Without actually mentioning us, Brad Bates agreed with what the BCI staff, its commenters, friends, alumni, and families said all along: Andre Williams embodies the Heisman Trophy.
There are candidates heading to New York who are more dynamic and flashier players. He is not the only running back, joined by Tre Mason from the SEC Champion Auburn Tigers. He is against the odds, not favored against players like Jameis Winston and defending champion Johnny Manziel. But he is the best candidate.
Andre Williams enters New York City leading the nation in rushing yards, rushing attempts, yards per game, 200-yard games, and 250-yard games. He amounted for over half the BC offense. He had 17 carries that went for over 30 yards, best in the nation. And only four Heisman Trophy winners had a better statistical season - three of which are Barry Sanders, Ricky Williams, and Marcus Allen.
But, as Bates notes, it's off the field where AW embodies the Heisman spirit. Boston College lives by the creed "ever to excel," and it's clear that Williams lives that motto. He will graduate a semester early with a concentration in applied psychology and human development. He will graduate with a GPA over 3.0, and he will graduate as a true renaissance man. He writes poetry in his free times, aspires to be an author, and is one of the most well-learned men to interview on television. He is a scholarship winner, and he is a teaching assistant. Everybody who interviewed him all gave resounding marks about his intelligence, his affability, and his vision. None of the other candidates can touch him in the classroom, and his play on the field is as much about the psychological effects he can inflict on defenses as it is about gaining yards.
The fact that Williams isn't the favorite for the award is a telling sign that the Heisman Trophy is morphing into the most valuable player award instead of one promoting its core values. Jameis Winston was cleared of all wrongdoing, but his morality was called into question due to an admitted promiscuity. Johnny Manziel is turning into one of the biggest cautionary tales in college football to the point where we're not even sure if the Texas A&M community even likes him as a person; they just love what he can do on the football field. Cam Newton's eligibility at Auburn was an issue thanks to shady dealings involving his father.
Williams best reflects Robert Griffin III, who won the award despite not going to a BCS game with Baylor. RG3 led Baylor to a 10-win season, but the Bears played in the Alamo Bowl. They were a preseason middle-of-the-road team that was taken over the top by the game's most dynamic player. In addition, RG3 graduated with a 3.6 GPA in December, 2010 and would later begin pursuing a master's degree.
Andre Williams is a dynamic player who took a 2-win Boston College team and led them to a 7-win season despite no other offensive weaponry. He is a well-rounded citizen who excels inside the classroom and has the unabashed respect in an academic world at a school like BC. After the tales of Manziel, Newton, and Reggie Bush, isn't it times to follow the lead of Tim Tebow, RG3, and others? Isn't it time to let Andre Williams have his moment, and isn't it time for BC to celebrate its status as a place where student really does come first in the term student-athlete?