With the 77th Heisman Trophy awards ceremony approaching, Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, or RG3, appears to have gone from talented underdog to Heisman favorite.
Stiffarmtrophy.com, a website that has run a straw poll on Heisman voters for the past 10 years, predicts he will easily gain the votes needed to take home college footballs top prize on Saturday. This poll has never been wrong.
Overtaking players such as likely first overall draft pick Andrew Luck and Trent Richardson from No. 2-ranked Alabama will definitely bring criticism. While there are several candidates with strong arguments for the award, make no mistake: Griffin will be a very worthy recipient and is well deserving of all his recent accolades.
If it's numbers you like to see in a Heisman winner, RG3 has plenty. He finished the year throwing for 3,998 yards, 36 touchdowns and only six interceptions. With his feet he also accounted for 644 yards and nine touchdowns rushing. By comparison, Andrew Luck threw for 3,170 yards, 35 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
With a 192.3 passer efficiency rating, Griffin is poised to post the highest mark in college football history. His 72.4 passing percentage would also be the highest in history for a Heisman award winner. And for those would like to argue that this percentage is inflated by short dump-off passes, he averages 10.84 yards per pass attempt, more than any Heisman winner since Ty Detmer in 1991.
If it's value to a team that you think is important, Griffin has helped guide Baylor, once the laughingstock of the rugged Big 12, to a 9-3 finish. The last time Baylor had that many wins was 1986. This seasons success is not solely due to RG3, but anyone that has watched Baylor play can see that he is the leader and focal point of their offense.
Lastly, what often sticks in the minds of voters are the moments where a player shines under pressure. RG3 has an entire highlight reel of those.
For example, take Week 1's victory against No. 14 TCU. Not only did Griffin lead Baylor with pinpoint accuracy and 359 passing yards, but his 15-yard catch on third down, while being crushed between two defenders, ended up being one of the biggest plays of the game.
Later, with his team trailing 24-3 in the fourth quarter against Kansas, Griffin led a furious rally. With three long drives, covering 267 yards in an incredible 14 plays, Baylor was able to tie the game and eventually win in overtime.
With No. 5 Oklahoma visiting (a team Baylor had never beaten), Griffin had perhaps his most memorable game. Not only did he throw for a remarkable 479 yards against the vaunted Oklahoma defense, but with 51 seconds left in the game he led his team on a five-play, 80-yard drive, culminating in an astonishing 39-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Terrance Williams.
To wrap up his Heisman campaign last week, Griffin finished the season with a complete dismantling of No. 22 Texas. By passing for 320 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for another scores, he put the final stamp on his remarkable season.
Although other players may have reasonable cases for winning the Heisman, Griffin embodies what a Heisman Trophy winner should be.