|Heisman favorites Tebow and McFadden hold court in Big Apple|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 07 December 2007 15:57|
When Darren McFadden walked through the door he glanced at the Florida quarterback, then stood quietly in the background, shifting from foot to foot for a few awkward moments before someone ushered him into an adjoining bedroom.
Quite the remarkable turn of events, that the Gators' sophomore who had never started a game before this season is capturing most of the attention while the Arkansas running back, who was the Heisman Trophy runner-up last season, stands in the shadows.
``It's very exciting to me still,'' said McFadden, who along with Tebow is considered the Heisman favorite when the award is presented Saturday night. ``If I can do the Heisman ceremony 100 times, I'd feel like I had the same feeling every time, because it's very exciting and it's a prestigious award.''
Any sense of been there, done that on this trip to New York?
``Nah,'' McFadden said, ``I can't say that because I haven't won anything yet.''
The numbers are certainly worthy, just as they were when McFadden finished behind Ohio State's Troy Smith last year.
The bruising back with the blinding speed ran for 1,725 yards in 12 games, more than he did in 14 games last season, and threw four touchdown passes while occasionally lining up at quarterback in the Razorbacks' creative offense.
When asked why he believed he should win - and make no mistake, McFadden believes he should - his answer comes as straightforward as his running style: ``Shoot, LSU, South Carolina. Those two games speak for themselves.''
McFadden ran for 206 yards and three touchdowns in triple-overtime victory over then-No. 1 LSU, and had an SEC-record 321 yards rushing against the Gamecocks the first weekend of November.
``It will be a big disappointment to me if I don't win,'' said McFadden, who wouldn't say whether the outcome would be a factor in deciding to come back for his senior season. ``I feel like I put a lot of hard work into this year and I feel like it's something I really deserve.''
The problem is, Tebow and fellow finalists Colt Brennan from Hawaii and Chase Daniel from Missouri also have strong resumes - Tebow perhaps better than anybody else.
He became the first player in NCAA history to run for at least 20 touchdowns and pass for at least 20 in the same season. He has the Florida single-season record for total offense and the conference mark for rushing touchdowns in a season.
``It's the single greatest individual award you can get, so it would mean a lot,'' said Tebow, who would be the first freshman or sophomore to win the bronze statue. ``It's something that you're going to be known as the Heisman winner your whole life.''
When asked who he believes should win the Heisman, the famously humble Tebow smiles and delivers a more diplomatic, if unlikely, answer: Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin.
Chances are, though, it will be either McFadden or Tebow, the two stars from the SEC - one who said last year he'd be back, the other promising more good things ahead.
As McFadden slips back out the door on the 43rd floor of the Hilton, having answered every question a half-dozen reporters could muster in 15 minutes, Tebow keeps going. It's already been an hour and there's no sign he'll be done anytime soon.
``It's very nerve-racking'' McFadden said, smiling, ``because you don't know who's going to win. When they get up there and they announce the name, it's going to be the worst part of it, because your heart is going to jump out of your chest.''