There are years where no one takes charge of the Heisman race and it remains wide open right down to the wire. No offense to Alabama’s Mark Ingram, but last year was such a year. And then there are years where one individual has a magical season and clearly establishes themselves as the best player in the nation. 2010 is such a year, and the name of the player is Auburn quarterback Cam Newton.
In fact, not only is Newton firmly established as the Heisman frontrunner, but he’s having a season of historical proportions, rewriting the Auburn University football record book in the process. Like many Heisman winners before him, Newton had a specific play that many believe will turn out be his “signature” moment, a play that has been seen over and over on the highlight reels and that epitomizes the unique talent of the player. In Newton’s case this was a twisting-turning 49 yard touchdown run against LSU, one of the fastest and best defenses in college football. The young quarterback’s unique combination of size, speed and balance were all on display as he tore through a couple of would-be tacklers, almost lost his balance, corrected himself with one arm, accelerated downfield, and dragged another defender with him into the end zone. Fittingly, this same touchdown run also established two remarkable new records, the all-time Auburn touchdown record and the all-time SEC rushing record for a quarterback.
Let the record show that Newton can throw the rock as well, which his 187.77 quarterback rating certainly attests to. At 6-6, 250 lbs., Newton is an NFL scout’s dream. The Georgia product and former backup to Tim Tebow at Florida is big and fast, with a cannon for an arm. Opponents who have tried to stack up against the run have paid the price dearly to the tune of 1,890 yards and 19 throwing TDs against only 5 picks for the Auburn quarterback. Essentially, nobody seems to know how to defend this guy. No offense to the remainder of the Auburn team, they’re certainly extremely athletic and the defensive line is outstanding, but the fact that they’re undefeated and currently ranked #1 in the BCS is all about Cam Newton. Certain teams have outplayed the Tigers in other phases of the game and had Auburn on the ropes, but Cam Newton always seems to make a play that makes the difference.
That said, nothing comes easy in the SEC. The 2010 Auburn football schedule features no shortage of tough challenges in the coming weeks, and Auburn Tigers tickets continue to be hot sellers. They’ll face Georgia leading up to the big rivalry showdown with Alabama. And if they come out of that gauntlet intact they’ll face another national power in the SEC Championship Game. Newton may face a personal challenge as well in the form of allegations of past misdeeds. At the current time nothing has been proven and Newton remains eligible, but investigations are reportedly underway. College fans everywhere, and at Auburn in particular, remain hopeful that the accusations against Newton are unfounded and that he’ll remain on the field as the Tigers are battle for a spot in Glendale, Arizona for the BCS National Championship Game.