in 2007 after a stellar 2006 season.
However, due to him being Tech's only method of offense, the team wasn't nationally noted, and Choice got little media attention.
However, his numbers were still great, and he even had a passing touchdown to quarterback Taylor Bennett (one more than Bennett threw, actually.) He currently plays for the Dallas Cowboys, but I can't help but wonder if he watched Mark Ingram win the Heisman this year and thought, "That could have been me! Dangit Chain Gailey! Where was Paul Johnson when I played?!"
3. Jonathan Dwyer, RB
What a career this guy had.
I'll always remember playing him my junior year of high school and holding him to 62 yards rushing on the night.
I'll also remember him outrunning opponents by 62 yards every time he touched the football. He was the perfect "B-Back" for Johnson's triple-option offense, and was on the Heisman watch lists for the first few weeks of the 2009 season, as well as the Doak Walker award finalists, and winning the ACC Player of the Year in 2008.
On the first play of the year in 2009 against Jacksonville State, Dwyer took the ball, and was gone, 80 yards down the field. Every time this guy got the ball, we Tech fans expected miracles and we got them.
It was tough to see this potential first-rounder fall all the way to the sixth round to the Steelers, but we know he will perform in the NFL, and maybe even be on his way to a Super Bowl MVP.
P.S. Was his number a sign of great things to come?
2. Joshua Nesbitt, QB
Joshua Nesbitt is the picture perfect triple-option quarterback.
Chain Gailey could not have recruited a better guy to ultimately play in the new offensive system run by Paul Johnson.
The triple-option quarterback has to make split-second decisions, and time after time, Nesbitt always makes the right ones.
He is tough too, seeing as he has to take an abnormal amount of hits per game. He can also run with the ball super effectively, causing teams to either focus on the B-Back (in the past it was Dwyer,) the speedy A-Backs around the corner, or Nesbitt, who could run you over in a heartbeat.
The defining moment of his career came against Florida State in the 2009 season when he pitched the ball to A-Back Roddy Jones, who dropped it. The ball was picked up by a Florida State defender, but Nesbitt would have none of that.
He grabbed the ball from the defender, ripped it out of his hands, and on the next play he was off to the races, leading Tech to a 49-44 victory over the Seminoles.
Another key moment was during the Wake Forest game of the same season in which Nesbitt faked the hand-off to Dwyer and lurched forward for the winning touchdown rather than settling for the tying fieldgoal (see: picture.)
If Nesbitt doesn't win the Heisman next season, expect for many heads to turn in surprise. This guy defines excellence, and he shows it game after game.
1. Calvin Johnson
Possibly the greatest wide receiver to ever play college football, the fact that Calvin Johnson never won the Heisman was mind blowing.
Even though he had two of Tech's worst quarterbacks of all-time throwing to him, he still made miraculous catch after miraculous catch (in fact, maybe if he had good quarterbacks, we wouldn't have had the whole picture as to how great he really was, so we thank you Reggie and Taylor.)
His breakout performance against Clemson as a freshman solidified his stardom, and the sky was the limit from there on out.
He had a crazy good blend of height, athleticism, skill, and speed, and made opposing corner-backs look like Smurfs (especially in all those Boise, Idaho bowl appearances— come on, Calvin couldn't ever get a BCS bowl?)
Winning the Belitnikoff award for the nation's best wide receiver in 2007 and being drafted as the No. Two overall pick by the Lions after leaving early his junior year, Calvin Johnson was just too great to never have won the Heisman.