CLEMSON -- There's talk of a Heisman campaign starting at Clemson.
The interesting thing is that quarterback Woody Dantzler isn't the first
Clemson player to be mentioned for a Heisman campaign this year. There were
some that said linebacker Keith Adams' name was being tossed around in the
football office for a possible run at the Heisman. Adams was supposed to
line up in the backfield a few times ala William Perry to get some publicity
That talk died down, but there's a Heisman campaign about to start up
It'll take some luck and some old fashioned politicking, but Woody Dantzler
now has a chance to sit on the front row of the Downtown Athletic Club
auditorium on Dec.9.
It's hard enough for a quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy - only one
quarterback has won it in the past seven years - and Dantzler is going to
have to come from behind the pre-season favorites to win the trophy. But if
he keeps producing eye-catching performances like he had Saturday against
Virginia (220 yards rushing, 154 yards passing), he has as good a chance as
any quarterback in college football of winning the trophy.
"I know Michael Vick is getting a push and rightly so," said Clemson coach
Tommy Bowden. "But if you look at the stats, then Woody has been more
productive. If you look at production, then shoot he ought to be considered.
If that's what it's based on. If it's based on last year's performance, the
I can see why the other guy is a candidate."
Nationally, Dantzler is No. 13 in rushing at 123.75 yards a game and he's
ranked No. 3 in passing efficiency. Through three games, Vick is averaging
73 yards a game rushing and isn't ranked in the passing statistics because
he has not attempted the minimum of 15 passes per game.
More than anything, both on and off the field, a Dantzler for Heisman
campaign would help keep the pressure off his teammates. On the field, if
Dantzler is drawing more attention, it's likely someone like wide receiver
Rod Gardner will be one-on-one against a poor defensive back.
Off the field, Dantzler appears ready to shoulder the media attention. Just
two years ago he looked as lost as the head cheerleader would have been
under center. But he kept his composure through the rough times and through
a season as Brandon Streeter's backup. He never campaigned for more playing
time, even though there were times when he moved the ball as well as
Streeter. He was content with working hard to improve and with the knowledge
that his time would come.
His time has certainly arrived and he's not handling it any differently than
he did the rough times that preceded it.
After Saturday's game he sidestepped any Heisman questions. He focused
instead on the lone interception he threw late in the game. "I don't know
what qualifies to be a Heisman Trophy candidate," he said. "I'm just a guy
on the team."
Even if Dantzler doesn't try to stick out as a Heisman candidate, it'll be
hard for him to keep the talk quiet.
About as hard as it has been to bring Dantzler down.