Squeaking Out a Heisman: the Best College Football Players of 2009
5 Colt McCoy – QB, Texas
In his senior season, Colt McCoy led the Longhorns to a 12-0 regular season record and a trip to the National Championship. He threw for 3,521 yards and 27 touchdowns, and led the nation in completion percentage. He was a consensus All-American, won the Big 12 Player of the Year and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. Oh, and it was actually his second-best season in Texas. When you put together a season like that and it isn’t even your best showing, you’re one hell of a quarterback. Colt would leave Texas owning nearly every single passing record in school history, and was eventually drafted by Cleveland. Yeah… tough break kid.
4 Ndamukong Suh – DL, Nebraska
How would you feel if your job was to throw the ball while this was bearing down on you? That’s what quarterbacks who faced Ndamukong Suh in 2009 saw when they closed their eyes at night. Suh was the dominant force on a Nebraska defense that ranked tops in the nation in scoring defense. The fleet-footed defensive end notched 12 sacks, 85 tackles (20.5 of which were for a loss) and had one forced fumble and one interception on his way to winning every major defensive award in the nation.
3 Kellen Moore – QB, Boise State
Here’s all you need to know: In four years at Boise State, Kellen Moore never threw for less than 3,400 yards. The dude was a one-man stat factory, and his 2009 sophomore year demanded the nation’s attention (not just because he was playing on that weird blue field either). Moore led the Broncos to a second-straight undefeated season, throwing 39 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions, and was top five in the nation in nearly every passing category. Kellen excelled at Boise State in spite of being constantly overlooked by the BCS system, and has excelled in life in spite of looking like the grown up version of that kid from ‘Two and a Half Men.’
2 Toby Gerhart – RB, Stanford
When a defensive back saw a white guy in a #7 jersey coming at him, he likely assumed the quarterback had elected to run the ball, and licked his chops in anticipation of putting him on his back. Then, when it was already too late, he realized it was actually Stanford running back Toby Gerhart, and he was promptly run over. In 2009, Gerhart led the NCAA in total yards and touchdowns and led Stanford to their first bowl game in 8 years. He narrowly missed out on the Heisman, losing by just 28 votes (the slimmest margin in voting history), and won the Pac-10 Player of the Year and Doak Walker Award for the nation’s best running back.
1 Mark Ingram – RB, Alabama
In his time at Alabama, Mark Ingram proved to be about as hard to bring down as a fascist dictator, and 2009 was the peak of his power. Ingram was the motor behind a dominant Crimson Tide squad, amassing nearly 2,000 yards of total offense and scoring 20 touchdowns in his sophomore season. At year’s end, Ingram would lead the conference in both rushing yards and touchdowns, winning the SEC Player of the Year, the Heisman, and the offensive game MVP in Bama’s National Championship win over Texas. A relentless runner and even harder worker, there’s not much that can be said negatively about Ingram, except maybe that his 2009 helped everyone forget what a jerk this guy is.
There you have it, the very best of 2009. There were some tough choices made here, and we’ll be honest, if having the coolest name factored into this thing it would’ve been neck and neck between Colt McCoy and Ndamukong Suh for the top spot. But alas, we went by actual statistics, sorry fellas. In any case, if you think someone else deserves to be atop this list, why not make one of your own?