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No Henry! Give it to Reynolds

by Charles Whisnand
cwhisnand@nevadaappeal.com

My unabashed hatred of the SEC may be clouding my judgement and yes it would be a sentimental choice, but Navy’s Keenan Reynolds should win the Heisman Trophy.

Reynolds likely won’t even be a Heisman finalist when ESPN (already got my hatred of ESPN into the second paragraph of this column) wastes our time with an hour-long show since only 30 seconds are needed to award the Heisman when it’s presented on Dec. 12. My guess is Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey and Alabama’s Derrick Henry will be the four Heisman finalists present for the dog-and-pony show.

What a cool sight it would be, though, if Reynolds played his final collegiate game against Army that day on Dec. 12 and then flew to New York City to collect his Heisman that night?

With one weekend to go in the season, Henry is the frontrunner to win the Heisman, especially after his performance against Auburn Saturday.

If Reynolds isn’t going to win the Heisman, here’s hoping McCaffrey wins ahead of Henry after also putting up more than 200 yards of total offense against Notre Dame. McCaffrey also broke Reggie Bush’s Pac 12 record for most total yards in a season, so he has a good argument to win the Heisman, although he’s scored far less touchdowns than Henry.

But Reynolds has stats comparable to Henry. He’s scored 23 TDs and has 1,663 total yards. And he will likely break Montee Ball’s all-time career record for touchdowns against Army, which in my opinion, should count for something when it comes to the Heisman voting.

I admit it’s a subjective thing and there are those who say the Heisman is for the player who has had the best season. But it’s not unprecedented for the Heisman to be awarded to a player who’s had an outstanding career. (See Tim Brown, 1987, Ernie Davis, 1961). And of the leading Heisman candidates, none has had the career Reynolds has.

Roger Staubach said he’s voting for Reynolds and maybe he’s biased since he won the Heisman at Navy in 1963. And I must admit a huge reason why I would vote for Reynolds is the fact he’s entering the military after he graduates.

Staubach was recently quoted in the Washington Post: “If the voters carefully read the mission of the Heisman Trophy, the first person that should come to mind is Keenan Reynolds.”

Also, Reynolds’ performance against Houston Friday in which he had more than 400 yards of total offense was a Heisman-worthy performance.

Am I looking at this with my heart instead of my head? Probably. But there’s also been no player who has played with more heart than Reynolds. And the first sentence of that Heisman mission states: “The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.”

Based on that, Reynolds deserves the Heisman.

Things we can do without in sports:

■ Another SEC player winning the Heisman.

■ Teams that insist on throwing the ball 40 yards when they need five yards. When you need five yards, get six yards.

■ Announcers talking to each other like nobody’s watching. Message to Jim Nantz and Phil Simms … we could care less about your bowling tournament.

Editor’s note: The Popcorn Stand is written periodically by Nevada Appeal assistant editor Charles Whisnand and features his musings on sports, or actually whatever he wants to write about. It’s named in honor of Whisnand’s favorite sports columnist, Pulitzer-Prize winning Red Smith, who once dubbed one of his columns The Popcorn Stand.