COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -Despite playing in less than half of his team's games so far, Ohio State tailback Chris ``Beanie'' Wells still thinks he can win the Heisman Trophy.
``I honestly think I can be the best player in college football,'' Wells said during preparations for the 14th-ranked Buckeyes' game at No. 18 Wisconsin on Saturday night.
Wells injured his right foot in the season opener against Youngstown State and missed the next three games. He returned last week to rush for 106 yards in the Buckeyes' 34-21 Big Ten-opening victory over Minnesota.
He's the team's third-leading rusher, with 27 carries for 217 yards and one touchdown.
But that doesn't mean he's not shooting for the award won a year ago by current Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.
n college football. Plain and simple.''
Wells rushed for 1,609 yards and 15 touchdowns a year ago and wasn't in the top 10 in the Heisman voting. Missing three full games (and almost a half of another) would seem to all but eliminate him from consideration this time too, particularly since the Buckeyes lost 35-3 at Southern California three weeks ago without him and may not be even in the chase for the national championship.
He has not played in the required 75 percent of his team's games to be listed in the NCAA rushing statistics, although his 108.5 yards per game would put him 20th-best in the country.
Wells, who is wearing a heavy set of linemen's cleats to protect his foot, was understandably excited about playing in the win over Minnesota after spending the previous month watching from the sidelines.
``He made some good vision moves and there were some times in the game that I felt a little bit like it was at the beginning of the year and he was so anxious to get the ball that he didn't have quite the patience,'' Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said of Wells' return. ``But as the carries mounted, you could see that he got more comfortable and a little bit less excited and a little bit more cerebral about what he was trying to do.''
Wells, who couldn't plant on his right foot in the weeks leading up to the game, even went airborne on one carry.
d to go up the middle, Wells made a nifty cut at the line to avoid traffic, then rumbled down the field and hurdled diving defender Kyle Theret on the way to a 21-yard pickup.
Wide receiver Brian Robiskie was throwing a block and had his back turned to the play, so he didn't know what had happened. When he got back to the huddle, he asked Wells.
``So I'm wondering, why's everybody cheering and he was like, 'You didn't see? I just hurdled this kid,''' Robiskie said with a grin. ``I said, 'What do you mean you hurdled a kid? You don't do that.' He was like, 'No, no, no. You didn't see it. I was like 8 feet in the air!'''
It was more like 4 feet, but no matter. That's another example of how confident Wells is of what he can do. So it's no wonder he doesn't think the Heisman is out of reach.
Wells said he's still only about 75 percent healthy. But he's enthusiastic about Ohio State's offense, now that he's back and speedy freshman Terrelle Pryor has taken over at quarterback.
``Terrelle was actually over to my house last night for a few hours. We were just talking,'' he said. ``That guy, the passion he has for football is just incredible. I'm just so excited to be in the backfield with him.''
to see.''

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