Moving into the Heisman Limelight |

Moving into the Heisman Limelight

Mike Hiserman
Los Angeles Times

Defensive players don’t win the Heisman.

It has happened once, in 1997, when Michigan’s Charles Woodson took home the Heisman Trophy — although he also gained fame as a punt returner and occasional wide receiver.

A defensive player won’t win the award this year, either, although it’s unclear why at least one top defender hasn’t gained any notice at all.

I mean, how can you miss him? Terrence Cody is 6 feet 5 inches, 355 pounds.

Alabama’s senior nose tackle is the best player on what might be college football’s top defense, yet the Heisman front-runner headed into the most recent games was teammate Mark Ingram, a running back who, with the spotlight on him against Auburn, was held to 30 yards in 16 carries.

Meantime, Cody spent the game as he usually does, being double- and triple-teamed, plugging up the line of scrimmage and opening opportunities for the rest of Alabama’s defense.

Cody is a finalist for all the top linemen and defensive player awards, yet he nary receives a mention in Heisman talk.

An update on some of the more popular Heisman candidates — and another personal favorite who has been overlooked:

— Colt McCoy, Sr., QB, Texas: Back as Heisman front-runner after completing 24 of 40 passes for 304 yards and four touchdowns in 49-39 win over Texas A&M Thursday. Also ran for career-best 175 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown.

— Tim Tebow, Sr., QB, Florida: Completed 17 of 21 passes for 221 yards and three touchdowns in 37-10 win over Florida State. Also ran 15 times for 90 yards and two touchdowns.

— Kellen Moore, So., QB, Boise State: Completed 17 of 33 passes for 262 yards and five touchdowns in 44-33 win over Nevada on Friday.

— Toby Gerhart, Sr., RB, Stanford: Ran for 205 yards and three touchdowns in 29 carries, had one reception for 33 yards and threw an 18-yard touchdown pass in 45-38 win over Notre Dame.

— Mardy Gilyard, Sr., WR, Cincinnati: Had seven catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns in 49-36 win over Illinois on Friday. Also returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. Has 13 touchdowns and 2,061 all-purpose yards this season.