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McFadden's up for second straight Heisman bid and feels this one should be his

Dec. 8, 2007

By Adam Caparell


Adam is's football editor and national football writer.
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In Darren McFadden's mind he should win the Heisman.


The Arkansas running back, who finished second in the voting for college football's top honor last year, can list a few reasons why he should finish first this year.


He'll start with South Carolina and LSU.


"Those two games speak for themselves," McFadden said.




In them, McFadden, arguably the most dynamic player in college football today, compiled a ridiculous 527 yards rushing, ran for four scores and threw another two touchdowns as Arkansas defeated Steve Spurrier's Gamecocks and upset the No. 1 Tigers on the road.


And to him, those are the kind of performances that should be rewarded with 25 pounds of bronze.


McFadden is back in New York for the second straight season on the second weekend in December, hoping against hope that he comes away the winner of the 73rd Heisman Trophy. All indications are that Tim Tebow, Florida's equally dynamic quarterback, will become the first sophomore to win the award. And if McFadden is indeed passed over for the second straight year, it would be nothing short of disappointing in his eyes.


"I feel like I've put in a lot of hard work this year and I feel like this is something I really deserve," McFadden said.


Deserve? Some Heisman voters would agree. Earned? It's hard to argue against giving the Heisman Trophy to a running back who can run it better than anyone in the country and throw it better than his own quarterback. Especially when he puts up the kind of numbers he does.


McFadden finished the year with 1,725 yards rushing, 2,172 all-purpose yards - both Arkansas records - and 20 combined touchdowns, even better than 2006 when he ran for 1,647 yards - 2,058 all purpose yards - and 18 total scores. And of course he did it in the SEC, the best conference in the nation that features some of the best defenses and the hardest hitters, all of them gunning for McFadden from the season's first snap. That breakout season in 2006 that took him all the way to Manhattan made him a huge target in 2007.


"If you go there one time you come out next year and everyone has a bulls-eye on you," he said.


But it didn't matter. The bulls-eye did little to deter McFadden from earning SEC Offensive Player of the Year honors thanks to nine games in which he rushed for over 100 yards, including the South Carolina game where he ran for an SEC-tying record 321 yards and the victory in triple overtime over LSU where he ran for 206 yards and three scores.


"I have to give full credit to my teammates and coaches because without them none of this would be possible," McFadden said. "I feel like I've done a lot of hard work and I feel I deserve to win some of these awards."


And he's been rewarded handsomely already. McFadden's taken home the Doak Walker Award, annually given to the nation's top running back, for the second straight year and also won the Walter Camp Player of the Year award.


But the award he wants more than anything, the award he truly feels he deserves, is the Heisman. Ever since that second place finish last year to Troy Smith, McFadden's been pegged by nearly all to win it this time around. He wants so badly to fulfill those lofty expectations and make a little Arkansas history while he's at it.


"It'll mean a whole lot to me, just being the first person from the University of Arkansas to win it," McFadden said.


So as the Heisman presentation creeps closer and closer, McFadden's anxiousness continues to climb. He's just so tired of all the waiting and speculation. He wants to get it over with.  


"It's very nerve racking," McFadden said. "You don't know who's going to win and not knowing is going to be the worst part of it because it's like your heart is going to jump out of your chest."


So to calm those nerves a little bit, McFadden will hopefully kill some time Saturday by doing a little shopping. He's into shoes so he'll look for some new kicks, and hopefully enjoy some anonymity, a luxury he goes without back in Arkansas.


"You can't go anywhere without somebody recognizing you," McFadden said. "Everywhere I go, malls, stores, people recognize me and want autographs or something."


That comes with the territory of being one of the best - some would argue the best - players in college football, especially in the South where football is basically a religion.  


And with the talent he possesses, McFadden often plays like a god of the gridiron, one who has found his way back to New York where he's representing his teammates, his school, his state and Razorback fans for a second straight year.  


"I'm just happy to be here," McFadden. "I'm just happy."


But not nearly as happy as he'd be if he wins the Heisman.