Toby Gerhart: A Portrait of Heisman Potential

TJ JenkinsAnalyst IDecember 10, 2009

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Toby Gerhart #7 of the Stanford Cardinal walks onto the field during their game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Stanford Stadium on November 28, 2009 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

To start, I'll ask you one simple question.

Does anyone exemplify the epitome of what a student athlete should be more-so than Stanford's Toby Gerhart?

Not only was he named to the PAC-10 All Academic Team, he is also on schedule to graduate early from Stanford.

But, as we all know most people don't want to hear the feel good story of the Norco, California product being leaps and bounds above all competition in high school and then succeeding academically at a prestigious college.

No, we want to hear about what the man can do on the football field for the Cardinal, and perhaps for an NFL suitor.

No. 7 has rushed for more yards than anyone in the nation (1,736 yards), he's scored more touchdowns than anyone (26), and his team's success falls on his shoulders more than anyone. Not to mention his ridiculous average of 5.6 yards per carry.

In two of Stanford's losses Gerhart had 17 and 20 against Wake Forest and Cal, respectively. During the Cal game he got into the endzone an amazing four times. That's right, every fifth time he touched the ball, the referees were extending their arms to the sky.

Stanford lost both of those games, in no small part due to the lack of touches that the Heisman hopeful received.

In five games this year the Cardinal scored 40 or more points. In every single one of those games the truck of a running back carried the ball nearly 30 times per game.

See the connection? Give Gerhart the ball and you win. Don't give him the ball and you lose. Simple enough, right?

Over the course of this season and his career as a whole he's set the bar high for PAC-10 running backs, and for Stanford running backs as a whole.

Perhaps the one intangible that everyone looks for in both a Heisman finalist and a future pro prospect is heart.

Look no further, the man has "hart" in his name. And in his blood. Watch him take the handoff and count the number of defenders that it takes to bring him down. Then try and tell me that all of that determination when running the ball isn't due to an enormous amount of heart and a little bit of pride for his own body of work.

Not to mention the fact that he could be playing professional baseball at the present moment, but instead chose to forgo the MLB draft and chose to return for his senior season of football for the Cardinal.

On Saturday, he'll be traveling to New York with other Heisman finalists Tim Tebow, Mark Ingram, Colt McCoy, and Ndamukong Suh to see the results of his hard work, and hopefully to see his dream come to fruition. He'll hope to become the first Stanford player since Jim Plunkett to win the Heisman trophy.


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