Mark Ingram Shoulders Another Mighty Load: Dignity of the Heisman

Jonathan KelleyCorrespondent ISeptember 15, 2010

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 12:  Running back Mark Ingram #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide poses with the Heisman Trophy during a press conference after being named the 75th Heisman Trophy winner at the Marriott Marquis on December 12, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

It is not fair to say that the dignity and prestige of sport's greatest award lie squarely on the shoulders of Mark Ingram, but in a way it does.

With Reggie Bush returning his trophy and the Heisman Trophy Trust's decision to leave 2005 vacant, the award and its winners will be looked on in a new light.

No one knows how the view of the Heisman will change for better or worse, but change is a certainty.

This will mean that Mark Ingram will be at the forefront of Heisman representation starting Saturday.

With all former winners either retired or pursing professional careers, Mark Ingram will be the symbol of the Heisman Trophy throughout the college football season.

Ingram, a young man from Flint, Mich., a champion, and a very humble young man, will now have to carry the Heisman banner.

It will not matter that he is coming off of an injury or that he will split carries with Trent Richardson. It will not be his on-field performance that will count the most.

It will instead be his character and heart that will be on the minds of all college football fans and writers.

Since he made his emotional speech back in December, Mark Ingram has held a special place in most fans' hearts.

It will be how he carries himself this season that will shape the view of this prestigious award.

It will not matter if Alabama wins or loses this year, but how he handles the wins and losses. How he leads his peers, handles the media, and most importantly, handles the temptations that surround all elite athletes.

Today is a dark day for the Heisman fraternity, but it is not without hope. The Heisman Trust will be in the hands of an honorable young who rarely drops the ball.