Last week, Dan answered a very interesting question- which past Heisman winner would you want on Penn State? Several of us put on our thinking caps to figure out which of the 75 members of the most elite fraternity in college sports would be the biggest asset for the 2012 Nittany Lions. As always, your selections are welcome in the comments.
Cari: For the 2012 Nittany Lions, one of the most polarizing football teams to ever be fielded, why not pick one of the most polarizing football players in recent memory?
That’s right, I’m taking Tim Tebow. Love him or hate him, there’s rarely an in-between. With our myriad of problems at the quarterback position, it seems logical to me to pick a signal caller that, while not traditional, has the ability to carry the team on his back and will them to victory. Who better to rally the team to have the fortitude withstand whatever criticism is thrown at them than Tebow? If I was going for more traditional signal-callers that would fit into BOB’s system, I’d probably pick Sam Bradford. But I’m looking for someone with the emotional character to unify this team, and drive them to victory when everyone’s rooting against them, in addition to being a pretty swell athlete. Truth be told, I’d take MRob over either (he could fill the Tebow role quite nicely), but as we’re limited to former Heisman winners, Tebow will have to be 2012’s SEC version of Michael Robinson.
Jared: This may not be a popular opinion around these parts, but I am going with Charles Woodson. I was tempted to select a quarterback, but with a very thin secondary why not take a cornerback who is arguably the best DB in the history of college football? The amazing thing about Woodson was that he had the ability to completely shut down his half of the field. The 1997 Michigan defense may be the best of my lifetime. In '98, they returned every starter besides Woodson, yet were a far cry from the previous year. I have never seen a single player that had that much of an overall impact. Also, inserting him as a receiver or returner can instantly change a game. He had the explosiveness to dictate an entire defensive coordinator's gameplan, even if he only saw a few offensive snaps each game.
Mike: Leon Hart is regarded as one of the best linemen to ever play the game, only one of two non-backs to win the Heisman Trophy. Penn State needs a quarterback. It needs defensive backs. But I'll tell you what would really go far in 2012--a devastatingly awesome offensive lineman. Hart played the versatile "end" spot for the Irish, blocking and tackling, but also running the end-around play and even out of the fullback spot (think Aaron Hernandez vs Denver). Hart was voted All-American three of his four seasons at Notre Dame, as the Irish never lost a game while he was on the field. Hart was drafted by the Lions in 1950, voted All-Pro on both offense and defense during his second season, while Detroit won four divisional titles and three NFL Championships. Hart would give Penn State the kind of dominant, versatile offensive lineman that could control the entire line of scrimmage.
This eliminates all winners since, I don't know...a lot of them. So, by process of elimination, I humbly nominate Roger Staubach, Captain Comeback, Captain America. He can run. He can throw. He has a knack for leadership, and a flair for the dramatic. Bill O'Brien could coach him up, and perhaps a little of Roger's great American hero-ness could rub off, and lift our spirits.
Keith: Reggie Bush. In 2005, we lost one game, to Michigan 27-25 and finished #3. If we had Reggie Bush, perhaps we wouldn't have put up an 0-fer in the first half and would have finished undefeated. Although, given the posturing of the NCAA, maybe they'd be stripping us of that National Title.
Tim: My pick? Danny Wuerffel. To me, he was the face of Steve Spurrier's Fun 'n Gun offenses at Florida back in the mid-90s when they would routinely rack up 40-50 points a game (or so it seemed to middle-school aged Tim). To this day, I still recall watching in awe as he picked apart the Florida State secondary with such surgical precision in the 1997 Sugar Bowl, which led to the Gators' lone national title under Spurrier. I realize Bill O'Brien's offense isn't exactly a Fun 'n Gun type, but one key concept they share is the QB getting the ball in space to his playmakers on short to medium passing routes and letting them turn it into a hefty gain or a TD. Given PSU's QB woes of the past couple years, someone like Wuerffel should help fill in the void. That, and I'm totally not a conformist, otherwise I would've picked Sam Bradford.
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