ATLANTA — Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams isn’t going to New York City for the Heisman Trophy ceremony this weekend. His teammate and quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, will be there.
“I feel like I should have been up there,” Williams said. “But it’s cool. It’s fine, man.”
Is it really?
“It is too much of a quarterback award,” Williams said. “I feel like the Heisman award only goes to the person that only touches the ball. Like if I get a whole bunch of sacks, I (should) get the Heisman award.”
Williams has made eight sacks this season. The redshirt sophomore is a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, which recognizes the defensive player of the year, and the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s most outstanding interior lineman. Those awards will be given out Thursday at the ESPN College Football Awards in Atlanta.
Not the Heisman.
Along with Tagovailoa, quarterbacks Kyler Murray from Oklahoma and Dwayne Haskins from Ohio State are still in the running for that award. Tagovailoa and Murray are the current favorites.
“Maybe in the middle of November if you asked people to cast a vote, it probably would’ve been Tua maybe in a landslide,” ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit said. “Now, down the stretch, I really think that’s what makes this weekend as interesting is that Kyler Murray just kept putting up big number and now there’s some people who believe Kyler Murray will win it. So, I think it will make for a lot of anticipation and fun going into the weekend.”
Here’s exactly how the number compare right now:
Tagovailoa has completed 199 of his 294 passes for 3,353 yards and 37 touchdowns. He has thrown four interceptions. He has also rushed for 190 yards on 48 attempts and scored five touchdowns on his own.
Murray has completed 241 of his 340 passes for 4,053 yards and 40 touchdowns. He has thrown seven interceptions. He has also He has also rushed for 892 yards on 123 attempts and scored 11 touchdowns.
“People get really caught up in statistics when they says so-and-so’s X percentage, so-and-so’s Y percentage,” Alabama offensive lineman Jonah Williams said. “But I think the Heisman should be given to the best player in college football regardless of snaps, regardless of percentages. It’s just kind of a subjective award just based on the eye test. So I think you have to look at the whole body of work, and you have to look at what the players have been able to accomplish and the contributions they have made for the team.”
In Tagovailoa’s case, his team is the No. 1 undefeated Crimson Tide.
ESPN’s Rece Davis thinks Tagovailoa is the best quarterback Alabama has had, as far back as he can remember at least.
“Without hesitation,” Davis said. “The first Alabama season I remember I was 5 going on 6 in 1971, and he is the best quarterback of my lifetime. I didn’t see (Joe) Namath and (Kenny) Stabler, (Bart) Starr and (Steve) Sloan. But in my lifetime, from what I remember, he’s the best.”
An Alabama quarterback has never won the Heisman. Two running backs have.
The last two Heisman winners were quarterbacks, and a signal-caller will win again Saturday night. That’s for sure. It’s just an unknown as to which one.
“I really don’t know,” Quinnen Williams said. “I really don’t.”
Reach Terrin Waack at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0229.