New York, NY—Although New York City is not considered to be one of the centers of college football, the eyes of college football aficionados were focused on several culminating events of the 2015 season that took place in New York during the week of December 7.
On Monday morning, the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year of the Ivy League were awarded the Bushnell Cup.
A press conference was held at Yankee Stadium on the following morning to announce that Duke and Indiana would compete in the Pinstripe Bowl on December 26 at the Stadium. Later that evening the 2015 Class of the College Football Hall of Fame were honored at the 58th Annual Dinner of the National Football Foundation (NFF).
The week’s college football activities culminated on Saturday night at the Best Buy Theater with the presentation of the Heisman Trophy, emblematic of the top college football player of the year. The new week will begin with the Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Dinner Gala on Monday night.
Three superlative young student- athletes, running back Derrick Henry of Alabama, running back Christian McCaffrey of Stanford and quarterback Deshaun Watson were invited to travel to New York City for the festivities. All three were highly recruited as high school athletes.
Historically seniors have been the most likely to receive the award, but that has changed in recent years. Only 26, including 2015, non-seniors have been Heisman winners in the 81 years the award has been given, yet non-seniors have been the recipients in each of the past nine years. During the first 10 years of the Heisman, 1035-44, all 10 winners were seniors. This year’s three invitees are not in the 2015 graduating classes of their respective schools. McCaffrey and Watson are sophomores and Henry, the winner, is a junior.
As most publicity centers on the quarterback, it is not surprising that 13 of the 14 most recent winners were quarterbacks. Yet, the junior from Alabama, a running back, was the choice of the 2015 voters. Henry is certainly the centerpiece of Crimson Tides’ offense. This year, he set a SEC record with 1,986 yards gained rushing and scored 23 touchdowns, which led the nation. His efforts led Alabama to a 12-1 mark and to the semi-finals of the national championship. The respect for his play also led to his being named the winner of the Maxwell Award, the Doak Walker Award and the Walter Camp National Player of the Year.
The election was the closest since 2011 when RG3, Robert Griffin III, edged out Andrew Luck of Stanford by 280 votes, 1,687-1,407. Henry’s runner-up, also from Stanford, Christian McCaffrey received 1,539 votes to 1,832 for Henry.
On the day before the award presentation, Henry told reporters, “It’s my dream come true. It’s the Heisman. It means a lot. I haven’t prepared a speech yet. When the time comes, we will.”
In his speech the next day, Henry spoke about the support he has received from his family, the residents of his home town, Yulee, Florida, and his teammates, and expressed his gratitude to all.
Henry will be officially honored on Monday night at the Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Dinner Gala at the Marriott Marquis.