COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio State fans would love to have tailback Chris ``Beanie'' Wells win the Heisman Trophy this season. For two reasons.
First, what fans wouldn't want one of their favorite players to win the top individual honor in college football? But more importantly, they want to see Wells win it so that 2007 winner Florida quarterback Tim Tebow doesn't repeat.
That would preserve the distinction of Ohio State's Archie Griffin as the only two-time winner of the award.
``I'm sure they're rooting for me for both reasons,'' Wells said with a laugh on Friday.
Griffin remains an iconic figure in Ohio's heartland, a smallish guy with a big heart who slashed and dashed for 5,589 yards from 1972 to 1975, capturing the Heisman his final two seasons.
He remains above the fray when it comes to denying Tebow a second Heisman.
``I've heard that quite a bit, actually,'' he said. ``But as I've said for a long time, records are meant to be broken. I certainly thought that by this time someone would have won it twice.''
Griffin admires Tebow - just a junior, so a threat to become the first three-time winner - and considers him a very worthy recipient. At the same time, he doesn't try to hide his allegiance to his alma mater, admitting that he'd like to see an Ohio State running back bring the award back to Columbus for a record-setting eighth time.
``He certainly is a viable candidate,'' Griffin said of Wells, a 6-foot-1, 237-pound junior who rushed for 1,609 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2007. ``I thought that the way he ran a year ago was extremely impressive. I thought maybe he should have gotten some consideration even last year.''
Wells is awed by the fact his name is even brought up when the conversation turns to the Heisman.
``It's an honor and a blessing to even be mentioned in the same sentence with the Heisman Trophy,'' he said. ``For guys like Archie to say something like that, that's incredible.''
In his first year as a starter, Wells served notice that he was special.
nd both touchdowns in a 14-3 win over rival Michigan.
Wells then literally turned a lot of heads in the Bowl Championship Series title game when he opened the scoring by bursting through a slit in the left side and outrunning LSU's speedy secondary on a 65-yard touchdown sprint. In a game in which almost every facet of Ohio State's offense was stifled by the Tigers defense in a 38-24 defeat, Wells managed 146 yards on 20 carries.
No wonder a lot of people are thinking that he has a good shot of unseating Tebow.
Wells, who went through a grueling offseason conditioning program to strengthen and condition himself, has only the utmost respect for the Florida quarterback.
``He's a great athlete,'' he said. ``Tim Tebow is the type of guy who works hard. I'm sure he's working his butt off to get a second one.''
Just as Wells has been to get his first.
Griffin said he won't be upset if Tebow wins it again. He said his unofficial title will just have to be changed a little.
``You know what? You can always say you're the first (to win two),'' he said with a laugh.
Griffin, now president and CEO of Ohio State's alumni association, says he has faith that the Heisman voters will get it right.
``If Tim Tebow has the kind of season that's deserving of another Heisman, then let him have it. He's an outstanding young man and he's done some tremendous things on the football field and in the community,'' Griffin said. ``But that's what it boils down to: the best man wins.''

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