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The Heisman goes to the "most outstanding player in collegiate football"...on offense, unless you are a truly special defender. Will Sutton is a special defender.
There is no greater honor for a college football player than to receive the Heisman Trophy, which is awarded, ostensibly, to the "most outstanding player in collegiate football". In practice, it goes to the offensive skill position player on a successful BCS conference team.
However, every few years or decade, there is a defensive player whose dominating play is so transcendent, he finds his way to New York City as a Heisman finalist. Michigan's Charles Woodson remains the only primarily defensive player to win the award, doing so in 1997, but others such as Hugh Green and Rich Glover were among defensive finalists.
The most recent such player was Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in 2009. Highlighted by his beatdown of Texas in the Big 12 title game, Suh managed to finish fourth in the balloting that season.
Last night, Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton added two sacks and three tackles-for-loss to his 2012 totals, and his reign of dominance through the season's first six games is to the point where some interesting numbers are beginning to emerge.
Take a look at Suh's 2009 Heisman finalist campaign, where Sutton stands through six games, and his projected stats to Suh's 14-game slate if he can keep up his torrid pace.
|Player||Games||Solo||Asst||Total||Sacks||Sack Yds||TFL||TFL Yds||FF||FR||PD|
Now, obviously, it will be very difficult for Sutton to continue putting up the kind of numbers he has through the first half of the season.
First off, the level of competition ASU will face ramps up considerably, and defensive coordinators will continue to gameplan to attempt to shut down Sutton. Two and three blockers on a play will be a frequent occurrence for ASU's talented junior.
While starting a "Sutton For Heisman" campaign would likely be a fruitless endeavor, comparing the on-field production to one of the most dominant seasons by a collegiate defender in recent memory just serves to illustrate how special Sutton's 2012 season is shaping up to be. While he may not be making the stiff arm pose come December, he's absolutely bull rushed his way into the All-Pac-12 and All-American conversations.
Then again, based on the beastly carnage wrought by Sutton so far this season, I'm certainly not going to tell him the Heisman is out of reach.